Bee Escapes and Escapees
It had all the hallmarks of being 'one of those days' and the Interested Bystander should have known it when the cat wouldn't get off her feet at the end of the bed, and told her so, no claws sheathed. When the milk poured glob glob glob into her cup and the hot drink ended up on the tabletop, and when Les tried to cry off taking the boxes off his hives for extracting and the Interested Bystander talked him down. Some of us learn the hard way.
Up to Frank Clarke's place, where he very kindly lent the Interested Bystander his Range Rover to go mountaineering - it certainly beats pushing a wheelbarrow laden with hive boxes and associated bee paraphenalia up a 90� slope, even when you forget to push the diff lock in, and Les on the downhill side says "should I get out now?" Really Les, you should have more faith in women drivers!!
Three hives, two with lovely golden bees, the third a little more pro-active, but not to worry. Remove the box from and bee escape which we set up a couple of days ago, from the first hive - no worries. Remove the box from the second hive and Les does a little dance amongst the strings of the electric fence. Fortunately, the fence is only a sham to fool the stock, but the bees give a few electric shocks of their own, indignant at the removal of their hard won supplies.
Open the third hive and insert a queen excluder - about now Les points out to the Interested Bystander the importance of tucking bee suit legs into gumboots - the Interested Bystander finds the comment curious, but pays little attention until a couple of sharp pinpricks in the lower leg cause a hiatus in the conversation - a hiatus quickly filled with short gasps and slapping noises. Probably the Interested Bystander's fault anyway as, apart from being a female, it was she who reckoned asoker would not be needed with 'those lovely quiet bees!''
Back down the hill with Les electing to walk, despite the Interested Bystander's indignant claims to having never yet lost a vehicle (or a passenger!) A 'shoo bee' re-enactment as we transfer the boxes and passengers into Les' vehicle, then the Interested Bystander tips four squashed bees out of her gumboot, and decides to go home and put a bee escape on her own hive.
Isn't it funny how bees like to lull you into a false feeling of peace and sereneity?
Open the hive and remove the eighth box. All quiet. Remove the seventh box - fireworks! The neighbour runs for cover, the smoker goes out, and the little brown darlin's find their way into the Interested Bystander's gumboot. A break in proceedings as the hive is hastily covered up, and the Bystander retreats to the porch and pulls off her gumboot to tip out 17 half dead bees. Pull on Norsewear sox and reapproach with a vengeance. Insert the bee escape and reassemble the hive, then take a quick walk around the block to shake off the persistent hanger-on.
Maybe 3pm isn't the best time to open your hive when you live near a school. The incredulous stares from waiting parents followed by the hasty winding up of car windows as comprehension dawns, probably means that the sign at the gate "Beware of the Dog" is superfluous.
Back to the porch and off with the bee suit. Squash a few of the Darlin's missed during the last change of attire, and sweep up the droppings. One, two, three … twenty-four and still counting! Taking off those boxes of honey is going to be another story.
What puzzles the Interested Bystander is, why is it always she how is stung - even when 100m down the section and still running, yet hubby can mow to within a metre of the hive and we still don't know yet whether he is allergic to bee stings.
Much more laughing out of him and maybe he'll find out sooner than anticipated.