Monday, May 23, 2011

Midnight Dance of the Crazy Beekeeper

If Frances Barham had looked out her window near midnight on Thursday, she'd have seen two men wildly jumping around in her cotton field, waving their arms and ripping off their clothing. Well, some of it anyway. Wish I had a photo of THAT.

In the bright moonlight, the bees exacted their revenge for the bumpy two-hour ride from their home in Kossuth, MS. They relentlessly attacked, crawled under veil edges to sting necks, and buzzed angrily.

Last week Mark traveled to Kossuth to buy out a hobby beekeeper who was no longer interested in his hobby. The gentleman had three hives of bees from the Minnesota Hygienic line, plus equipment and tools, including a homemade bee vacuum. Mark brought home a load of stuff on Tuesday, then returned Thursday night to retrieve the hives. His friend John Barham, who is interested in taking up beekeeping, joined him for the dramatic relocation process.

On Sunday, I went with Mark to  move frames of bees into our hive bodies.  Some of the originals were missing corners.

I've heard of alternative entrances, but I don't think this is what the experts had in mind.
And let's face it: my husband's OCD will not allow him to have mismatched hives stacked up.  So, first we went to the Barhams' Bee Yard. The population of this hive is immense.  There were bees *everywhere*.  Lots of honey, too!

 We moved them into new supers, added two medium supers to give them more space, and will have to return soon as we didn't realize two of the original hives were shallows, not mediums. The bees will have a heyday building brace comb to fill in the space between the bottom of the shallow frames and the tops of the frames below them.

BB6 is "The Leaning Tower of Beez-ah"

After we finished at Barhams' we went to Harley's.  Mark had put a single deep nuc from Kossuth there.  We quickly transferred those frames -- an interesting assortment of new frames, one plastic frame, and dark wood frames, only half of which had comb built.  When we stopped back by Barhams' to see if the bees had calmed down enough to put oil in the trap, Eldon gave us a fresh head of cabbage, and some frozen corn and peas.

I can't wait to give them some honey!

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