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Learning by mistakes. And how!


#1

Yeah well, a local new beekeeper shared his story with me. Recently after a lot of rain this newbee had 6 beautiful chock-a-block, fully capped frames of honey sitting in a box in his wheel barrow. He left them sitting there while he went & did something else. By the time he came back, there was a massive amount of bees on the frames. Too many for him to handle, so he left them. By the next morning the frames were completely empty.

He told me that he’ll never let that happen again. A lesson well learned.

To add insult to injury, his wife thought it was a big joke :slight_smile:


#2

You have to be so careful. Bees are great opportunists. Here’s another story from a friend

Extraction disaster
Well it started well. took my supers off yesterday evening, a few bees in them so popped them into my conservatory overnight with the window open slightly so they could get out.

How wrong i was, got up at 8am to find my conservatory full of bees, thought ok not to worry close window and leave until later to extract. Well while i was out down the allotment someone at home felt sorry for the bees and opened the window to let them out.

OMG got back and the back of the house looked like it had a swarm arriving and the conervatory looking like the cross between the somme and some bad B Movie as the comb in 2 supers had collapsed due to the heat and there was honey all over the floor with dead and dieing bees all over the place with hundreds trying to kill each other tring to get to the honey all over the floor.

Ended up having to extract outside after dark and i lost about 60lb of honey, robbed and all over the floor.


#3

Yep- a few times I put out cappings for the bees to clean up and was astounded at how fast and how many descended- also surprised to see how deep they burrowed down into the capping pile. Also when I fire up my hot wax dipper it only takes a few minutes for bees to start showing up- they love the smell of molten bees wax


#4

A lesson I learnt the hard way, had a box in the back of the ute when a truck turned up to load cattle a hour early, I got dragged away not realising the cover I had over it had shifted allowing access. When I returned to the ute an hour later I was greeted with the entire local bee population and half the honey I had 60min earlier. Only saving grace was I was taking them home to extract so a 30km drive. I had thousands of bees accompany me for the first half of the trip and some made the entire journey.

Even my solar wax melter gets a lot of interest, more so if Im melting capings that still contain a little honey.


#5

I get some hungry bees on the frames that I’m taking home to extract, especially if it’s just after a lot of rain. I have bees exiting the back of my ute most of the way home on those occasions. One day I saw in my rear view mirror a lady pointing to the bees to show her children.


#6

I am going to skip all they whys and wherefores…after telling a mentor I had a potential problem he advised me to take a frame of brood from a strong hive to the weaker one…so I went out…took brood box 2 off and sat it gently aside…took a frame of brood and transferred it…gently replaced the brood box and sighed with relief…disaster averted…had a second mentor whom I could not reach call today…after he walked me through the same process giving me comfort I had done the right thing he added…you need to add a super now…TODAY…It’s late in the day, I am tired…I thought, I’ll do it tomorrow…checked weather and decided, no today is the best…suited up, got my super together and walked out…I started to sit the super down on my staging blocks and realized there was a small cluster of about 10 or 12 bees…my first thought was 'honey drops from yesterday…but went closer and realized OH MY GOSH!!! THAT’S MY QUEEN!!! coaxed her on a piece of cardboard and replaced her gently…she ran in between frames and man that hive was happy! Curious though…why did she stay put? She is not clipped…


#7

No idea, but queens are really tricky things, and it isn’t just you that has had problems.

A hidden ancient scroll was once found in obscure bee-script. It is my understanding that the military has subsequently adapted this doctrine for training their elite forces - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival,_Evasion,_Resistance_and_Escape

Rules for queen bees:

  1. Always hide from the beekeeper. Run as far as you can as soon as the hive is opened.
  2. If they use smoke, run further and faster.
  3. Hide under the biggest piles of your offspring possible, but run under the pile so that you can’t be spotted.
  4. If they really want to find you, double your efforts to be evasive.
  5. Motivate your offspring to find any holes or loose clothing, and sting the heck out of the beekeeper.
  6. Be unpredictably unpredictable. Sometimes be nice, and show your abdomen, other times, be as invisible as the tooth fairy.
  7. As a last resort, hide on the beekeeper’s clothes. Wait until they enter the house, then land on the inside of the kitchen window, demanding to be let out. (Yes this really has happened. Not to me, but to Rusty Burlew of www.honeybeesuite.com)

So it isn’t your fault. Queens are just really tricky creatures. You only have to watch Game of Thrones to see that. :smile:

:heart_eyes: :star_struck: :grin: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :rofl:


#8

I know I am a very grateful beekeeper at the moment!


#9

You are also a very dedicated beekeeper, because you went back and checked the next day. I think your bees are lucky. :blush:


#10

I learned a similar lesson this past fall. I had pulled all of the honey supers off my hives, harvested the honey, and then put them back out by the hives for the bees to clean up any residual for their winter stores. I then put them up on the shelf in my garage. I had pulled my car into the garage to rotate my tires and had the garage door opened. Over the next half an hour or so the number of bees that came into the garage and were attracted to the honey supers was crazy. I had to fill up my smoker to get them out of the supers and the garage so I could close the door. Definitely opportunistic little buggers.


#11

Hi @Dawn_SD & @sweetnature, one tip that I picked up from this forum earlier on via @DextersShed was to inspect the brood frames while holding them over the open brood in case the queen drops off. It’s hard to do sometimes, especially if you take the frame away to find sunlight while looking for eggs.

The queen of the colony that I sold to @Heron was found on the ground by Heron’s wife while doing the transfer. That was lucky & a lesson learned.