Friday, September 17, 2010

Bee Truck

We weren’t into beekeeping when we got the truck, but it sure has turned into a real blessing. It was time to harvest our fall honey. Dad and I went in two vehicles and met at the bee yard.

The bees were not a problem at all and we really didn’t even need smoke. The problem was our lack of foresight.

The first mistake was not actually counting how many supers we were taking off. It turned out that there wasn’t enough room in the truck for them all, due to the storage bin in the back. By the time we realized that, the supers were all sitting in front of the bin, making it really difficult to get to it to move it.

We started loading supers into Dad’s van instead, cramming them into every available space. Just imagine the passenger seat, sticky with honey…

What we didn’t notice was that one cover on a super was not sitting down flush with the edge. By the time we had finished taking the rest of the honey and we looked at the truck we realized our mistake.

Bees were flying all over the back of the truck, robbing the box. We then had to remove each frame again, and brush it off again, and put them into a fresh super. We managed this successfully. But the bees wouldn’t leave the truck.

Smoke did not dissuade them either. I ended up pulling away with bees swarming the back of the truck. Only a few flew away.

In the rear view mirror I could see the driver behind, his eyes open wide as he watched my bee laden truck. I pulled over at a gas station. I wanted to sit a minute to give the bees a chance to leave and fly home.

“Go home, you naughty bees,” I scolded them. Many listened and did. Many others did not.

All the way home every time I glanced up I saw bees flying at the back of the truck. Once home, I could see I still had a few left. Finally taking the hint to leave, the workers flew up, did a circle in the air to orient themselves and then headed off straight northeast, as the crow or—I should say—the bee flies.

We had robbed them and I guess they wanted to rob us back. I can’t say I blame them either.
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