A day in the life: why do I do this?
Why, oh, why do I keep bees? Yesterday was one of those days when I couldn’t remember. First of all it was totally wet outside. This is no surprise, since I live in the Puget Sound region and it’s still June. One goes with the other. Still, I’d been waiting for a break in the weather because I had to pull out my drone frames. If I didn’t get them soon my apiary would look like a CAFO for mites.
So when the sky lightened a bit in the afternoon—and it wasn’t actually raining—I decided the time was ripe to get those drone frames. I gathered some empty frames, a few tools, pulled on my suit, and headed up the hill.
My hives are on a hillside surrounded by woods. I have to cross a couple wooden bridges and trudge through the undergrowth and up an impossibly steep hill with switchbacks to get to the hives. By the time I got to the first set I was drenched. Although it wasn’t raining, the undergrowth was sodden and water was dripping from the trees. Worse, the air was muggy and dank.
All was quiet around the hives. I knew I was in for trouble because all the foragers were home—drinking beer and watching television, for all I knew—and they wouldn’t want to be disturbed.
And I was right. Once I popped the first lid they came at me with a vengeance. Within a few moments I couldn’t see through my veil because it was black with angry insects. Conveniently, the tops of my drone frames are painted bright green so I can find them easily, but I couldn’t see a thing! And the bees were making such a racket I couldn’t begin to think.
After parting the bees on my veil with the hive tool, I was finally able to locate the drone frames and replace them. At one point I had to kneel down on the ground, and I promptly got stung where my suit pulled tight over my knee. My suit, of course, was over my jeans. Those bees were annoyed.
Before it was over I had to go further up the hill—and then further. By the time I was done I was easily as cranky as the bees. My clothes were stuck to me, I had stings on my hands and knees, and I kept tripping over sticks and vines that I couldn’t see through the dark hood of bees that accompanied me back down the hill. I do this why? Am I sane?
By the time I got to the chicken coops the bees were pretty much gone. I cut the drone brood out of the frames and flung it to the chickens who thought they’d died and gone to heaven. At least somebody was happy . . .