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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Let's See - Eight Frame/Ten Frame - Hmmmm

So the hives at Sebastian and Christina's house (to be referred to going forward as S&C) include a blue 10 frame box and a yellow 8 frame box. 

Of course, the reason I keep this blog is so that I can help myself remember stuff - did I look at the installation pictures before I drove over to add a new box and pick up the nuc boxes? 

No......

As a result I arrived to work on the S&C hives with two eight frame boxes to add to the two hives.

The bees looked good.  You can see them peeking between the frames.



The queens in both boxes were laying.  I had my camera set on "Kids and Pets" from being with the grandkids on Easter and I forgot to change the settings to "foliage" which works best for the bee pictures, so the focus isn't as clear.  If you look at the cells, even with the wrong setting, you can still see c-shaped larvae. 



The frames looked really good.



So I made two (count them, TWO) mistakes at this inspection (at least).  First in the yellow hive, I dropped, yes, dropped, a frame - a deep frame full of bees. I don't think I've done that in five years. Of course, they weren't happy and of course, Sebastian was watching me.

And for mistake #2, I brought an eight frame box for a 10 frame hive.  Oops!



Luckily as I mentioned earlier, Sebastian was there.  He had a board that we could use to cover the exposed two frames.

So we put the board on the box as it looked below.

This morning the temperature was 44 degrees in Atlanta but I didn't want to leave the hive in such vulnerable shape.  So I planned to go over early this morning around 9:00 to rectify the problem, taking a 10 frame box this time.



I was in a hurry this morning.  I had to go to Pickens, SC to give a speech tonight so I had to get this task out of the way....so I went to take care of the hive before I went to work. 

It was cold and I had on a fleece jacket.  Now this was my thinking - it will be too cold for the bees to move; I'll just leave on the fleece and put on a veil.  I didn't have time to deal with the smoker. 

Well, as you can imagine, when I opened the hive, the bees were not happy for me to be exposing them to the 44 degree air. I was made really aware the minute bees started crawling up my sleeves - OH, that's why I needed the bee jacket.  I put on a hive drape, but I really wished for the smoker.

 I got at least five stings on my hands.  And the veil I put on was one I keep for visitors - it's not secured at the bottom so bees flew in and I got three stings on my neck (and I had to give a speech tonight!)

The good news is that I've been stung enough that by this afternoon the marks on my hands were gone and the place on my neck that was about three inches in diameter had gotten to be about the size of a quarter. 

I forgot to mention that one other thing happened.  In an eight frame box, there's a little wiggle room.  It's never hard to get the frames into the box.  Not the same story with a 10 frame - it's a snug fit.

So while these bees were trying to remind me that I was invading their home, I'm trying quickly to fit 10 frames back into the box.  I got frustrated and put the hive tool on the one frame that wouldn't quite go into place and hit it with the heel of my hand - so now my hand is bleeding all over everywhere, and while I have Benadryl in my hive kit, I have no bandaids.

I locked the gate to S&C's backyard, and I left for work with a bright red neck, a bleeding hand and stings on both hands.

Ah, beekeeping:  ever the adventure!


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3 comments:

  1. Linda,

    Way too many stings for my taste. I did a cut out on Saturday and got no stings, my first. Sounds like your bees are doing great. I've 3 hives I need to see if I have queens in.

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  2. Too many for me, too.....now if I'd only worn my bee jacket and usual veil!

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  3. Hi, Linda.
    Sounds like a tough inspection-- I'm sorry! You're brave-- I just put off tasks until the weather cooperates, often waiting too long.
    Do you think the fleece jacket riled the bees? Most advice is to wear smooth, light colored fabrics, but the big non-no is wearing leather as the bees dislike the smell. Maybe fleece should be in the same category. I had a mentee who wore a fuschia fleece track suit (with open sleeves and cuffs) on her first inspection (against my advice). Even using a smoker and being slow and careful, the bees were all over her and she ran off, ripping off her pants and top to get the many bees that were inside the suit. The bees ignored me (in regular beekeeping jacket). I guessed maybe the bees probably thought she was a fuzzy bright pink bear attacking the hive!

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