Have you ever had an experience that was a little scary, exhilarating, and left you absolutely speechless?
At The Honey Cottage we are all about education; whether it is on honey or beekeeping we love talking about bees. On Monday we had a swarm call where the bees were living behind a wall with the goats. So Frank went and gathered up the bees and put them in a beehive away from the goats. With thousands of bees in one area it is sometimes hard to catch the queen bee. She is the most important to catch because she has the pheromones to tell the other bees to follow her. We weren’t sure if she was caught so we had to wait it out the last couple of days. Yesterday we got a phone call that there was a ball of bees were in the same location as Monday, which meant we had not caught the queen bee. We got lucky though; we had a second chance to get the queen! I absolutely LOVE bee-ing with the bees and capturing their life on camera. I am still learning a lot about the bees and how they work. I am a novice beekeeper at best. I broke two key rules that almost put me in harm’s way. Last year I did not were a bee suit due to pregnancy; so I focused all my attention on perfecting my photography skills. Now, I have been up close to the bees and the beehive without having problems. Yet, when you are moving the bees to a new location they are now in protection mode.
Rule number one you should allows where a bee suit on a swarm call. It is just for safety measures and protects you from the bee stings. Rule number two listen to the beekeeper, no matter if it means losing a good photographic moment. I broke both of these rules; we had my bee suit handmade and the hood is not connected to the suit yet and I got cocky and thought I was at a good enough distance to take shots. Frank had a box of bees that he was walking over to the hive and told me to get back. Now, you have to remember this was the second attempt to get the queen; so the bees were more agitated then on Monday. I thought I was far enough to where they would not be affected by my presence. NOPE! At least I remembered rules three and four; walk away when you get the warning signal and be calm no matter what. I have learned that when you are too close to a hive a guard bee will come and basically bump into you. This is a clear warning signal to walk away or you will be stung. If you are too close to the hive and get stung more bees will smell the pheromones and will follow suit to protect the hive. Once the bee did that I realized I really over stayed my welcome. This is where rule number four is so important; I started walking away and more bees were following me. Here is where my excitement and worry started to mix; I knew if I got stung by one it would cause the others to do the same. So I had to relax as much as I could and keep walking. The bees started walking on my face and my hands!! That is where the exhilaration came in because I always wondered what it felt like. It is really hard to stay focused on walking away when that happens. I did get far enough away to have them leave and I jumped back in the car after above five minutes. Sometimes bees will linger around, so jumping back in the car with them following was not an option. In short I learned several lessons and will start taking my own advice; LISTEN TO THE BEEKEEPER AND FOLLOW THE RULES!
From our hive to yours,