Who’s a bad beekeeper?

Can you see me raising my hand? There are few days that I can remember that have been as bad as today and NOT just with beekeeping.

Let’s start off by my attempting to go to work today. I had just dropped off my son at his before-school care center when I was driving on the same road I drive at least 5 days a week. There has been construction work along the right shoulder and I normally keep a significant distance between my car and the one in front of me. I do this because there are innumerable knuckleheads that speed-up into the 4 inches of space that have opened in front of them only to slam on their brakes when faced with an inch of air before crashing into the car in front of them. I was drinking my coffee when all of a sudden I heard this sound and my coffee went flying out of my hand. I looked in the rearview mirror to see the shocked expression of the driver behind me. I had been rear-ended, the glass was missing from the back of my car and I could tell it was not good.

We pulled the cars to the side and I got a better look at my car: the rear was completely smushed and the glass was completely gone, it was scattered in the back seats and all over the front of the other driver’s car. The front of her car was cracked and the radiator was smashed and leaking fluid all over the road.

After waiting for the police and exchanging info, I decided to try driving the car home since the car body had not encroached on the wheels and I was only 2 minutes from my house. I made it home successfully, made some calls, and decided to be productive.

I was without a car and I needed to run errands such as getting sugar for the bees! I cleaned the chicken coop in preparation for the new chicks coming in two weeks. This evening my son had soccer practice so I offered to drop him and my husband off and pick them up with dinner in hand. In the meantime, I had made 2 loaves of bread during the day and I needed to throw them into the oven. I made the soccer drop-off, went to the store, came home and turned on the oven for the bread (the bread had over-proofed for 45 minutes at this point, NOT good).

I decided to go out back while the oven was preheating and refill the sugar syrup for the bees. I put on the veil and gloves and when I popped the lid on the little nuc, what do you think I found? I could tell there were no bees because there was no buzzing when I disturbed the lid…instead about 6 hornets came out!!!!!! %^&$@!@#$#@!!!!!!!!! There was one on the jar and another one under the screened bottom board on the glass table. I found maybe 40 bees, no queen 😦 The little nuc was dead. I stood there completely helpless and trying to think what to do. I shook those bees in front of Melissa hoping they would at least find a new home. There were red ants, hive beetles (not a huge number but enough to really piss me off) and hornets everywhere. I took out all the frames, braving those repulsive hornets (I found 2 on the frames eating honey) and wrapped the frames in garbage bags and stuck them in the freezer. I left the hive open and within a few minutes of doing that, the small cluster of bees left in the nuc (another 20 or so) was gone. It was my fault for having such a small nuc and feeding it. I grabbed a spray bottle I had used earlier to rid my deck of wasps but it didn’t work very well against the very mean and very big hornets. Trying to remember something, I thought of the bought wasp trap from last summer that didn’t work but I needed something quick! Once that was all set up (a fiasco as well) I went upstairs, there was my bread…over-proofed by 2 hrs. I threw it in for a few minutes since I had to run back to soccer and pick up dinner on the way. It was parbaked for about 5 minutes, took the bread out and then I ran out of the house. I went to Panera on the way to soccer and when I picked up the food, my order number was (drumroll please) 666.

That says it all! Now we have to check the hives tomorrow since I saw three hornets flying around Melissa yesterday. I’ll bet it’s the sugar syrup attracting them.

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