Saturday, May 5, 2012

Beekeeping In The Rain

You can't really see it well but there is a beautiful rainbow overhead after this evenings downpour. There are few things I have such a bittersweet relationship with as rain. I love threatening weather. I will settle for a soaker but much prefer the excitement of something bigger. However I only like inclement weather if I am at home. I can not stand to be out in the rain, mist or sprinkle. But The Yellow Lady had to be release, no options.

We drove down in a downpour, hoping that by the time we reached the bee yard things would lightened up. About 10 minutes out I decided we had to map out our strategy. It should be easy, bees don't really like rain and won't be out and about,  we probably didn't need our suits or veils. We stopped at an gas station with an overhead to gathered our supplies, a hive tool, some gloves, an umbrella and a nail just in case we couldn't get the screen off her cage and would need to impale the cork to release her.

It was still a rabid downpour when we arrived. It seemed like maybe a clearing was heading our way but it was already 8pm and dark enough to make the job a little difficult, waiting just didn't make since. It didn't take long once we opened Royal Ruckus up to realize I'd made a bad decision about the protective gear. The girls were angry. Suddenly Paula fled the bee yard. She is quick when it comes to stings and knows the importance of getting out of harms way fast. Getting the stinger quickly is the name of the game! The longer you wait the more venom injected the worst the end result. Not to mention a sting releases a particular warning pheromone that can prompt other bees to attack. Swift action is in order. Get out of the bee yard and get the stinger out and if you are my friend Colleen your next action would be to get deodorant on the sting, something we keep in the bee mobile. As for myself I have some kind of crazy cowboy reaction to getting stung. I feel hopelessly trapped in my suit which makes it impossible for me to get the stinger out quickly and I usually get multiple stings with the maximum amount of venom release. I think getting the job at hand done is more important hence the National Geographic photo op that results. I wish I were swift and efficient as Paula.

We gave into the frenzy and donned our suits and veils and went back to Royal Ruckus. The first sight of good news, the queen cage was just as we left it and the bees were clustered around the cage in a healthy manner. We brushed them off, removed the cage and could see she was healthy. Now for a good release. I managed the rain with an umbrella and adjusted frames for Paula as she got the screen off and worked on getting the Yellow Lady out. It was difficult to see with so many bees about the cage but I saw her scamper across a frame. "Bingo, she is in, she looks good lets close this hive up" She was way up on the top part of the frame and I didn't want to loose her to the wind and rain. We won't be able to go inside Royal Ruckus for a week now to see if she is queen-right but I am optimistic. We will return to the bee yard on Monday to check all the other hives and plan out the divide of The Turquoise Bee. 

In the meantime, no more beekeeping in the rain. Even the rainbow wasn't prize enough at the end of the adventure and we trapped a few bees inside the bee mobile making the drive home tense for me. If it weren't for the release of a queen. Lets hope our queen drama is over At the Flight of The Turquoise Bee Apiary.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love it, sounds tres exciting. Have you named the queen? :)