5/19/07 Bees on My Mind and on My Hands.

Well beekeeping has been on my mind lately. I am now up to three hives in the back yard. They all came from capturing wild colonies. The latest came from a family's yard last night. Lenny and I went over and the family showed us where the swarm had landed a couple of weeks ago. It was one of the prettiest things I have ever seen. The edges of the new white comb were just protruding from the ball of light colored bees. We smoked them a bit and then Lenny climbed up a ladder and started cutting the comb down one layer at a time. Considering we were destroying week's worth of their masterful work they took it rather well. They did not get too rambunctious and before we knew it we had most of the bees and all but the slightest residue of comb in the hive box I had brought them as their new home. Nobody got stung. This morning first thing, I hung all the comb and spotted the queen. She looked to be in good shape. I'm exited to have a colony for my top bar hive. I used rubber bands to hold the comb to the bars. The bees will quickly attach the comb and then chew through the bands and remove them from the hive. I didn't have an assistant so I didn't get any pictures of the hung comb. I got six bars with comb on them. I didn't want to wear gloves, as I knew it would be sticky and I needed to be handling the comb and rubber bands. I picked up each comb while it was still covered in bees. As a result I had bees crawling on my hands as I worked. It is sort of funny to be letting go of my fears. I have yet to be stung working with my bees. As the year goes on and bees feel they have more to protect they may get more defensive, but what I am learning is that something in our culture erroneously teaches us that bees are these dangerous creatures that will sting you with the slightest provocation. I am finding this to be far from accurate. They are in fact much more likely to just plane ignore your presence given half a chance, even when you are dismantling there home. Because I had the hive open with honey exposed as I was working I reduced the entrances of all the hives to help prevent honey robbing. The smaller entrance makes it easier for the hives to defend themselves. They are fascinating to watch and I love to just sit in front of the hive and watch them. I would really like to thank my dad for his encouragement and Lenny for helping me get set up with these nice colonies.