Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beekeeper's Couture

It was a rare day (not raining) so I took advantage of the break in the weather to check on my new Ohio queen in Hive 2. This would be her fifth day in the hive and I thought she would have been released by her attendants by now. Since I had no plans to leave the house today and expected no company, I decided to forego my bra, threw on my jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt, then donned veil and gloves. I figured the bees would be busy building on the frame foundation and wouldn't mind if I was not wearing my own foundation.

I smoked the hive and worked my way to the spot where I parked the queen cage (pictured above). The queen and her attendants were still inside the cage. You can see in the photo that the candy plug (fondant) is still blocking the exit. In the days it takes for the workers to eat the candy, they acclimate to their new queen's pheromones. By the time the candy is gone and her way is clear to exit, the bees know who their queen is.

These were some restless bees, today. I repeatedly applied smoke but they remained agitated. I decided to release the queen myself by prying open the queen cage, but the candy resisted my handy dental tool. A quick study of the structure of this bee cage revealed a plastic plug next to the exit tube. It pried out easily and the queen and her ladies in waiting dropped into the hive box.

While all this was taking place, one of the girls ran into my shirt where my bra wasn't and stung me. Stings through clothing are not a big deal as the stinger doesn't imbed in the skin. That said, this is a tender place. I can not endorse braless beekeeping and, for sure, can not recommend topless beekeeping.

Sting count: 7

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