Horrible Day...Comedy of Errors...Need to Reevalute Things

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by litefoot, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Lot's to say here, but I'll try to keep it short. I have one hive with two deeps and two extracted supers placed on top for cleaning. I needed to remove the cleaned up supers. The bees were cranky yesterday and bombing me before I started, but I ignored the warnings and proceeded with the removal.

    Smoked the front and top and fumed boarded the top super and other than an unusually large number of angry bees I got it off with no problems. The agitated bees prompted me to perform a full inspection in fear that I'd lost the queen. I took off the bottom super and found all honey frames in the top deep...good for winter.

    In the bottom deep, where there was once a large amount of honey before, now there were LOTS of pollen frames, some scattered capped brood and some larvae, but very little honey. But there are TONS of bees with little room. So many, in fact, that I'm surprised they haven't swarmed.

    Here's where things went bad. The bees were already bombing me through all this, but then I made the mistake of dropping the last frame of the bottom deep into the box with a thud. That did it. I cloud of bees boiled up in my face, on my legs and on my hands. I got numerous stings on my legs, hands and wrists (I had a veil on). I was literally scraping stingers out of parts of body while still being stung elsewhere. I ran in panic mode across the yard swatting at bees all around my head.

    Then, not wanting to leave the hive open, I went back to the hive, tried to smoke the bottom deep. Smoker died. So I had the brilliant idea to put the fume board on the bottom deep to move the bees down. So I just held it above the box with a small gap above because there were bees covering the edges. Bad idea. The bees poured out the top like lava out of a volcanoe out the top over the sides and dropping to the ground.

    I ended up hastily (my fingers and hands were hurting) brushing bees off top edges of the bottom deep as best I could and plunked the top deep and covers on and got the heck out of dodge. Heck I might have killed the queen for all I know. Anyway, I've got lots of swelling in my arms and wrists, joints that don't work so well in my fingers and actually a bit of fever and chills last night.

    Now I'm beginning to wonder if I've got what it takes to be a beekeeper. My body did not react well to the numerous stings and I really got spooked out there yesterday.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    The fact that you hung in there through all of that tells me you've got exactly what it takes to be a keep. As well, most people would not react well to the numerous stings you describe.
    Believe it or not, most of us have days like you describe, where you can't see your hands for the bees covering them, etc. The thing to remember is that with experience, you will know when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em. There have been days where I would simply have to back out of a hive, despite wanting to achieve something.
    Your queen is probably fine, despite the interruption.
    Hope you're feeling better soon. :smile:
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Sounds like a normal day in the bee yard to me. You did fine, other than the smoker. Your only mistake I see was NOT backing off and lighting the smoker back up.
     
  4. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    I agree, our truest nature is revealed in the worst of times. You went back under very bad circumstances. Proof you have what it takes. that the experience leaves you feeling bad is perfectly normal. Hope all is well with the overall reaction to the stings.

    You had more than enough reason to walk away and abandon the hive. and that is simply the truth. But you didn't. That is where you find that line between a beekeeper and those that are not. you made the choice a beekeeper would.
     
  5. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    sounds about normal to me, any beek that says he has never dropped a frame would be fibbing, my only advice would be use a inspection jacket rather then just a veil, I use 1 with no gloves and even shorts and flip flops (they always seem to go for hands and face) and I do just fine even with the lets say warmer hives
     
  6. DLMKA

    DLMKA New Member

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    Wash your gloves or get new ones. I had a similar experience yesterday where I had a notmally nice hive attack my gloved hands anf everything else. Put everything back together, went to get thicker gloves and came back and they were pretty reasonble, no more full on, gloves covered in bees attacks. The residual alarm pheremone must have been enough to incite a wicked reaction.
     
  7. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Bees know a beginner and sometimes try to prove their ability to show who's boss. With time and experience you'll see events like this one as a "non-event". Chalk it all up to the learning process.
    You'll do just fine if you stick with it. As you gain the necessary experience, you'll learn to "read" the bees behavior, anticipate their next move, and keep the upper hand.
    You might not want to go back into the brood nest so soon, but if the amount of pollen is too great and not enough honey, you might want to remove a frame or two of pollen, replace them with honey and save the pollen (after letting it spend a few days in the freezer) to be returned to the hive in the early spring to increase brood rearing.
     
  8. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Sounds like you passed a pretty good test to return back and button up that hive, good job.

    I agree with Iddee that you should have taken the time to light the smoker again. Not only could you have smoked the bees but also yourself to try and mask some of the attack pheromone.

    Speedy recovery and don't give up yet!
     
  9. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Put the saddle back on and ride that horse! Gentle and patient with the girls and walk away a few feet and give them room when they get cranky. Like Perry said, I sometimes I simply close it back up and come back later.

    Did anybody connect Kenny Rogers and Perry when he told litefoot he needed to know when to hold and when to fold? ha! :lol:
     
  10. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    I hope you popped so me antihistamines. That helps a bit with the reaction. Wash everything. Like others have said, you've been tested by fire and found worthy.
     
  11. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Thanks, for the encouraging words everyone. I appreciate it. I just hadn't been that torn up by stings that bad since I was a young kid. I need to remember these are honey-producers and pollenators, not yellow jackets and wasps. And I screwed up, not them.

    Great suggestion! My goatskin gloves are covered in propolis and probably some remains of squished bees. As a matter of fact (adding to the comedic nature of my day), some of the dryer lint I use to start my smoker got stuck on my glove and yep, my gloves caught fire. I think I'm going to try some nitrile gloves that I can wear fresh each time.

    I decided to leave one of the drawn out supers on top after removing the inner cover that was underneath it. The top deep has a good honey barrier to keep the queen out. The flow is slowing down some, but I'm going to start feeding again to try and get the super filled. The deeps are busting at the seams with bees, and I wanted to give them a little more space as well.
     
  12. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Just remember, you cannot possibly screw up as bad as I did last year. antihistamines and football.... It's Sunday
     
  13. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    You're showing your age! (and I am, too by knowing that!)
     
  14. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    I have several thoughts.

    I have had moments like that (although not an entire experience). I have had to walk away smartly, with purpose several times, sometimes to relight the smoker. :oops:

    At times like that, I'm glad I'm not making a video!

    Even though you were under duress, you kept your head and made sound decisions. :thumbsup:

    This is an experience you will keep forever. You will probably use it if called upon to teach newcomers. It is an asset.

    I hope you recover and feel better! :drinks:
     
  15. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Litefoot, (and good thing you were light on your feet, too!)

    --Bees that are very sweet in the Spring and Summer will surprise you by being very defensive come Fall. Know that, and have more protection when you are doing things to them in the Fall that they don't appreciate. ;)
    --Nitril gloves are not sting-proof.
    --When you get stung, after removing stinger it's good to puff some smoke at the spot to mask the alarm pheromone left there.
    --Often it's worthwhile to throw a loose over shirt on if you don't want to all-out put on a bee jacket or suit. My usual hive attire is: a very loose long pair of yoga type pants pulled on over whatever else I might be wearing on my legs, then two velcro straps to cinch the ankles. A loose lightweight hooded sweatshirt thrown on over whatever i happen to be wearing on top that day. My veil (always!) and my cruddy stained goatskin gloves. Simple...and cheap! Works very well. :)

    Always take the time to get your smoker going, and keep it going, whether you use it or not.

    You did good! Really!
     
  16. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    I agree with the posters saying to keep the smoker lit. I tried to make one inspection without a smoker, and I dropped the inner cover back on the hive and had bees all over me. To copy an old post, "the bees swarm was like a science fiction movie without the music."

    In the past few weeks, there have been so many posts about serious sting reactions, that in my personal opinion, if you are going into a hive, a jacket with an attached veil is about the minimum protection.
     
  17. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I intend to order a bee jacket, probably a ventilated one. my one piece beesuit is wonderful but hot hot hot.
    And time consuming to get in and out of.. When I had one hive, it was ok. If both swarms that are now in nucs make, I am at 7 hives. Sometime in the course of inspections, nature WILL call. it is a given.

    Actually I'm not sure I can do 7 hives in one day. But for today I was in heavy denim jeans tucked into my kneehigh suede boots (that became my bee boots this spring - wonderful protection, nice zipper, easy on and off, and too worn for dress anyway - so I sprayed them down with Camp dry.)

    On top, loose t-shirt tucked in for maximum baggy folds. Denim shirt with collar buttoned up front and at sleeves, not tucked in, heavy rubber gloves - chemical handling type nitrile from home depot pulled up over the sleeves. If I were working hot hives I'd have taped the gloves to the sleeves. And I never put the gloves Inside the sleeve, a bee taught me not to. Oh, and my veil the Dadant white sun helmet with folding veil, drawstring type. Much cooler than my beesuit.

    When I do order a jacket I want a zippered veil of a different type than my suit has, the heat is just wiping me out.
     
  18. Noronajo

    Noronajo New Member

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    I just ordered an Ultra-Breeze jacket after another sneaky bee found her way under a gap in my drawstring veil. Usually calm demeanor goes out the window because I know from experience that a bee will keep burrowing in hair 'til it reaches scalp- I toss the hat and get popped on the chin. Half a bottle of Benedryl (children's) and a bag of frozen peas keep swelling down to goiter size and my husband hands me my iPad and says " Order it, now!" I do feel more protected when I wear his because the closures are so secure but $163.00 -jeez, I hated to do that!
     
  19. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Omie, thanks for that. I wonder if a person could wear goatskin gloves with a disposable latex or nitril glove over it to keep the relatively expensive gloves clear of the propolis and occasional murder byproducts?
     
  20. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    If you can find some good fitting quality heavy dishwashing gloves with longish snug cuffs, they can work well. You need a size that isn't too tight nor baggy. But they're sweaty. I still go back to my ragged old women's goatskin gloves that someone gave me second hand. They're a wreck, but they fit great and work very well. The bees don't seem to be riled by any 'bee by-products' on the gloves at all. I think all that stuff wears off after a few days anyway. And my gloves get pretty smoked up.