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Don’t Get Cocky

Ouch! Today, I received my second bee sting of the year and it was a good one. I wanted to have a look at the queen cell that the gals had started last week and make a decision about removing it. The weather was nice and all seemed well. One downside was the fact that the feeder had been dry for 5 days or so, so they might be hungry. Regardless, I needed to see what this hive was up to and make a big decision.

The first mistake was how I took the top feeder off. Instead of carefully working my hive tool along the edges, I pretty much pushed it in one corner and popped it off. When I say ‘pop’, I mean that literally, as it made a large crack and the bees answered with a large hum.

A brief moment of wisdom crossed my mind and I thought about gently putting the top back on and returning later when the gals were less alarmed. But, this lucidity passed quickly and I decided that ‘they’d be alright’ and moved onward with the inspection. Indeed, they would be alright (with the exception of one kamikaze bee) in the end.

Once I pulled the top feeder off, several squadrons lit to the air and began what I call the ‘get back and you’re gonna get it’ dance. They were buzzing all over me and, without any gear or smoke, I became a bit concerned. So, I moved back about a dozen feet and watched for a moment. They soon seemed to settle down back onto the frames and relax. This is how it appeared to my dim senses. In truth, they were organizing for the final defense. When I finally moved back to the box, one of them literally skipped the ‘attack dance’ and made a bee line (literally and figuratively) for a tender spot just below my eye. I am pretty sure the little witch didn’t even land, instead jamming the stinger in before any other action could take place.

At that moment, my glasses took flight, being propelled by a frantically swatting hand. I moved back quickly and made my own ‘bee line’ for the garage. It was time for gear and smoke.

Once I returned with my gear and smoke, the bees seemed to have settled a bit. But, in case this was another bluff tactic, to lure me up close, I shot them with a few rounds of smoke and sent the majority back into the hive to gorge on honey. Being the chicken that I am, I gave them a quick look over and replaced the top. I did not remove the frames, so I have no idea what is going on at this moment.

Ahh, the battles of the bees.

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