Tuesday, July 24, 2007

When Bees Attack

Oh dear. We had a major bee catastrophe today and now the bees are going to have to go.

My bee guru, Don from Cheadle (I keep wanting to call him Don Cheadle but that's somebody else) came to help me move the bees into their WBC hives, and out of the temporary hives I used to fetch them in the first place. I told the kids to stay in the house and said I'd come back in soon. Don and I started transferring the bees over and they seemed very active, more active than they had been when we moved them from Ally's place a fortnight ago.

Then I heard a scream from next door "Aaargh! No! Get off me!", and the yelping of a dog. Oh s**t. Sounds like the neighbour has been stung, and his dog too. Bad news. Then I heard a shout from another neighbour further up the street "Mel! Would you pick up the postman's mail? He dropped it when he got stung". Then that neighbour got stung, too. Then the neighbour with the dog came out again, and got stung again. I ended up standing in the street waving to passing cars and signalling them not to stop, get out, or open their windows. It's amazing how ready people are to take instructions like that from someone in a bee suit covered in bees. One of the cars went right to the end of the cul-de-sac and collected the postman, then drove him back to his van at the other end of the road. We didn't get any mail today.

Don and I finished the job, and walked into the back garden, but angry bees followed us. It was like a Tom and Jerry cartoon with bloodthirsty bees bent on revenge following us in a big angry cloud. Don the bee guru kept saying "They'll go back in the hive soon", but when we'd been waiting for an hour and a half I'd had enough. I was thinking that what we really needed was a heavy downpour to drive the bees back into the hive, but wouldn't you know, this was the first day in three months where it hasn't rained all day.

But wait! I can make it rain! I have a lawn sprinkler! So I pulled out the lawn sprinkler and turned it on. It worked like a charm. The bees left us, Don was able to get back in his car and I was able to go back in the house and have a stiff drink.

I went out later and bought the neighbours a huge bunch of flowers and a tin of luxury dog food for the poor dog. I took it round and grovelled abjectly. I think they'll forgive me eventually. I spent the rest of the day on the phone to various people from my local beekeeping association. Someone is coming round in the morning with a view to moving the bees to an emergency temporary apiary, and then I'll have to arrange an out-apiary - a place well away from habitation but where I can still access my bees.

I'm not getting rid of the bees, but I'm moving them well away from the house, and from our street.

17 comments:

farmingfriends said...

Sorry about the bees. I did have to chuckle though when the postman had to be picked up in the car and driven to his car. Sound funny but I bet the reality wasn't! Hope you find somewhere so that you can still keep them.
Sara from farmingfriends

Melanie Rimmer said...

It was pretty hair-raising and I'm not kidding when I said I had a stiff drink afterwards. But it does make a good story, doesn't it? You've got to look on the bright side.

Polly said...

Now I see why our local council won't allow bees on blocks any smaller than a hectare.
No wonder you needed that stiff drink. :-)

Creeped Out McBurro said...

Hell's Teeth! Now this is exactly why I stay away from bees...

Joanna said...

How ghastly ... I hope you find somewhere not too inconvenient to keep them. It sounds as if you need to do some re-queening, so that's another thing I'll look forward to hearing about the practice rather than the theory!

Good luck
Joanna

welsh girls allotment said...

I hope that you are all ok it sounds a dreadful experiance- could you keep them at the allotment ? S
Some allotment constitutions will allow the keeping of bees, it may be worth a look and the bees should benefit from all of the different crops growing and the growers will benefit as the bees can do the pollinating for them !

Melanie Rimmer said...

I agree Welsh Girl. I'd love to keep them at the allotment, they'd do a lot of good there. The trouble is we get trouble with vandals and they'd probably push the hives over or set fire to them. It would be cold comfort knowing the vandals got stung if I lost my colonies.

Steph (hedgewitch) said...

At least it made a great blog post :-) Hope you get things sorted OK - I am interested in bees though I've just been a little bit put off! If we got any, it would involve keeping them on land belonging to someone else, so I might wait a little while and learn more from you :-D

Steph (hedgewitch from DS, not your sister!)

Rebecca (living sustainably in rural Ireland) said...

Aha, so I found your post about the starvation swarm ... crikey ... now I'm scared too!

What an experience, baptism of fire. But yes, an fantastic post!

Does it look like you'll have any honey this year? I'm hoping for a couple of jars ... I'd be thrilled with just that for my first season.

www.sallygardens.typepad.com

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