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Mean Bees

29 Aug 2018 9:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

I killed some bees.  I have done this from time to time by mistake, clumsiness, and inattention, but this time it was deliberate. Moreover, it was an entire colony.  With a state inspector watching.  Was that enough of a hook to keep you reading?  I

It starting with a phone call that I did not answer (sorry, after nine pm, my phone cuts out anyone but family, do not take it personal) but I did return the call in the morning.  Brain Krause got the original call and all the headache and stings to go with it.  A couple in the Thoroughgood neighborhood who were beekeepers in the past had some stored equipment that a swarm had moved into in the spring.  Very nasty bees.  Neither they, nor their neighbors could use their backyards, people were complaining about being stung.  Brian being the nice guy that he is, went and took a look.  And got stung for his trouble. A lot.  While wearing his protective equipment, he had to walk two blocks in an attempt to un-suit.  He ending up going home in his bee suit.

He closed them up as best he could and the next morning he and homeowner loaded them up in Brian’s truck.  Stings again. We discussed finding the queen to re-queen and cool down the temperament, but no way he was keeping them at his house and I was not going to try it at mine, I actually like my neighbors. One of the issues facing them and us was there no frames in top (deep) 8-frame box, so they had attached eight nice straight combs to the inner cover just as pretty as you please. 

I called both the local state inspector, Mohamed Abdalla, and the STATE inspector, Keith TIgnor to consult.  Collectively, we decided the best course of action was to sample the hive for Africanized traits, and destroy them.  We cannot have hot bees like that spreading in our neighborhoods. It would be the end of backyard beekeeping.  Other options would have been attempt to find the queen, remove her, and then re-queen.  It is getting late in the season to make a new queen, and we did not want those genetics at all.  Plus, we would still have the really hot bee issue for a couple of months.  We also did not want the drones out spreading their message of love. Since the bees were attached to the inner cover, this process would have been much more involved. 

Keith gave us a couple of safe ways to kill them, so Brain covered up the closed up hive (solid bottom board) with an sheet and drove out to a rural out bee yard I use, Mohamed met us there to collect a small sample for testing, then we opened up the hive.  The heat had done the trick, the bees were dead and the comb had collapsed. We were prepared with sprayers of soapy water just in case.   Soapy water clogs up the spiracles, which are the bees breathing tubes.  We did not enjoy this process, as we are all beekeepers, but sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of a few ( I think I just ripped off a Star Trek line, sorry  Treckies).  Even two days later Brain was still getting stung in his driveway from bees that got left behind.   When we get the test results back, I will update this.

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