Little Z went off to a friend's house today and I thought, Finally some time to myself! I can put that new fence up!
So, I'm pound pound pounding away on those fence posts, and suddenly there is a swarm of bees in front of me! I didn't hear them, because I was wearing ear plugs to block out the pounding, but I guess they heard me and they didn't like it! And they must've planned on swarming... or something. I don't understand it. Anyway, I took off the ear plugs and the noise was quite disconcerting.
Such a pleasant time to myself to get work done... BZZZZZZZZ!
I went and put some bee keeping clothes on, called the expert (BAH) and went back out, and at first I thought everything was fine. Until... I found the swarm, partly inside a tree fence, and partly outside a tree fence. Another trip back to the house and I took the fence down. Now, however, they were swarming in the tall grass. BAH's instructions were to sweep them into a box and put them into our one empty hive. How to sweep them into a box?
First, I put a box next them and tried to sweep them in. That didn't work. Then I wrapped a sheet around the whole bit of tall grass and tree with the bees, and put a box in there, too, and I seemed to get a lot of bees. Then Little Z came home and put on her beekeeping outfit (fleece footy pajamas and a beekeeper hat). She smoked the bees and I put them into a still bigger box. [Note: Maybe I should be calling Little Z BAK - Bad Ass Kid? What five and a half year old helps you catch a swarm of bees, anyway? I did not make her at all. She pretty much insisted on doing it. I swear!]
We took away the box to the other hive and dumped them in. There were precious few. Most of the bees had remained in the grass. Darn.
Little Z and I set up the box next to the bees in the grass again, this time with some fancy French bee lure in the box. Nothing like French perfume to attract the bees.
Bees are supposedly docile at dusk, so I snuck back out there at 9 PM, and they were so docile, all sleeping quietly in the grass. Ah. The life pastoral. I can just slide those right into that box there, I thought.
So, I ran back into the house (which is maybe a quarter mile) and got my bee hat and my gloves and the bee broom to sweep them, and I mixed some sugar water to spray on them so that they couldn't fly- although they didn't look like they could fly at night, anyway. I don't think they can see at night.
So. No reason to take the usual precautions. I was alone. No five and a half year old needed to be protected from bee stings. I've worn little protection in the past, and it's all turned out okay.
Famous last words.
I went out there. The bees were sleeping. I started sweeping them into the heavily perfumed box. They started flying. I sprayed and- nothing! The sprayer was broken! I thought, I'll just do it really quickly, before they all wake up... More sweeping, more bees flying into the air, tried the sprayer again, still didn't work. I needed my trusty assistant with the smoker! Then I started getting stung in the legs. In my haste, I hadn't changed into thicker pants! I was just wearing leggings. Stung two or three times in the thighs. I tried taping up the box, thinking I could cut my losses, fumbled it in my bee gloves, dropped it-- hundreds of angry bees were flying out, stinging my legs! Getting into my shirt! Buzzing past my ears!
I ran like hell. Of course. My sweater is out there in the field somewhere where I dropped it as I ran. There were bees in it.
So, I guess bees don't like being awakened at night. Who knew?