Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Agitation All Around

On Sunday, the day after installation, I just quickly opened up both hives to make sure all was well. I noticed in one hive, one of the frames had dropped down in the front (the frame was just a little bit too short). I decided I would suit up and go in Monday to fix that. I gave them a whole quart of sugar water and put them to bed for the night.

Monday, after dinner, I suited up to go in and quickly fix that frame. Or that is what I thought anyways. Here I go in my space invaders suit, down the hill to the hives. I have my bulky gloves and my trusty tool in tow and I am ready to totally know what I was doing. I got into the hive and started trying to get my tool under the frame to just pop it up and move it half an inch to the left. Easier said than done.

I could NOT seem to pry that frame up! I thought I was going to either put my tool through the frame or lever the side so much the side of the hive may come off! I tried to be gentle but my huge, mutated fingers were anything but. I would get the frame up a little and try to grab it, then BAM! it would drop and slam down into the hive. This was met with quite an uncomfortable level of buzzing. After doing this three times, it was obvious I needed some smoke.

I knocked on the window for my loving husband (who wants nothing to do with my new hobby) to bring me a lighter. He helped me get the pine needles lit and off I go, back down to the hive, with a blazing torrent of flame coming out of my smoker. This would not do, unless I wanted to incinerate them all. So I huffed and puffed, then realizing this was literally fanning the flame, I let it die a little. I then had some good smoke to get them calmed down. This was successful. I set the smoker in the grass to go back to my prying. Soon I was cussing myself the same way my dad always did when I smoked him. Big dummy me, had placed the smoker directly upwind from myself and I had managed to choke myself out. So I moved the smoker and went back to prying.

I felt so silly fumbling about with that tool and frame as I thought about my Dad, the hive tool merely an extension of his hand, or brain even. Neither my hands or brain seemed to want to work together. Finally, I got the frame pulled up and shifted. Once I had it where I wanted it, I wanted to just get out of there as I had traumatized these girls enough for the day. I closed them up and looked in at the other hive (blissfully oblivious to the wake of disaster in which I had left their neighbors). All looked well. I didn't want to prowl in there with out a reason, so I closed them up, put out my fire, and headed back to the house.

They had taken about half of the quart of sugar water, so I left the remainder on the hives for them to finish today. Seems as though they will take a quart every two days. So I will try to check on them again later in the week and try my best not to traumatize them more than necessary. I have a lot to learn.

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