WARNING: Don’t read this if you are looking to start keeping honey bees.
We might be done with bees. We’re contemplating knocking over the hive and spraying pesticide in the entrance. Which coming from a girl who really tries do it all ‘NATURAL’ is saying a lot.
We have two hives, this spring we started with two bee packages from a reputable bee breeder in South Texas. One of our hives is extremely defensive, we’ve decided they’re Africanized killer crazy bees. I’m talking mean. They’re nuts.
We follow all the precautions when working our bees, we smoke correctly (like Michael Bush says to do), we have a full bee suits. We talk quietly, we don’t bang our equipment. We don’t stand in front of the entrances. We’re gentle and try not to squish bees! We dot our i’s and cross our t’s.
This morning, when we started working the hive they went nuts, they came out in a huge swarm and went all over Andrew and I. I couldn’t take it and ran out of our bee yard, but Andrew’s much tougher than I. He stayed in there, even though he was getting stings through his bee suit. On his back, head, on his legs, on his ankles etc.
Here’s what happened… Andrew worked the bees while I watched all those nasty killers swarm him and myself (I was about 30 feet away). I had to get out of there. I couldn’t take it.
To save our week hive, Andrew took a bar of capped brood comb out of the strong nasty hive and moved it to our week hive (which doesn’t have any capped brood or a laying queen yet). Then with bees still swarming him, he finished the job and took three empty combs from the week hive and added them to the end of the strong hive. Because the week (queen-less hive) can’t defend all those empty combs and they need worker bees to survive until their queen comes back from her mating flight and starts laying.
Anyways, I have no idea how Andrew stayed there with those killer bees. The nasty bees found a way into Andrew’s suit between his boots and the pant legs. He got stung so many times. Bees made it in his pants! He had a gap where the leather made a crease and the bee leg holder things didn’t work. He probably got over a dozen bees up each leg 🙁
I wish you could smell the pheromone of stingers and bee guts all over us. Horrible.
It almost makes me nauseous just thinking about it. Andrew was able to get a bar of capped brood out and move over three frames of empty comb from the week hive and then he gave up and we both ran away. Leaving everything there. They were so mean, we didn’t finish our inspection ran into the field away from the hives COVERED in bees from head to toe. Oh yeah… and our plan was to get back in the truck which was parked close by, because we have a JERSEY BULL IN THAT FIELD but, we had so many bees on us we would have squished them under our hineys when we sat down!
Our bee yard is very far across the pasture from our house. The bees swarmed us the entire way back to the house, 200 yards! And stayed with us! Isn’t that a sign of killer bees, when they don’t leave you even when you’re realllly far away?
After waiting about 15 minutes, we had to go back and get our equipment, we left everything out, smokers going, our car down there etc. It was the same story when we went back down there. We sprinted around trying to close hives and get our bees stuff. But, we couldn’t get the truck because they covered us, AGAIN.
Andrew’s a very strong guy, but I saw him get unglued for the first time I’ve know him. I’m thinking this might be the end of beekeeping for us. Which I am really sad about, because our farm tag line is “the land of milk and honey” .
I know you’re thinking… well, you just need to go in there and kill the queen and put in a new one. Ha, we’ll let you do that. We’ll even pay to do it for us! You’d need a steal mesh cage 1 foot around yourself to not get 1,000 plus stings in 5 minutes being out there. By the time you found the queen you’d be dead from all the stings or at least need to go to the hospital.
Below is a video I was able to get on my iPhone. It was realllly hard to get, becuase the bees were all over me and they HATE THE IPHONE. My phone is black and a pink rubber cover, that’s just littered with stingers and it was really difficult to push the button to turn the camera on… I kept squashing bees trying to get turn the camera on! You can hear all the mad crazy bees buzzing around me, hitting me and stinging anything that moves.
A side note, those crazy bees are still swarming front and back door of our house, where we dropped our bees suits and ran inside! Our house is REALLY FAR AWAY FROM THE BEE YARD. Probably at least 300 yards. We’ll probably have to wait till dark before we can go down there and get our truck and equipment!
I’m not sure what we’re going to do about this. We put so much time, effort and money into starting beekeeping I’m really sad to be in this situation.
What do you think we should do?
I’d reather not contaminate and mess up our beautiful Goldstar Top Bar hive with pesticide, but I’m not sure how else to handle the situation.
UPDATE December 2012 – We ordered two new queens from Wolf Creek Apiaries. When they arrived by mail a few days later we killed the mean queen and re-queened. It took about 6 weeks, but the whole hive calmed down and everything is as it should be, beekeeping is a pleasure! After talking to dozen’s beekeepers we’ve come to the conclusion that our situation was very very unusual. Please don’t let our experience keep you from trying bees.
Here’s a picture of all the stings on our suits.