I am not Corwin Bell. I knew that, of course, but I thought maybe I’d be calm and collected enough with the bees that I could get away with rubber bands around my pants ankles, and glasses so I could see what I was doing. Removal of the roof went well. Removal of the spacer between top bars went well, using the hive tool to pry the ends and scrape the propolis between the spacer and the back bar. I pulled up the back bar first, knowing there was only a partial comb on it, so I could see what the next to last bar looked like. Then things fell apart. Literally. As I endeavored to set the bar down upside down, the comb, warm, pliable, flopped to one side, alarming the bees. One, Bitey Bee, got caught under my glasses rim, so I set everything down and pulled my glasses off, but too late. One sting. I calmly hurried inside, scraping the site with my fingernail to remove the stinger, and applied Prid drawing salve. I came back with tongs to pick up the dropped comb, covered with bees, and set it in the bowl I’d brought for my harvest. I’d also pulled my hat off as I went inside, and forgot to put it back on, so my hair was falling in a mess; as I tried to put the bar back another bee tangled in the back of my hair, so again I calmly hurried away. Stingbee’s buzzing got more and more frantic as she burrowed deeper into my hair, as I tried to shake and sweep her out. Sting two. More Prid, in my hair. After being chased away two more times (calmly) without getting stung, I finally got the bar back in place and the flat roof on without further incident.
I left the glistening piece of comb in the bowl so the bees could take their time leaving it. I wasn’t a complete idiot about it. I did call three friends to try to get backup before I started this escapade. Luckily for my pride none were available. But after all was said and done, Cynthia called back to see if I still needed help, so she got to share in the tiny, sweet, taste of honey.
I immediately went online to http://www.backyardhive.com to order a full suit and some fine mesh for straining. Chalk this one up to a lesson learned, and try again in a few days with proper protection. What was I thinking? At least I bought some time; I may have a week before they start to glue their comb to the back wall.
So a few small successes to counter my humbling bee fiasco, and now for a lunch of fresh ripe tomatoes.