A Scatterbrained Beekeeper

Some days I move around a lot with little to show for it. Yesterday was one of those days.

I put the finishing touches on the three remaining swarm-lure boxes: I added frames of drawn comb, and I drilled holes in the lids of three used plastic medicine bottles into each of which I put two cotton balls—I sprinkled three to five drops of lemongrass oil on one cotton ball; with the other cotton ball, I  soaked up my melted swarm lure…a mix of beeswax, almond oil, and lemongrass oil. I smeared the swarm lure mixture on the outside of each box and at the entrances. Then I added the used-up cotton to the vials, closed them up with their lids, and tucked the vials inside the boxes (the holes in the vial lids allows the smell of lemongrass to waft out of the box and attract the bees).

I still haven’t hung the things, though. It’s raining.

Then, I got the top-bar hives ready for bees…which means I added all the bars. Then I knocked the bars off because I wasn’t careful with the lid. So I replaced the bars. I immediately knocked them askew again. You see how it goes.

All of these little chores meant a lot of walking around the yard carrying stuff into the basement and out of the basement and into the kitchen and out to the garage and back to the yard. Then I’d forget something and have to go find it somewhere. It was tiring. Some days I’m unbelievably disorganized.

I had to take a nap.

Then, last night as the rain began and the wind whipped up, I realized I’d not replaced the large rock that anchors the Amazons’ hive cover, so I hauled out there in the rain and put that rock on top.

Bees arrive on Friday. If I don’t get more focused soon, they’re gonna wear me out.

Johnny and the big smoker

And Who Wouldn't Want to See the Bees?!

On April 27, 2009, I captured the swarm that I now call the Amazons, and it’s mid April again right now….which means I think it’s time to set out the four swarm bait boxes I’ve built in hopes of capturing a few swarms.

I’m not entirely sure where to hang those things. I know I’ll put one on a tree in my own beeyard—near the Amazons because they swarmed a few times last year and landed right there in front of my eyes…right in front of my eyes, but 40 or 50 feet up in the tree…too high for me to reach. It’s a killer to watch your own bees hanging in your own yard like that knowing they’re off to find a new home.

You know, Reader, on Sunday afternoon as I set out to inspect the Amazons with Hannah, a soon-to-be beekeeper, my neighbor John appeared. He saw us getting our gear together, and he wanted to see the bees. He was in shorts, T-shirt, and Chaco sandals. We suited him up. Then Katie, John’s wife called out to say that she was leaving the house and asked if John would watch Johnny, their 5-year old son. So, we suited Johnny up, too, and we all went out to visit the bees.

But in all the commotion, I lost sight of my plans for the inspection, and though we saw many wonderful goings on in the hive, I forgot to do what I set out to do: remove the bottom hive box (because nothing’s happening in there, and it’s one of two remaining 10-frame deep boxes still in operation and I’m eager to get rid of it); and add an 8-frame medium box to the top of the hive for expansion.

Today’s temperatures should reach the mid-60s, and it’s supposed to be sunny, so I plan to quickly do those two things this afternoon.

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Johnny and the big smoker
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John, Johnny, and Hannah inspect the Amazons