Bee explosion shock for Newbees
So after a two year delay my Hands on Bee training has begun with the local association (UK). Because I refused to wait I've actually had bees for two years now after a swarm trap worked in 3 days flat (and made plenty of mistakes in swarm control but not lost a colony…yet).
The others in my little group of trainees are completely new, never seen bees up close until week one. I'm there to pretty much polish my technique from the trainers and learn swarm control.
So last week (2nd week, 1st week was a bit cold and blustery so we didn't open the hives) we began being shown how to inspect and we had to rate hives on a variety of measures on a 1-5 scale.
One of the others asked for the first hive "this must be a 1 for temperament, they're flying up at us!" – I rated it a 3, a couple of over eager guard bees, and a bit runny on the combs but perfectly workable.
So they kept asking "if that's a 3, what's a 1?" I didn't have a good answer except, "you'll know it when you see it". Next two hives were lovely, a 4 and 5 which was so laid back and nice to inspect even though we had the hive open for ages.
Got to the last hive, opened the crown board and it was like a claymore mine full of angry bees. In 3 seconds flat we are all covered in pissed off bees pinging off our veils and gloves constantly. In unison all of the others marked a 1 on the temperament box. Fair play to them though, no one panicked and no one got stung.
(Queenless after a split, weather was turning and it looks like the queen cell had failed so we added a frame of brood from another hive which had a QC for them to raise – with a note not to open it for a couple of weeks to give her a chance to emerge and mate).