Beemused: A Blog

They Are Not Amused

26th June 2007

They Are Not Amused

posted in Our Hives |

The girls were in a foul, foul mood this morning. When Justin went to put more syrup in Elizabeth’s feeder, pissed-off bees came zipping out of the hive, and several managed to sting him. Ouch! So he decked himself out in the full suit to feed Susan and Mary, and to tip the top covers of the hives a bit to improve their ventilation. Susan was apparently OK with these things, but one of Mary’s girls stung him on the finger as a parting gesture.

We’re not sure why they were so cranky this morning. Our two guesses: it’s hot and humid, and didn’t cool off much last night, and such weather is known to make bees unpleasant. (Bees like it in the 70s, and fairly dry, and with a nice breeze. Bees all want to live in San Fransisco, apparently.) It is also quite possible that a skunk was bothering them last night. I’m rather inclined to think that had something to do with it, just because of Liz’s hair-trigger defensiveness.

Now, they are pretty well equipped to fight off a skunk. The hive stands are about 18 inches tall, which means a skunk would need to expose its sensitive belly to stick a paw in the hive- and then the guard bees can sting it there. That’s one reason for the stands. But still- while the skunk would be driven away, that would not happen before the girls got pretty upset.

So, we’ve decided to leave the hives alone for the next few days. We’re in the big summer nectar flow, so they don’t desperately need feeding– and we want to give them a chance to forget about any possible skunk (or beekeeper!) attack, plus the weather is going to continue hot and humid for a few more days.

Hopefully, by the weekend everything will have settled down and cooled off some (figuratively and literally). I’m thinking that there is some frame-swapping we could do in the hives to help them build up- but not if they’re ridiculously irritable!

-Amanda

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  1. 1 On June 26th, 2007, Amanda Gannon said:

    Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

    I’m sorry the girls got bothered. Got a skunk in their bonnet, I suppose the saying would go. It’s marvelously brave to go out again AFTER getting stung. Owie.

  2. 2 On June 26th, 2007, AF said:

    See, I really think that must be it. The weather would make them cranky- but they were hair-trigger defensive with Justin, and to me that indicates that they felt they were attacked.

    Justin is very brave, and very concerned about the girls’ well-being!

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