Beekeepers Friend

Peaches' Beekeeping Blog

August 18, 2007

Toppled Colony

Yesterday, I had a call from one of the farmers where I keep some bees. “One of your hives is laying down and there is still some bees in it. What do I do?” These are words you really don’t want to hear, “What do I do?”

I was sitting in a barber’s chair at the time. I had on my shorts, T-shirt, and sandals.  “Don’t do anything. I’ll be there just as soon as I can.” When you have farmers that know nothing about bees and are trying to help, you most likely do not want their help, so I was on the way from the barbershop as soon as I paid my bill.

I keep a bee suit, vale, smoker, fuel, hive tool, and water in my truck all the time so if I get an emergency, I can go right then. About half way there, I realized that I didn’t have any shoes, just my sandals. When I got there, I saw a brood box and 3 honey supers face down on the ground. Now I had to figure how to keep the bees from stinging my sandaled feet. I just happened to have some plastic Walmart sacks in the truck, so I slid them over my feet. Wow! that worked. I wouldn’t recommend that as a working relationship, but you use what you have at the time and make plans to keep an extra pair of tennis shoes in the truck as part of your emergency equipment.

The reason the hive fell over in the first place was, my hive stand is made of 2 plastic milk crates and 2 old landscape timbers that is 8 feet long. The milk crates have been in use for over 2 years at that place and I don’t know how old they were when I acquired them. But the point is that plastic milk crates will deteriorate with time and that is what happened. Since I did not have any 8 inch blocks with me, I had to reuse the milk crates. I will have to go back soon to rebuild the hive stand with the concrete blocks.

All this is just to let you know that you can use some material some of the time, but plan ahead so you can build your stands to last a little longer. I now use most of my milk crates to haul honey bears, bees, pints, quarts, and half-gallon containers to and from my various festivals. That is a better use of them.

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