Our bees go on vacation in summer. When things are bloomed out in the Triangle area bees turn crabby. I get it. Everyone is hot and hungry and mom tells them to go outside. Sounds a bit like a family vacation without AC. So the unemployed forager bees get cranky, jealous, and more likely to share their venom. It’s this time of year, that the NC mountains offer a respite. Slightly cooler temperatures and the allure of sourwood nectar in amounts we just don’t get around here in July. Mmmm. Sourwood good. So the bees go off to mountain camp.
Moving hives is a delicate business. But it ups the ante when the hives are heavy with spring honey and loaded with cranky bees. Plus I decided to double the number of hives we would transport this year. We needed horsepower. We rate the success of the move based on the swear meter. This year was kind of lackluster at a measly 3-4. (Past years have tipped the scales at 8-9). Mostly because I made good on a promise this year. Spaghetti got the worst of last year’s debacles. I promised him then that I would rent a truck next time so we could ride bee-free. (Yes, we used to put the hives inside the car). Big improvement this year.
Not only did I feel like a boss driving the truck (which is important) but it kept the help blissfully sting-free. The diesel power sounded cool and made us feel legit in the hauling business. Definitely worth the rental fee. I thought I’d licked our previous problems of closing up the hives with some fancy moving screens. And they did work beautifully, as long as you remembered to close the doors. Ahem. In the midnight madness I missed one door which we didn’t discover until the kind guard bees inside my bee coat reminded me. Start the swear meter. We ended up abandoning that one in the middle of the field as hoards of bees came streaming out to chastise us. And there it sat for a few days until I persuaded Spaghetti to help me move it again.
Other improvements this year included a bear fence. Purlear is home to many black bears, some on game cameras last year . Assuming my luck would run out, I invested in a portable electric system. Similar to what we use for the ducks, we had it up and going in short order. The bees were ambivalent but I felt a bit more secure. We passed out the empty but sticky honey supers to each hive with instructions to please refill them. Then we headed out. I miss those girls, and that truck.