Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Day The Hives Hated Us!

The new Queen Olga came today. And she needed to get installed in her new hive, in her Queen Carrier, so the old Bees could get her scent and eat out the sugar and welcome her into her new home. So began a rather harrowing three hours.

We didn't know if the old Queen was dead, or gone or simply stopped laying eggs. If she was still alive, we would have to find her, and kill her.

At the beginning of this process, we were very sad about this. Not at all sure we could do it. By the end of the day tho, I was saying things like "If I find her, I will crush that no good non egg laying skanky Queen in my bare hands."

Sharon will do the full report over at her Blog, so you can get the details there. First, we had to go to the Mimko hive, which was doing very well, and take a frame of Brood, to give the Olga hive some new baby bees, until the new Queen could hatch her own.

Mimko hated this, as the hive thought, quite correctly, that we were stealing their brood, and they moved into Protect mode. For the first time since the first panicked day, I did not enjoy the Bee thing.

Little did we know...(Cue Music..)

At the Olga Hive, we had to take it apart and go thru 30 frames, all covered in bees on both sides. (it is worth noting that Eddi Izzard is playing here tonight. We could sure tell HIM something about being Covered in Bees!) and see if we could find the old Queen, with her big Queen Butt.

Olga bees have always been a little aggressive, but let me tell you, they HATED this. Sometimes, a bee or two will Bonk you, which is when they fly into you at full speed, like a tap on the shoulder to let you know "HEY! STUPID! This is like, a BEE HIVE! Beat It!" You smoke them with your mighty smoker and they back off.

Most times.

Sometimes a bee will sting you on your gloves. This releases something that tells the other bees "Trouble, my Comrades, come sting with me and die protecting the hive"

It is truly a somewhat stressful feeling, I can now tell you, to look down and see yourself covered in bees, all stinging you. And feel the constant Bonking at your head, like hail.

Remember, they can't get IN the bee suit. Nope. No way. This is what will keep you sane. Can't get in. Would NEVER happen.....(more music, scarier now...)

Unless, of course, you discover, looking down at your chest, which is covered in bees, you have forgotten to zip up your bee suit around the neck. (something I promise, you will never do twice.

I said something, calmly I am sure like SHARON MY SUIT IS UNZIPPED!!!!!!!!!! And she answered, just as calmly WALK AWAY WALK AWAY I WILL SMOKE YOU I WILL SMOKE YOU!!!!!!!

Fortunately the bees had not yet discovered this fact, and no one was IN the suit yet. But you can up the stress level a few notches. We began using the phrase,"I need a Bee Moment" which meant one of us was in danger of freaking, and we would walk away, get most of the bees off, and breathe, before going back in.

Mostly, Cabal is smart enough not to get close, and the bees have always left him alone. Until today. He started to get stung, and began snapping at the bees flying around him, and batting at them (he totally flailed) He also had bees stuck in his fur.

I got him bee free and calmer, and told him to stay away. (short version) but he was convinced I was going into danger and he needed to save me by moving in and attacking the bees. (up stress level) I convinced him that he had best stay in the car for the rest of the time. Here he is getting his revenge on the Bee Toy I bought him.

We finally got everything wrapped up, again, refer to Sharon for the full report. We went back to the car, feeling like we had been in a war, leaving our bee suits on, in case the ever aggressive Olga bees were still lingering.

As it turned out one was. IN Sharon's Bee Suit.

She started yelling BEE MOMENT BEE MOMENT and leapt from the moving car. I stopped the car and leapt for her. I pulled the zipper of the suit down, and saw the bee, and tried to grab for it, but Sharon did the fight or flight maneuver, and started running away across the field, I grabbed her suit from the back and pulled it from her, followed by her shirt.

There we were, in the dandelion covered field, full of bees. The stuff of high comedy.

When we got back in the car, darned if, oh yes, there was a bee flying around between us. Cut to screaming, batting, flailing....

Here is my final word on Bees today...

Love and Not so much Bees,


At 8:20 PM , Blogger Aleta said...



That is both harrowing and just a bit hilarious. (Hilarious to read not to live through, I am sure!)

So they are stinging the suit, right -- not your skin, right? When it is zipped all properly and such of course.

I have been loving the bee stuff so much and wishing I was doing it too. Thanks for this touch of reality!!

At 8:28 PM , Blogger Malena said...

Just yesterday I saw a guy at the pool in a bee suit and thought of you. He was releasing bees, I guess. It was quite a rare treat to see this in LA.
I thought, I can't wait to get into a bee suit. Now I am thinking that shark tank may be safer.

You made my day Deva. My blog I'm working on is called Bees, Bunnies and Birds. Once again, we are living the same life. I just see ONE carbon printed pollution infested bee and get excited, and YOU are covered in thousands of little free range buzzing friends. Ah, the country. I miss it.

At 8:51 PM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Yes, stinging the suit. Still Freaky. Sharon did WAY better than I did. Very stressful it was. They were NOT happy. Not at all.

Malena, more likely he was gathering a swarm. When bees swarm, they sort of take off, with the Queen, and look for a new home. And it is not generally in a good place, like say, a pool area.

Then a Beekeeper has to be called to come and get the bees, and take them to a hive in a cool place. They would not get randomly released, a hive can't survive without a hive and a Queen. It is a lot of work.

Come out here and get into a bee suit! They will love you!!!! Maybe. Shark tanks may well be safer..

At 8:53 PM , Blogger Aleta said...

Oh I was not questioning the stress AT ALL -- I just wanted to be sure you were not covered in bee stings as well as stressed out!

Glad to hear that you are not.

At 9:46 PM , Blogger Librarylion said...

I love that last picture. Sums up how any sane person would feel about that kind of bee-intense day.

Did you find the old Queen? Apologies if you answered that in your post....I may have missed it while having my own creeped-out bee moments as I read along! :)

At 10:04 PM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Hi Librarylion, and welcome!

We found what we think was the dead Queen, at the bottom of the hive. She was all black and kind of shriveled, so we can't be sure, but we both looked at all 30 frames really carefully, and never saw a live Queen.

I feel pretty emotionally drained by this Bee Thing today. It was hard, long and messy.

We betrayed the Mimko Hive, stealing the brood, we killed a lot of Olga workers, all in the name of trying to help them, the dog got stung and in danger trying to help.....

Some days...I tell you.

Mim is on the Cat Wheel, which was going to be my blog, wonderful fun, and Venus sleeping on my feet and tomorrow will be another adventure.

At 10:11 PM , Blogger Aleta said...


I hope my first response didn't sound flip. It really sounds like a traumatic day. I hope tomorrow's adventures are more pleasant.

At 10:14 PM , Blogger Rubius said...

Hi Librarylion and welcome.

Yikes, what a bee adventure!! I think I would like to try something like that though. I took scuba lessons so I could get over my fear of swimming in water in which I couldn't see the bottom (unfortunately I don't have the money or equipment to dive regularly)... I REALLY don't like insects and there is nothing that I can think of that is worse than being covered in bugs... but it is a fear that I would really like to conquer... perhaps on a normal bee-visiting day though... not an angry day.

I tried to conquer that feat once. I visited a bug-farm and they let me put my hand in a bag of ladybugs and scoop out a handful. I tell you, ladybugs aren't that cute when there is a whole sack of them in front of you nor, for that matter, when they swarm and cover your residence like a plague...

*flashback* ack... the plague of ladybugs descends... they always look bigger when they are flying... and afterwards their corpses litter the balconies and window sills... and the pavement underfoot... ugh, what a horrid crunch.

At 10:19 PM , Blogger Rubius said...

WOW.... I just posted and then read the posts that were posted while I was writing... and Lorraine I swear I didn't copy your welcome line... it just turned out that way...lol

rest well. I hope to see photos of your cat wheel, and Mim and Venus enjoying it... and I hope that JL1 and JL2 are doing alright.

At 10:22 PM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Not flip at all, thee was truly as much humour as trauma today....

Rubious, a little trial by fire never hurt anyone.....

At 10:23 PM , Blogger spacedlaw said...

Oh dear oh dear oh dear.
I admire that you can make a fun account of it so close to the actual happenings. The whole episode must have felt like a day through hell and not quite back.
Sweet that good citizen dog should want to protect his friend.
Bees were upset and really had any right to be. What: stealing babies? Plotting regicide?

I quite like the idea of a bee-gatherer herding swarms. Did he play some type of flute?

At 10:24 PM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

JL1 and 2 are doing better. I will post on them again soon. They let me pet them while they eat and come to me when I come into their room.

Wild Kingdom....

At 10:29 PM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Spacelaw, I think both Sharon and I had a hard time with the blogs....It was very much a thing. A Bee Moment, where we learned a LOT of things about ourselves, and bees, and life, and Death, not to be dramaitic.

At 10:34 PM , OpenID pantagruel said...


I shall go have some whiskey for you, to calm your nerves after the Bee Moments.

At 10:45 PM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

You know, it was funny, I got a package today from someone I'd arranged an interview for, saying she had wanted to buy me a drink at the next con but thought that might be a while...

Since I had neglected to tell her I was a cheap date these days, she sent me a way cool pirate glass, rum and diet coke. And chocolate.

I gave the rum and coke to Merry Housekeeper, but the chocolate sure did help Sharon and I.

Funny old world.

At 11:07 PM , Blogger Rubius said...

so the question really is... HOW do you 'herd' bees??? especially out of a lux residence with a swimming pool? How are they contained??? Big nets?

do you play the flute?... like Nathalie suggested... the rumour goes that the ancient Etruscans could play a double flute so cunningly and sweet that it would charm all the beasts of the forest. I wonder if that applied to bees as well.

do you display 'royal jelly' to attract the queen... bag her... then lead the rest of the bees away as they tag along so as to stay near their queen?

do you come along with a wheelbarrow of flowers and then wheel the swarm away as they try to get the pollen?

do you dance the great bee dance titled 'follow me, I know a great hive location'?

do you take the finest perfumes and simply waltz by... taking the bees with you?

do you use the (no doubt patented by Danth) easy breezy bee remover vacuum?... sucking them out of the air?

enquiring minds need to know... how do you 'collect' bees?

At 12:16 AM , OpenID kali-licious said...

Hooboy I'm glad you both are ok after that. I'm completely a bee-weenie and was twitching and shivering through the whole post.
Poor Cabal, I'm sure he thought he was trying to help, silly dog.
At least you had chocolate for consolation, post Bee Hell Day.;)

Rubius, I'm completely with you on the bug thing, though I don't think I could reach into a bag of bugs. At least now I don't run shrieking. (I was even able to shoo a bee out of work the other day.)
And herding bees? LOL

At 4:15 AM , Blogger Dan Guy said...

Yikes! I feel all agitated and traumatized just reading that.

At 6:18 AM , Blogger Bulfinch's Aglaia said...

Oh. My. Once again, I am in awe of your multiple abilities, and your patience. (and may I steal the phrase, "bee moment"? that is such an excellent line, indicating stress without any cursing!) But seriously, Fablo, you are amazing.

At 7:24 AM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

We all need a Bee Moment from time to time...

Herding Bees....

Well, if the swarm is on a branch, or something you can remove, it is easy. You simply cut the branch, put a bag over it, and put them in a box. You will not of course, get them all, but the remaining bees will not last long.

You would then take them back to a nice hive, and you would have to see if you have managed to get the Queen, if not , you will need to re-Queen.

I saw a vid once where a hive had swarmed into an old wood duck house. In that case you take the whole thing. They will be on or in something.

Basically, you wing it.

At 9:45 AM , OpenID pantagruel said...

The rum & coke package is a funny coincidence. Something must've been in the air, saying, 'Lorraine has had A Day.' Hopefully, no Bee Moments are in store for today. ;)

So it has just hit me that Book Expo is thisFriday and will meet your Boss and hopefully Kitty, too. So nervous. Mainly because I feel like I need to somehow convince him that I am not, in fact, a homicidal maniac; and can thus be trusted to come visit to see you play music, and paint a faerie mural for you someday. I'm afraid I'll instead come across as a gigantic dork. :P

At 10:52 AM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

No Bee Moments today. They can jolly well be left to themselves.

Pantagruel, we are all dorks here....Wait'll Kitty tells you what I am overnighting her with her BEA Badge.


At 11:39 AM , OpenID pantagruel said...

If we're all dorks here, than I'm proud to be one. Heh, I'll ask Kitty what you overnighted her if I see her on Friday! (Now I must go try to find a photo of her that is not just the lower half of her face, like her blog commenting icon is, so I will recognize her.)

Also -- I'm going to be moving shortly, and am purging stuff. Would any LaMies who live somewhere colder than LA use scarves I have knit? (They're near scarves, just really too warm for here except for three days of the year.) I have a stripey gothy one I think you'd dig, Lorraine.

At 11:39 AM , OpenID pantagruel said...

If we're all dorks here, than I'm proud to be one. Heh, I'll ask Kitty what you overnighted her if I see her on Friday! (Now I must go try to find a photo of her that is not just the lower half of her face, like her blog commenting icon is, so I will recognize her.)

Also -- I'm going to be moving shortly, and am purging stuff. Would any LaMies who live somewhere colder than LA use scarves I have knit? (They're neat scarves, just really too warm for here except for three days of the year.) I have a stripey gothy one I think you'd dig, Lorraine.

At 11:40 AM , OpenID pantagruel said...

Hrm, bizarro extra comment there. Oops.

At 12:29 PM , Blogger Rubius said...

What a nice offer Pantagruel... (and yes, we are ALL dorks here). You can see a nice pic of Kitty on Malena's blog.

As for the scarves... if you are looking to part with them ... have you considered finding a good place to donate them? My friend and I went downtown a day or two before last xmas and we saw all the homeless (and thought about all the baked goodies we had made for our families... wishing we had them with us) and my friend has since started knitting so she can give scarves next winter as gifts to the homeless. I don't know if anyone in LA can use scarves at winter but there MUST be people who would need one.

At 12:42 PM , OpenID pantagruel said...

Yep, I'm adding a bunch of them to the pile of clothes I'm giving to the shelter I regularly donate outgrown clothes to. But I thought I'd check here, first, as many of you have mentioned living in places with Weather. ;)

At 1:22 PM , Blogger EmilyLady said...

Aleta, it IS funny when it happens to someone else ...

Kidding; really, honestly, truly kidding. I love the bee stories but don't like the idea of living any of them.

I hope you are feeling better now!


At 6:58 PM , Blogger Maureen said...


I think I had a Bee Moment just reading that, especially the part where you noticed your suit was unzipped.


Hopefully Cabal doesn't find bees appetizing. I had a dog who thought they were dog treats on wings and ate one. It took offense and stung him as he swallowed it. It's a Very Fine Thing we live only 1/2 mile from the vet. Dog was limp as a noodle and needed a shot of benadryl.

Dog was fine an hour or so later. I don't think I ever did get over that little adventure.

At 7:02 PM , Blogger Yoga Gal said...

Goodness! You brave women! poor Cabal though! How is his skin where he go stung? You are so sweet and wise to give him a stress toy!

At 7:48 PM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Scarves are cool. We may, here of course, get snow again at any moment.

Emily, I think you would like them if you got to know them, the bees, powerful earth magic. You learn a lot about yourself tending bees...

Cabal is fine, but wiser.....As are we.

At 9:51 AM , Blogger Susan Gets Native said...

I hopped over here from Sharon's blog and I am so glad I did.
To hear both versions is just perfect!
A Bee Striptease, Out In A Meadow.

At 12:08 PM , Blogger EmilyLady said...

It's true that, keeping up with both your and Mr. Gaiman's blogs, I've developed a sort of fondness for bees.


At 10:59 PM , Anonymous wendy said...

The worst thing ever to do is take off the bee suit if you get one bee in..because then all the bees can get in. You need to squish that one bee through the suit.
Tip for bees in long hair...thump head and squish bee if inside the veil. If no veil use a comb or brush to sweep bee out of hair otherwise you will not get the very angry bee out of your hair
Well done for spotting the hive had gone queenless so quickly though

At 1:46 PM , Blogger DJ said...

I thought that a new queen would be created inside the hive, if the old one died.

Silly me!


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