I just arrived back home from the Berkshires and had a call from my husband, PK, saying, ”Your bees are being robbed!!” Not exactly the welcome-home words that I wanted to hear. As soon as I was in the door, I sprung into action and grabbed my bee stuff from the garage and my bee jacket from the coat rack. I felt like a fireman rushing off to fight a blaze.
The robbers were after Lady Gaga’s hive, my pride and joy, and the only hive that had honey in it 3 weeks ago. With a smoker in hand, I started by smoking and plugging all of the orifices in the hive. I put corks in the holes and a robber bar at the entrance. This slowed the chaos a bit, but I didn’t stop there. I went in and robbed the bees myself before the neighborhood bees could finish up their heist. I got the fume board out and fumed the supers methodically, causing the bees to dive deeper into the hive. I removed the top two supers holding the potential honey, one at a time, and walked them around the front of the house where I inspected the frames, brushed off the bees, and put the filled and capped frames into a large food grade Tupperware tub. The robber bees from the back started to discover me in front just as I was finishing the job.
I ended up with a total of 6 capped honey frames. I was a little disappointed when comparing this amount to some previous years; I guess I am getting greedy. I also feel lucky to have retrieved the honey before it was depleted by the robbers. I only took care of the one hive, since I was too hot to check the other hives, Fauci and Cuomo, and I wanted to time things closer to when Hannah returns so we can uncap and spin off the honey together. No bee stings reported, and I must say that today’s bee emergency made me stop thinking about the pandemic for some moments.
Questions? See our Facebook post.
Janice Fisher is a writer, physical therapist, and beekeeper from Annapolis.