2013 - Facing Facts.
This spring my hives had dwindled to two, one having starved over the winter. This was the warmest winter since I started keeping bees and I had switched to Italian bees who require more winter stores. We also had the coolest and wettest spring since I had been keeping bees which aggravated the problem.
Undaunted, I continued to feed the hives and remain optimistic.
One hive swarmed, and as I had done in the past, I misted them with sugar water to calm them down and proceeded to shake them into a bucket as I had done in times past. Well... to put it into layman's terms, they went nuts! I got stung up and as I tried to mist them, the mister broke. This allowed a second attack to be mounted. I got stung up some more. The technical term is "they became defensive".
As you can suspect, the photographer abandoned me and no photos were snapped.
However, here are several photos of the stings.
Both arms and my torso looked about the same. After I retreated to the house and retrieved my smoker, two puffs and the were docile as little lambs. I shook them into the bucket, installed them into a different hive and called it a day. In spite of the stings I was happy with the results.
The next day I went to check on the hive and they had swarmed out onto a bush nearby. Remembering the prior day's experience, I wished them a heartfelt bon voyage and returned to the house.
Thinking over my time as a beekeeper, I came to the realization that I was only a bee killer. I am hanging up my bee veil in defeat to pursue other endeavors. The last hive will have to shift for itself.