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Just had the worst day with my bees ever. No doubt many of you have had similar or worse experiences, would love to hear about them and will get the ball rolling with mine.

 

I went for a run tonight and on the way home decided to check on three of my hives that are concealed behind a hedge in an urban area. It is a very steep site, and my intention was to just watch the bees coming and going for a while before I made my way home. Well to cut a long and very painful story short, the recent rain had made the paddock extra slippery and as I maneuvered myself into position above the hives I slipped and rolled into the one hive that was not emlocked. Murphy must have been in hysterics as he watched his immutable law unfold. The 3 supers rolled to the bottom of the hill and there were bees everywhere. Home (and my bee suit) was at least a 40 minute run away and the hive site is surrounded by houses. Terrified that innocent bystanders would be stung (there are several houses behind the hedge) I bit the bullet and ran to the aid of my charges, desperate to get the hive reassembled and then as far away as possible. They were not happy, I was covered in sweat. You don't need to possess a very vivid imagination to guess the outcome. Needless to say I received a baptism of fire I will never forget and currently bear a striking resemblance to the Michelan Man. My passion for beekeeping is back on that hill and it may well stay there.

 

The only positive outcome is that to the best of my knowledge no one else was stung.

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yikes Pete, I do not envy you that!

 

Best I can say is bloody good on you for having the guts to put the hive right straight away.

 

Dumbest thing I've done - early in the piece - showing off for my grandma just how peaceful our hive was, opening a propolised lid in the backyard with no hive tool.. pried it up with my fingertips *BANG* dropped the ######.... and then the stupid bit - opened it up straight away again.

 

WHAP straight between the eyes and on the side of my nose. New Year's Eve of course. Spent the entire night explaining to people that, no, my husband didn't hit me.. yes, I was safe at home.. no, the bees weren't a convenient cover story.. yes, it was as annoying as it looked.

 

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/z16nNMwCINcL4KMqPBzld2nO2O2T0H1at3P9Y3cucwE?feat=directlink

 

Not the most stings I've had by any means.. but by far the most embarrasing.

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Ha Ha! Nice work folks! :D

 

A sting on the lip just before a major social event is always a good one.

 

One I'll never forget happened shortly after I got my first hive. They were AMM (black, nasty little sods), and I was a 13 year old schoolboy.

 

A friend of my Dad's was visiting our town to attend a public speaking event he was to take, and stayed with us for a few days. During dinner, it was suggested I take a comb of honey out of the hive to show him.

 

So, next day, with him watching from a distance, I opened the hive and went to work. So did the bees though, getting inside my clothes, and my veil. My beekeeping skills were not too great, so eventually I panicked, slammed the hive back together, and ran. Our guest saw me coming, and also ran. But as he got to the door, he hesitated, thinking that if he went inside, I would follow. However I soon caught up with him and Wammo, he got stung in the face. Then another couple of stings in the face he was in such a hurry to get through that door he opened it and slammed his head right into it inflicting a major gash down his forhead.

 

As to me, I sat in the bath counting stings, something around 60.

 

Anyhow, the guy did attend his speaking engagement, luckily he had not lost his sense of humour. I went to his presentation, and he started out by naming his young friend, me, and saying that he was not actually a prize fighter, he just looked that way with his swollen almost shut eyes and gash down his forehead, because of my bees.

 

I've never forgotten that little episode, and doubt he ever did either.

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Oh, Pete, how painful! My disaster story doesn't involve any stings.

The night I brought my first two hives home was awful, especially for the bees.

I had planned for a week, and hired a trailer, but I had nobody to help me. Then on the day, it started to rain and blow a gale. After work I got the HiLux, picked up the trailer and went out in the horrible weather to get them. It took me an hour to strap up the hives and haul them on to the trailer in the pouring rain and by the time I drove 40 minutes home I was shaking with cold, starving hungry, and it was pitch black.

I hadn't strapped one of the hives well enough and the boxes had slid part way off the base, so I did my best to fix it up in the dark. It took more than an hour to manhandle (womanhandle?) the hives off the trailer and down through the paddock by torchlight, and set them up on the site I had levelled. Just as well for me it was raining, I think, because I got no stings through the whole botched operation.

Luckily I am used to keeping stock, so I have learned to handle a bit of disaster from time to time.

However, the part that nearly brought me to tears (it would have made anyone else laugh, if they weren't hungry, wet and frozen) was at the end, when I took at least half an hour to back the trailer round in the driveway, ready to leave in the morning.

I had to sweep a lot of dead bees off the trailer before I returned it. However, the queens made it through and both hives survived. But I'm not keen to ever move them again, and I will always ask for help if I do.

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My challenge does not figure on the register I've seen here. I have one hive at home (in the city) and under strict instructions that as soon as either my wife or daughter are stung the bees are going. "how will you know it was one of my bees etc" seems to hold no truck. Anyway last week we were sacked by our lawn mowing contractor who had been stung on the lip (some woman pay for that look) - she, the lawn mower, said it was one of my bees. The challenge was to get a new mowing contractor the day before Christmas and keep my bees. However all said and done the bees remained and we now have a mower made of sterner stuff.

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Pete, hoping these stories are easying the pain. Pleased it is not only me that these things happen to. I was saved the other day by Mr Emlock after shifting some hives to a new apairy at my sisters 10 acre block. I borrowed their 4 wheeler and small trailer and stacked the hives 2 high and tied on. Only problem tin lids are very slippery and within about 20 meters from their house one had slipped off the top and almost fallen off trailer, only saved by the emlock holding it all together. Lesson learned.

 

My worst would rate as over confidence, seems to effect us all at some stage, I was showing a work mate how quite they are, no smoke, no suit, no brains, all went well till we had hive apart inspecting a frame when we came under attack. Much running, my problem now hive is apart and I can't get close without being attacked. Worried about robbing i did the run in commando style no suit, no smoke, no brains and put it back together taking the punishment i deserved. Lesson learned. I now show no one without suiting them up first.

 

Re: Mowing the lawns around hives, I have some hives in a yard at work which is mowed by a school boy. Not wanting him to get stung I tell him to leave near the hives. I went back just before dark thinking the girls would be all tucked away and started to mow when I looked at the front of one hive and bees galore on the front, then they where after me, much running around between trucks to try to elude them. Few more stings.

Lesson learned. They don't seem to mind so much during the day when they are working but I always suit up now. Seems all these stings are great modifers of behaviour.

 

Many lessons to go:)

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when you've been beekeeping as long as I have there are a fair number of disasters to choose from but I think the one that really affected me was over 30 years ago when we were taking honey off close to a country road on the Coromandel. The bees were extremely aggressive hybrids and a young woman who was walking past got badly stung and ended up in hospital. We could do nothing to help her as we had a mass of angry bees around us and would only have made matters worse. I immediately moved the yard as far as possible from the road and in the seven years I was managing the hives in that area I almost eliminated that strain of bee by repeated re-Queening, but I have never forgotten that girl screaming.

Pete you should get a VC for bravery but on reflection I think there would have been less chance of people being stung if you had gone home and got a smoker. Well bred hives even when knocked over tend to settle reasonably quickly if not disturbed further and with smoker and Vale you can work a lot more calmly .

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when you've been beekeeping as long as I have there are a fair number of disasters to choose from but I think the one that really affected me was over 30 years ago when we were taking honey off close to a country road on the Coromandel. The bees were extremely aggressive hybrids and a young woman who was walking past got badly stung and ended up in hospital. We could do nothing to help her as we had a mass of angry bees around us and would only have made matters worse. I immediately moved the yard as far as possible from the road and in the seven years I was managing the hives in that area I almost eliminated that strain of bee by repeated re-Queening, but I have never forgotten that girl screaming.

Pete you should get a VC for bravery but on reflection I think there would have been less chance of people being stung if you had gone home and got a smoker. Well bred hives even when knocked over tend to settle reasonably quickly if not disturbed further and with smoker and Vale you can work a lot more calmly .

Can't help but agree with you. I guess panic doesn't always lead to the wisest of decisions. Next time (hopefully there will never be one) I will follow your sage advice.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well I have to admit to having a chuckle while reading through some of these stories, but that's only because I don't have enough experience behind me to have and incident yet. Worst thing so far is I've dropped a full frame of bees, but even then they still loved me. My wife got stung twice while mowing the lawn the other week. Still not sure why because they don't seem to go for anyone else.

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I am about to move 4 hives as we have sold our house and bought a block, your moving stories have not elevated my confidence. Please god, I'll have no stories to add to this thread !

And I knocked a hive whilst mowing and couldn't believe that that many bees could exit a hive that fast.

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I am about to move 4 hives as we have sold our house and bought a block, your moving stories have not elevated my confidence. Please god, I'll have no stories to add to this thread !

And I knocked a hive whilst mowing and couldn't believe that that many bees could exit a hive that fast.

 

Lol, just today I was mowing past the hives on the ol' ride on mower and the metal chute on the side where the cut grass is blown out caught on the corner of the pallet one hive was sitting on. This particular mower doesn't go out of gear easily, and in my haste I couldn't find the throttle knob to shut it off either, so after a few hundred bees exited I did too, leaving the mower hooked up, wheels spinning, blades were at least stopped, but the bees sure weren't.

 

A quick dash to the shed to grab a beesuit, and it was all over with no stings - just a lot of very angry bees.

 

I knew there was a reason I usually go past in the other direction - nothing to catch the pallet if I get too close!

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Well, I moved my bees and it was a disaster. I won't go into detail on every mishap, I have 3 hives and a nuc, and the nuc was the only smooth move.

I needed to place the hives in a well prepared spot about 15 mtrs up a slope. My first hive, my pride and joy whom I had brought back from the edge of destruction, slipped off the hand trolly and rolled all the way down the slope. I'd strapped it well and the propolis held it together most of the way down, but the 3/4 box on top twisted although it remained joined to the brood box. 11 0'clock at night a couple of thousand bees helping me, I managed to square the boxes and haul them up the slope and onto their concrete base.

Went to check on them this morning at around 11am, and they are really aggressive. I was stung twice last night, and again this morning and I only came within about 8- 10 mtrs of the hive. My nuc is being robbed, but I closed the entrance down to 1 or 2 bee spaces so keeping my fingers crossed.

My real question is, will my hive remain aggressive ? Normally very calm bees. Normally quite a calm bee keeper.

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Almost a YEAR !!!!!

 

*LOL* Ben, I'm sure they settled down much faster than that and they are STILL fine a year later.

 

:) Give them a week before you touch them again and they'll forgive you. Remember, even the ones that were really titchy are only going to live a few weeks anyway.. six weeks and you've got a whole new hive.

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Almost a YEAR !!!!!
Ha ha. I left them alone for a week (too embarrassed to look, for one thing) and they were pretty good when I went back. What I meant to say was mine suffered no long-term harm and are well settled now, almost a year later.

I think the whole deal was more traumatic for me than the hive.

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Hmm. There are a few yarns for this category. Commercial beekeepers just have bigger yarns (disasters) when they do occur. Wax storage sheds, Honey extracting, trucks and hives in transit, trucks in paddocks, hives and floods, hives and bulls, swarms on silver platters, hives on trailers and more, trucks with full loads of honey and suddenly no brakes on a steep back road approaching a hydro dam. The list is almost endless. These yarns happen overseas as well, so I tell you one I was told by a friend who'd worked in the backblocks of Oz. Scene some Aussie town in NSW with a truck load of hives stacked three high, all two boxes high and each row strapped down to the deck and safe as houses. All headed north towards somewhere. It was a town with angle parking in the middle of the street and parking down each side too. Not a big town. One you should've been able to drive through in the bink of an eyelid.

A parked car backed out in front of the truck and he had to brake fiercely and sounded the horn. The car pulled smartly back into it's parking place so it was foot off the brake and keep going smartly with bit of a jolt. A few miles

out of town a ute was seen in the rear vision mirror to be racing along behind trailing a huge tail of dust. Thought to himself, "that guys moving damned fast". A minute later he was braking again as the ute pulled across in front after waving him down.

"What's the matter mate?".

"Gidday, are you the truck that braked back in town?"

"Yeah, what about it? "

Flippin heck mate, don't you realised you left a pile of bees and boxes in the middle of the main street?

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On checking the whole back row of of a dozen hives was missing. By the time he got back to town the place was closed down. The mangle of broken hives and sticky honey and dead and flying bees was not pleasant to behold, as it was slowly sinking into the melted tar of the main street. Of course while trying to rebuild some resemblance of order and restack the broken hives on the back of the truck, the hives still on the truck started robbing the honey and broken frames of the whole pile. After much stinging and jeering from townsfolk hiding inside shop doorways the truck was finally reloaded and off they went. They didn't bother to request a hose to wash away the honey hoping the towns firemen who'd been watching from a safe distance, would do that. They never used the route through that town again.

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  • 5 weeks later...
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Omg! If these didnt sound so painful it would be kinda funny... Sorry for reviving an old thread but its a goodie? Need to try to remember all the things not to do, and hope like hell it aint too bed when it happens to me!

yes would be great to hear a few more, i have none to add yet, touch wood

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got tons of stories but most are from PPBKers and not particularly funny.

 

one time i was doing rounds checking hives feed. no gear on just poping the lid put a bit of sugar in. easy as.

last hive, pop the lid and whammo in the head. they where nasty nasty. literally dived into the cab of the ute. threw hat on and then tried to get overalls etc on in the very small confines of the ute.

managed to get geared up then out and did the work on the hive. gloves black with stings.

 

years ago we used to hire a trailer for shifting hives. (discount rates for overnight).

but like most hire trailers the brakes don't work and someone had used the trailer end as a ramp and buckled the hell out of it. so it only locked on on one side. so going down the road that one clip decided to unclip let the back fold down and hit the road. which then pulled it out of the hinges so it bounced off the road into the air, still retained by the chain. but before we could come to a sudden hold the chain broke and the panel went flying.

thankfully no traffic behind otherwise it would have been 4ft bit of steel through the windscreen.

 

another time we got a flat on the trailer, ended up grading the land owners driveway with the axle !

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