OF A CARNIOLAN.
After Gary Reuter from the University told me it was definitely time to remove the honey super that I eagerly waited to be filled with honey (but it wasn't), I headed out to the hive. The bees have been doing their own thing for quite a while now and so I wasn't sure what type of attitude I was going to find them in when they saw me. Afterall, it is September and the nectar flow is done. Hearing that lack of nectar makes for an angry bee made me nervous but I've since determined that is only when you are taking their honey, not when you are opening the hive.
Since Gary told me the honey super had to come off now I figured I'd remove it, prop it up next to the hive and let the bees find their way home. Funny thing happened... THEY DIDN'T GO HOME! They were happy on those frames and from what I could tell, by all the huddling together, they seemed cold. I waited and waited but they just kept huddling. Since I worry too much I figured I'd better get in there and help them find their way back into the hive. I removed all the frames and propped them up next to the hive but... that didn't work so I started banging frames one by one on the ground, watching hundreds of bees fall. Initially, they didn't seem to mind. It wasn't until the last three frames that a few of them had enough. I was being head butted left and right, driven far from the hive.
I must say... my bees have a lot of patience. I certainly would have lost my temper much sooner. One bee died when it came after me and hit the smoker (yup, it was hot). Another died when I banged one of the frames. So I counted two casualties. Even so, the loudest buzzers with the tenacity for head butting never once exposed a stinger, they just wanted to make a statement which was "WE'VE BEEN PATIENT ENOUGH NOW GET THE HELL AWAY FROM OUR HIVE BEFORE YOU REALLY PISS US OFF!"
I've realized that there is much more to learn from these little creatures then just how they make honey and beeswax. They certainly taught me a lesson in patience. They had every right to sting me, I was even prepared for it, but they weren't interested in all that hoopla. Deep down I think they know I'm a wimpy beekeeper and so they take pitty on me.
Now, the sun is shining and the temps have bumped up to a little over 60 degrees so they are out flying about. I went over to the hive in my shorts and flip flops and the had no interest in revenge... so in my world that means all is good :)
Now the trick is... getting these little girls through the winter. *sigh