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shadows on the wall June 4, 2013

Posted by dawnshifter in Uncategorized.
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The fourth of a run of dry days, after a miserable long winter and 15 months of the wrong weather.

7 am and absolutely clear sky.  Suns throws crisp plant shadows on the garage wall – a real all’s well symbol for me.  Tinker’s gone out already and he has any number of outdoor nests set up – in the rhubarb, under the zebra grass, by the pond.  He’ll move round through the day, so that he has the right combination of temperature, shade and invisibility.

The birds still bring their families to feed – except when he’s on the move and not averse to practising a stalk-and-spring, but its only half-hearted these days, so it’s good to see him enjoying the warmth to his bones.

We’re into the swarm season now and the bees – a month and a half behind earlier – are building up and expanding.  Collected a swarm from outside The Abbey pub, Newdegate Street, Nuneaton on Sunday.  It had taken a liking to a litterbin.  Made it a comfortable height to collect from, but how sad that the nearest thing to a hollow tree they could find was a piece of street furniture.

Shame I collect so many of the swarms single-handedly, I don’t get much of a photo opportunity when I’m wielding the smoker and fending off the public.

Here’s a fact I came across recently:  It’ll usually take at least 2,000 bee stings to kill a human bean.  A swarm, although not usually in an aggressive mood will be about 20,000 easy.  Thing is, once the scent of venom is in the air, other bees get angry and come to investigate.

Got stung at the apiary a few days ago myself.  Not unusual, given that I’m stirring them up regularly, but this one was not only inside the suit, it was inside the hood.  First realised there was a bee flying a little closer to my face than I would like.  You’ve seen those cartoons of a cat with a fishbowl upside down on its head and a goldfish swimming around in front of its nose?  Only I wasn’t laughing.  I’m afraid the only answer when a bee is this up close and personal, is to get her before she gets you.  Which I did – only to realise there was at least another sister in there too and that one had her revenge.

So I know there’s a way into my hood, which now smells of venom.  I kept calm, but I didn’t carry on.  Retreated a little way and into the shade, found that the tab covering the bit where three zips meet hadn’t quite Velcroed shut and it doesn’t take much of a gap.

Still, all’s well that ends well – I bought a beesuit for “leisure beekeepers” and although very reasonably priced, has other design complications, so won’t be getting my next suit there.  By the morning, the sting on my neck was only noticeable if you knew it was there.  My mistake, not theirs.  The girls are busy on the oilseed rape.  So much nectar, so little time …

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