4.25.2011

Every Little Thing Gets Grumpy During Remodeling

You don't want the bees' mobile home to remain inside the hive, just like you don't want your storage boxes lining the walls of your new home forever. Leaving the bees' temporary home in their hive  gives them the idea to start decorating, in this case with honeycomb. They'll make comb all over the place instead of on the frame. Frames are easily lifted up for honey removal. Mobile home comb - nobody'd eat that honey.

One day is all you get, bees.

As Charlie approached, he saw that the bees were hanging out on their front porch drinking sugar water. Sugar water in an upside down glass jar with holes poked in the top is their food for now. They're disoriented from moving so they don't know where to find flowers. Without sugar water, they'll starve.

Charlie lifted the top off the hive and saw that half the bees hadn't even come out of the mobile home, thinking let's just live here. The big move is over. They're in their new home, making the beds, consulting with the decorator bees, thinking about comb placement.

He picked up the mobile home, turned it upside down, and the lazy bees hung on. They didn't get the hint. He had to shake the box to get them out. What happens when you push a passive creature too far?

They stopped being passive and went straight for aggressive. First they landed on Charlie's veil, looking through as if to say, "What the heck are you doing?"


When he didn't stop shaking, they went for the veil. Straight for it, Kamikaze-style. The more shaking, the more attacking.


Once most of them got the hint, Charlie put the mobile home on the front porch of their hive so the stupid, stubborn ones would realize they were now outside instead of inside, and get moving. He put the roof back on, left them alone, and moved onto the next hive.

We refer to the second hive as the Giants not because of their size but due to the sticker on the box. From the moment they were shown their new home, they became those rowdy neighbors everybody crosses the street to avoid. When Charlie first opened their mobile home, they went nuts. Unlike the first hive, they raced to the queen's separate quarters and tried to barge in. The ones not breaking into the castle acted like they were breaking out of jail. They went everywhere.

One of them found her way into Shelly's hoodie and buried herself in her hair. Shelly is like me - we do the important job of observing and hanging back; Shelly even more than me. So this little bee had to really hunt to search out the one of us who was the least bee-excited. Once her goal was met, the bee panicked. When you're a bee and you panic, you have but one option. Shelly's forehead became first casualty. Thus the Giants' reputation was born.

The Giants hive didn't go immediately crazy when Charlie raised the roof. They were already on edge, like they had their armaments ready and waiting, but they didn't strike without provocation.

Once provoked, that is once Charlie removed their mobile home, they went straight-up Kamikazi. No hesitation. These weren't contemplative bees.

Not all the bees went full combat. In fact, both hives had about the same percentage of attack bees.

After Charlie returned their roof, unlike the first hive, the Giants didn't calm right down. They had to burn off some of that excess irritation by pacing back and forth, racing, acting like a bunch of old men pissed they couldn't make the yellow light.

When it was time to pick lettuce for lunch, the Giants were revving their engines. With the fog clearing, they had another excuse to get out and show their team spirit. Charlie's veil came in handy once again. No bees were harmed in the picking of our salad.