My Shame

I am a bee brutalizer.

Not on purpose. I went into one of the hives today to see if it needed another box. Right now each hive has three boxes. I removed the top box with little fanfare. In a Warre hive the bees will sometimes connect comb to the top-bars of the box below. I knew from the last inspection that this was probable so I ran a piece of wire between the two boxes before I pulled them apart. It worked but was exceeedingly difficult to get started.

The first box was completely full of comb, mostly honey and what looked like a little brood right at the bottom. I set it aside.

Thinking about the difficulty of starting the wire on the first box I used my hive tool to lift the corners of the second box. When I did, the box moved freely.

“Oh good,” I thought to myself, “I can just lift this one.”

I was so wrong!

I lifted the box and three of the top-bars of the bottom box came with it. I set the box back down and picked up my wire. It was so difficult to start and move. I tugged and sawed and tugged – as gently as I could of course, I’m not a barbarian – and finally the wire began to move.

I have to admit that I was sweating as the I slid the wire out of the back of the box.

Had I known what I would see when I lifted the second box away I would’ve been crying as well. Three bars worth of comb lay collapsed on the bottom board. The three top-bars that the comb once hung on lay underneath, just the ends visible. I honestly don’t know if the comb broke off when I set the box back down or if – and this is what I suspect and fear happened – the bars were cocked up and I cut the comb off with the wire.

Aaaggghhh! It hurts even to type that.

I had no idea what to do. I managed to get the bars back onto the box where they belong and I left the comb on the floor. I’m hoping that the bees will somehow fix my mistake.

And eventually forgive me.

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3 thoughts on “My Shame

  1. Yikes. I’m muddling my way through the first year myself. Bless you and your bees. I think mentors with bee keeping are like gold. Wish I could offer you assistance.

  2. I’m headed out to a similar task tomorrow. Granted, with a Langstroth, it’s not as easy to drop the comb like that, but we’ll be careful with the wire.

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