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.