My neighbour George has offered me a couple of swarms, which I’ll pick up tonight.
He has two in his backyard and one on another neighbour’s bathroom roof. We wait until dark, suit up and head to the neighbour’s house. George climbs onto the roof via the bathroom window and I wait inside with a sheet to wrap the nucleus hive in, to help keep all the bees in should any get past the closure. George passes it to me and I wrap it up and head out of the house and down the street to my car, passing amused pedestrians who think I must be in fancy dress, being in Darlinghurst.
One done, two to go.
I climb a ladder and George passes me the second swarm, also in a nuc. I get off the ladder and wrap that one in a sheet… out to the car.
Two done, one to go. This is too easy.
I climb the ladder again and George passes me the third swarm. This one’s in a single eight-frame box. Just as he passes it to me, disaster! The ladder wobbles away from the house AND the hive slips, releasing a heap of bees who are crawling all over me. I start getting stung: stomach, hands, left arm; then bang bang bang – 20 or so stings in the crook of my right arm. Now that hurt. I’m wearing full protective gear but hey, if they’re angry enough it won’t help. Note to self: long-sleeved shirt under bee suit in future, even if it’s a hot night.
I get the hive into a sheet and into the car which now has lots of bees in it as well and we head off still wearing full bee gear to the hive site. I wish we were pulled over for an RBT, that would have been amusing.
I can feel my arm swelling under the suit, as yet blissfully unaware that I won’t be able to bend it for a week. Lesson learnt.