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I feel like such a failure :-(

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kazmcc 

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Well, the saga of the wasps is still ongoing. I am not happy with that left side ( those who saw my last post will understand, the blocks we balanced on the landing board didn't block entirely on the left ) so the plan was to fill with a bit of sponge, short term, until The Boss came to narrow down properly.

Nobody is available to come with me, either away or too busy, so I had to go alone.....which is breaking one of my rules for tending the bees. I made sure my eldest son knew what to do if anything went wrong, and brought a mobile phone, anti histamines etc. Anyway, they were much noisier than usual and much more frantic.....they are usually so calm and don't blow up when you approach. I know why they are behaving like this, and it isn't their usual temperament, they are being attacked and they don't know that I'm not just a big white wasp. I cut up the sponge, but as I went to remove the ply wood blocks, I just froze :( I just couldn't do it. I stood there and tried to get used to them being so active, and get used to the noise, then tried again, but the front of the hive is so busy, and the bees were everywhere, that after a few attempts, I ended up just having to walk away. I feel so bad. I sent my mentor an email, but he's away so we'll just have to wait until Tuesday. I asked him if I could try getting someone else down, but he asked me not to and to stick with our little group.

I'm feeling like such a failure now. Wasps everywhere, carrying off my dead girls. They are still bringing back the pollen, and no wasps got into the hive that I saw...they weren't even attempting, well, weren't for the hour I was there trying to build up courage. They are just wrestling on the ground just outside the hive and taking the dead girls. I know I've not had much experience, and I am a bit angry that I am left in this position. Maybe I am over reacting? I don't know. Am I expecting too much? All I know is I feel so bad for not being able to close that side. I know I tried, I am not being lazy and I am not being girly. I just couldn't do it :( Am I cut out for being a bee keeper?
 

admin 

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I still walk away from a hive some days,loads of us do.

Its not easy at first on your own,when in a group you have to save face but when on your own the adrenaline kicks in,once you think about it you have no chance and its time to go home.

Have a couple of trips to the hive on your own were you just lift the lid for a minute and see the bees working around the crown board.

Next time lift the lid and crownboard and just see the bees on the top of the frames.

Next time pull a single frame,inspect and close up.

Its bl**dy well intimidating at this time of year with the bees protecting any stores they have and fighting off wasp attacks.

I think you have done really well this far !!

You have the kids to sort out,it sounds like you are a single parent family and you manage to get your kids away from the tv xbox ect to go with you to th bees.

Are you cut out to be a beekeeper?,well you have more b*lls than some of our male members,so yes I think you are more than able.
 

kazmcc 

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Yeah, I suppose. I am a single parent, I just give the lads a ball and leave them in the school grounds. I go through the gate in the grounds and there is the plot with the hive on it. I just don't understand, as at inspections I've been so chilled out, lifting frames packed with bees, inspecting, brushing them out of the way to close. Even in the bad weather, when one was pinging my veil, I just calmly walked off and she went away. I then returned to the group and carried on. This was the first time around them though, other than watching, and they are a bit fired up. Shouldn't be hard on myself I suppose. I just take looking after something seriously, and feel that I should have been able to block this corner no matter what.

Thanks though Admin. It's good to know that experienced beeks sometimes have to withdraw when the girls are moody.
 
T

Tom Bick 

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You did the right thing Kaz its the right thing to just walk away if you are not happy its the right thing to do. Your concern for the bees is wonderful to follow and the progress you have achieved to date is great to say the least.
Just think only a few weeks ago you knew virtually nothing and now you can perhaps hold your own with a conversation regarding beekeeping.
The bees and wasps have been fighting long befor we came along and although it looks bad your bees will have to much attitude for the wasps and see them off in time.
 

kazmcc 

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Thanks Tom. I thought they had given up as once we put the blocks in there weren't as many wasps the next day....I left them a few days then went back to do this. I suppose it's a good sign that the wasps don't attempt entry now. They are still battling on the ground though. It's horrible to watch a bee coming home with her white balsam strip, and watching a wasp pounce on her and curl around, knowing she's gone. God I hate wasps. Had a few buzz me and the kids on our way home too ( far away from the hive ) I turned the air blue! The kids faces were a picture. Sorry lads, mum meant gosh those blasted wasps are a pain in the neck lol ;)
 

barratt_sab 

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I once read a job description that included the phrase:

"if you are not worried about whether or not you will be able to do this job, then it's not the job for you..."

I have walked away from our hives.
I have, on occasion, run away from our hives.
The only one of us who's never been nervous is our dog, and that's just because he's daft.

If you want to block up a gap relatively quickly, try using a handful of long dried grass - fold it in half and wind it a bit to make a plug. The rest of the grass gives you something to hold that is a little further from the hive.

Try going in the early evening, when there'll be fewer bees flying.

The bees can remove the grass if they want to, so it is only a temporary measure.

I admit that finding "dried grass" might be a bit tricky at present!
 

Moggs 

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Sorry to hear of your dilemma. I remember that in your earlier posts, you said that you were somewhat scared of bees but as 'push comes to shove', have you now experienced the first real 'test' of your resolve? I wouldn't worry unduly. I remember being very apprehensive at putting a (thickly) gloved and shaking hand into the seething box of bees but with many inspections down the line, I find that my desire to get the job done puts such apprehension to the back of my mind. Mind you, I occasionally get a sharp reminder that nitriles may not be suitable for that particular occasion. But there you are, a sting or two now serve only as a 'gentle' reminder to be more graceful and cautious! In fact, I'm glad that I was stung early in my beekeeping endeavours - it really wasn't so bad, after all and now, they don't worry me unduly. I have learned (maybe the hard way) that my bees will tolerate me to a much better degree if every movement that I make is measured and precise. Rushing around in a flap invariably results in a little nip or three!

I have encountered some very angry bees within this first year (Q- and my amateur fumblings have occasionally wound them up)! But hey, what's a bee suit for? I reckon that you will gradually get more relaxed as you venture further. I did.

Not a failure by any means, novice maybe, failure no way!

As for the bees - are you sure the wasps are causing so much aggro? Could it be an opportunist response to something else? Are they queenright? Are the wasps taking advantage of an otherwise weakened and stressed colony (diseased even)?

Whatever you find, I hope it goes well for you.
 

Beezy 

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Hi Kaz,

No you shouldn't feel bad at all, you've done a brilliant job so far and it's obvious that you care and are ultra keen to learn. I'm a new beekeeper too, and there was one occasion where the same thing happened to me: the bees were very fractious and I just abandoned the inspection as I was on my own and felt too anxious.

I reckon it's no point continuing if you feel worried as the bees probably pick up on the fact that you're jittery; just try again another day when you feel more confident.
 

kazmcc 

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At the last inspection, nearly two weeks ago, they were doing well, queen was laying, nice grubs, LOADS of capped brood, nice pattern, laying of stores, bit of capped stores. Building comb up on frames well and steadily. That was then. Even now they are under attack so to speak, they are still not attacking me, they are just a lot more active. There is usually one, two at the most fanning after inspection, just as we are closing. Makes me laugh because the others take no notice of their gossiping, but now the hive front has lots of them fanning and they are flying about the hive area. Usually they just fly straight in and straight out of the entrance, even when inspected there is nowhere near as many bees in the air....even when you shake them off a frame. These bees are just so gentle, we have never had to smoke them. I still don't know how to use a smoker! So I was thinking last night, maybe I'll ask for that lesson next week. If I knew how to smoke them, I might have been able to get the job done. Seems a bit mean though if it's not necessary, just because my fear has crept back a bit.

Do you know, I didn't even think about being stung! It didn't occur to me, it was just the amount of bees and noise......I think if my mentor would have been there I would have dealt with it fine. This is only my 6th experience near a hive, so I am a complete novice. I just love my bees. Why are they fighting on the floor? If the wasps have realised the entrance is not accessable, why are the persisting? Is this usual?
 

nelletap 

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Haven't read the rest of the thread yet but I identify with you and just want to add some support as well as a suggestion.
I got very afraid of this happening to mine when they first arrived about 5 weeks ago and I saw some wasps. I read about a making a wasp trap. I wasn't, in the end, sure I needed it as I did not have many wasps. I'll share it for what it is worth. Use an old pop bottle. Cut off the top just below where the sides are straight. Put some jam and water with a piece of banana skin in the bottom section. Invert the top section you removed into bottom section. Fix in place - perhaps staples or strong tape or both? The wasps will be attracted but not the bees (so it said!) They'll fly in and then they want to come up to escape but they will be confused because the exit (the circular part where the cap is usually) is not the highest point as they will assume. It must be worth a try and if it can be placed beneath the hive it won't trap all the rain we are having! The best of luck. Are you in a local association? You can always search on 'BKA newsletter wasp' as this would be a good place to get advice articles. Or perhaps look for some blogs from beekeepers mentioning wasps? I'm going to see if Ted Hooper's book has any tips for you.
 

kazmcc 

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Thanks Nelletap. I made 4 different types of wasp trap according to the different recipes on here. One caught a bee....I've taken that one away. The others caught nothing, they were topped up with rain. I didn't know if you should put it so close to the hive, and when I asked, I had to leave before I got any replies. The one that did work was the sticky mouse trap with jam in the middle. 6 wasp bodies on it, but it had blown into a corner and there are bees fighting on the floor so didn't want to put it under the hive. So now I know you can put them under the hive ( the trap bottle types ) I will do that.

I am reading Hoopers now, but not got that far lol. You sound like me, we got ours about 5 weeks ago, but we are doing it a bit differently. Have a look on my blog, it will explain. Thanks for the support, you are all making me feel so much better :)
 

kazmcc 

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Oh, and the forum etiquette thread was the first post I read when coming on for a shoulder to cry on.....just the medicine I needed, thanks brosville :D

:) juststarting, thanks
 

nelletap 

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I have started a blog, too - see here**************[Admin edit]one of the pages is about a robber wasp incident a couple of weeks ago - I thought a blog was better than boring my facebook friends. Where is your blog - is it a blog on this site? I'll have a look.
Keep positive. It is so important to educate the children about the role of bees and you are doing that, too.
Tricia
 

Cazza 

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If the wasps have realised the entrance is not accessable, why are the persisting? Is this usual?
Wasps are persistent little beasticles and never give up IMO.

Learning to use a smoker would be a very useful tool to have up your sleeve too.

Keep persisiting with this .. you can do it... to be very trite - there is nothing to fear but fear itself.. a little mantra I repeat when I am scared sh.....ss.
Cazza
 

jezd 

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I still walk away from a hive some days,loads of us do.
Me too, sometimes it aint worth it - I walked away from 1 hive just last night in a batch of 10 I checked over.
 

biggles 

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Come on Kazz if I can do it, you can. I closed mine up for two days with feed, then put strawberry jam and water in jam jars everywhere, with a small hole in the top (about ten). I made the entrance 15mm and opened it two days later. They are now fighting the wasps I don't think the wasps will ever give up but at least the bees a fit to fight back.

This is my first year and I know how you feel about the bees but I have now been stung a few times and each time feel sorry for the bee more than "ow that hurts". The noise is intimidating but can't hurt you.

Go for it

Best of luck
Pete
 

kazmcc 

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Hi nelletap, I've written a couple, they are here kaz's blogs:) off to read yours now.

It's good to know that what I did was sensible. I should trust my judgement, but it's just because it needs doing, sooner the better and I feel they rely on me ( when really they don't...they are bees, what do they need me for lol )
 

kazmcc 

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Thanks Pete, I might have another shot. Maybe at a different time of day, see if their mood is better. I need someone with me, I can do it when I'm not alone, even if that person is as inexperienced as me. Just feel very vunerable alone. I'm sure with more hive experience that will change. If an experienced beek came, they probably wonder why I'm so freaked by the pussycats, but it is quite unnerving, especially when you don't know if that's a wasp buzzing near you or a bee. I can handle bees......wasps......NEVER :( lol
 

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