One of Beeman's hives is mean. As in chase you down for no reason and bite you mean. It's the swarm from the orchard next door, and it contains a great queen and several thousand of her moody, ill-tempered daughters. They like to sting, and their venom is HOT. I wear gloves when I'm anywhere near this hive, and they still sting me. I am a magnet for stings, and this hive is attracted to me. But they put up a good fight and I love them for that.
The hive was full of queen cups and swarm cells. Not only are they moody but they're restless, too.
Drone juice. I have been known to lick honey off a hive tool (so?), but this time I took a pass. By the way, if you are in south Corvallis and find a hive tool like this, please call me, I have a nice reward for you. I lost it somewhere between Beeman's house and mine, and I feel awkward and clumsy in my hives without it. It's super sharp and has a nice hook.
The sad aftermath of a sting. You can see the barb in the glove, and the internal organs of the bee that were crudely ripped from her body when she tried to fly away.
The hot venom gift that keeps on giving. Four or five on the hand, and that doesn't count all the times they got into my bee suit. They punished me well.
Beeman's hives weren't all about pain that day. There was an abundance of beauty, too. Look at the perfection on this frame! Tight brood and classic banding of pollen and honey.
And look at this pattern of new white comb with perfectly placed eggs. I'm in love!
These bees are eating honey like nobody is watching. Tongues out, climbing all over each other. This is how I eat honey, too.
What could be better? The hot venom in my hand feels like an adrenaline rush and I am presented with this incredible sweetness. You think I'm crazy, but trust me. The rapid, unexpected swings between pain and pleasure when you're working in hives is the real prize of beekeeping. Beeman and I scraped up every bit of this and ate it later, wax and all. A hedonistic feast.