Some days the beekeeping things that go wrong have nothing to do with bees.
This week I have been working on a removal of three hives in a single house. Because of the way the house is constructed, these bees are better trapped out than cut out. Trap-outs take longer, and require a little more attention than a single effort, but can be effective as well.
Trapping out uses a one-way cone placed at the entrance, forcing workers out without allowing re-entrance (think fish or crab traps). Bees will cluster at the entrance trying to get back home, but they can’t. If provided a swarm box, they will congregate in the box, depositing pollen and nectar in the box. Most of the honey in the walls of the home will be consumed by brood and new workers as they emerge, until the queen stops laying (which can take a while). The box can be re-queened and relocated to a new bee yard.
Step one of the process of a trap out is to seal ALL of the entrances except for one. I use an expanding foam sealer to seal the entrance. It is understood from the outset, though, that I always have to come back, because bees will exploit any small hole, and there is always some other spot they can use to get in and out.
So this morning, I came back to fill the holes. I used the same can of expanding foam sealer, because it seems wasteful to do otherwise. But have any of you ever done that? Tried to use the rest of a can?
It is ALWAYS a mess. The second time leaves me with crud all over my hands. Every. Single. Time.
Accepting the inevitable, I spray foam the crevices and fill the holes and head over to the other entrance, and while I am headed that way, a bee lands on the back of my head and buzzes gently in my hair.
Now, friends, those of you who follow my exploits with any regularity know that it is at this point in my story that calamity hits, and hits with a vengeance.
My reaction is instinct.
I reach for the bee to help her out of my hair.
That’s right. The hand that is hopelessly befouled with the still-expanding foam goes straight into my hair, in all of its sticky, gummy, adhesive glory.
In my horror at what I have done, I reach to pull out the now-matted clump of foam… accomplishing nothing but the addition of more foam to the mix.
Anybody know what acetone does to hair? Asking for a friend.