The Wailing Wailers recorded a cover version of “I Made a Mistake,” by The Impressions, sometime in the ’60s, and if it wasn’t for copyright laws, it would be the soundtrack to the following video:
Something I’ve learned from beekeeping over the years is that’s okay to make mistakes, even big ones. It might be better than living in a fantasy world. If we’re not open to making mistakes, we never really learn or get good at anything.
Funny, I just had the exact same experience last weekend. Pulled all my honey late in the afternoon and accidently left my wheelbarrow of misc frames and supers in from of the garage door. Next AM while going into the garage to get something out of the freezer, I notice a serious humming coming from outside the roll up door. My wife didn’t see the humor in it. The bees were fine.
We had a super dry summer in NS. I had to move all my nucs off-site, if I tried to feed them any syrup, they’d get the stuffing relentlessly knocked out of them. I lost two to robbing, happened in the blink of an eye and like you eluded to, it’s sometimes difficult to pick out from just happy, busy bees. Very frustrating experience after you’ve put so much time and effort into making nucs. Buggers.
I know. It’s a side of beekeeping that nobody really talks about. When the bees are hungry for nectar because of dry weather or whatever, they become different creatures. Like flicking on a switch, they become crazed little insects and don’t stop until all the honey is gone. If I didn’t close up the entrance to the hive that was really active, I kinda get the feeling they might got robbed out. Not shown in the video is a shot from inside my garage where I had some medium frames of honey ready for extracting. I left the door open for the few minutes and the garage was buzzing with bees everywhere. It happened really fast. I covered the honey, but there’s really no way to get the bees out because they fly towards the windows, and my garage windows don’t open. So it goes. Times like this I feel like a doofus. But it’s how we learn.
It was really the first time it happened to me as in past years all my hives were about the same size and it was a bit of a Mexican standoff I guess. Doing any kind of hive manipulations or feeding in a dearth is a really bad idea. That’s what set off the robbing in my nucs. Up till that point they’d been just fine located right next to three big hives. Live and learn. Next year I have a second bee yard scoped out about 5km down the road that I’ll locate my nucs in.
I had the same problem too storing bee gear in the garage. I took the man door for off to repaint it and not until swarms of bees showed up the next morning did I realize my mistake. A tarp duct taped to in the opening was the only way to stem the tide. A lot of bees got trapped in the garage and wouldn’t leave. Yep, learning experience.