Remember, my caged queen was likely murdered, so I was advised to look in the hive again and see if I could see eggs in any cells. I was told that if I saw one egg in the center of each cell, then I did indeed have a queen, all was well.
So I dash home from school, hoping to find a moment when the wind died down enough to open the hive and before the rain started.
Out of school clothes, into white shirt, grey pants, gloves and hat.
Pack the smoker, light it. Get on Handy Man's stronger glasses and the magnifying glass.
Smoke the bees, lift off the top, remove a bar covered in "festooning" bees and there is a comb a bit bigger than my hand.
Ever so carefully, I turn, as instructed, with the sun at my bag and stare into those wee cells. Sure enough, there are those tiniest eggs, one per cell. Yes, yes, yes! See, if there were multiple eggs in the cell it would indicate no queen and worker bees trying to do the queens job, only they don't really know how. Worker bees aren't mated and you would only get drones, as in boys, who do nothing but mate with queens, hence no more workers and in a few weeks, no more hive.
Okay, deep breath.
Turn back to the hive ever so carefully to lower the comb into the hive and.....................
it falls, oh yes it does. That beautiful comb full of eggs and pollen, making worker bee babies falls.
Okay, stay calm, think, think, think.
The book, my favorite one, said if the combs are on the wrong way to cut them off and smoosh them back on the bar the right way. So, first I try to get the bees, who as you might guess are mightily agitated now, and all over me, back in the hive. Then I smoosh, pick it up, it falls off. So, I summon all my courage and take off my gloves, thinking perhaps warm hands might work more effectively. No cigar. Then Handy Man heats up the bar, I press it on, lift it up, and it falls off again. Grrrrrrr, why do they tell you that will work when it absolutely does not work! Now I no longer have a favorite bee book. Liars all.
So I leave it on the hive, run in and flip through several how-tos and videos and find one where they put hair clips on the top and wire them in. Really? Okay, I'm out of ideas so I scrounge up two hair clips. Sorry bees they don't match. Suit up- again. Try one more time.
The wax was just too soft and pulled right out.
I was afraid if I put it on the floor of the hive it would just make a big mess it would really goof up the "proper" comb placement. So with my big hurt feelings, I reluctantly moved it 15 or so feet from the hive, where the bees will clean it out and reuse what they can.
Back into my school clothes.
I went to the bee meeting with a bad attitude that just got worse. There is only one person with any experience with a Top Bar hive and he was no help at all. He seemed a little incredulous that I had a comb that big in only three days. Ha, no really I've been home all weekend crafting it myself-perhaps that why it wouldn't stick. Then he was kind enough to tell me that misled worker bees can indeed lay only one egg in a cell, and I may not have queen after all. So, I saved the very bad cuss words I was thinking until I got in the car.
I don't care what that former favorite book says, I'm not lifting another one of those top bars. If there's a queen, yee haw and if there isn't, this has been a very interesting learning experience. Since I don't drink, smoke or go to the boat, I'll chalk it up as an entertainment expense.
I'm not entertained by dropping such a fine piece of workmanship and won't be trying that again.
Actually, it may be okay and the other hive appears to be fine, but what do I know, as I can't seem to find any common understandings anywhere.
Whenever I got over my severe mad/frustrated/hurt feelings, I can say I did learn some things at the meeting, so all was not lost.