AAA Rated

by Rick van Vliet on May 16, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night…But I’m getting ahead of myself.

It was Tuesday evening around 4 PM, and I  picked up two 3# packages of bees (think large shoebox with wood and screen sides) in Baldwin, WI. Hot and humid, but overcast, it was a pretty nice afternoon. Dale’s truck had about 400 packages that he had brought up from Georgia. (a quick math in my head…6000 bees per pound, 3 pounds of honeybees per package, 400 packages…about three-quarters of a million bees hangin’ out waiting to go home with someone.)

I got them home just fine in the trunk, and only a few “hangers-on” hitched a ride and found their way into the passenger compartment of the car. No biggie.

I knew I needed to wait til closer to sunset to install the bees into the hive, so I waited til about 730 to head down to the beeyard in NewMarket.

About 3 miles from the destination, raindrops started splattering on the windshield and heavy clouds were moving in. I could have checked the weather report and waited until the next day. “Could have”.  A little rain never hurt anyone!

So I got suited up in the beesuit (not the one with the SuperBee emblem), put the car keys into the beesuit pocket so they’d be easy to reach — now, remember this crucial step — and organized my tasks. Open the lids, remove a few frames, open the package, pull the can of feeding syrup, get the queen cage out and check the queen bees. Smack the package to get all the bees off the screened sides, and the pour 15000 humming bees into each hive. Get the covers back on each hive, leave the packages outside the hive so whoever was still in the package would find her way into the hive boxes and start packing up.

The rain had picked up some, and I heard cracks, as little hailstones fell through the trees above my head. So I wanted to get moving. I threw my tool bag into the trunk, and sat on the edge of the trunk and pulled off the beesuit, and tossed it in the trunk. As I looked around to make sure I hadn’t left anything lying around, I slammed the lid of the trunk. The next sound I heard changed the rest of the evening.

When the lid came down, it closed with a bright “BEEP!” It’s the sound that Cindy and I listen for to make sure the car is locked. Yep. Locked. Four doors and the trunk. I looked around in disbelief that I had waited til Tuesday at rainy sunset to have my senior moment for the day. I had locked the keys and my phone and wallet and all…inside the car. Jeez.

Well, the rain was moving in fast, so I decided that if I was going to get anywhere, I was going to have to get some help. So, off I trudged across the chicken pasture, about half-a-mile to the farmhouse, where I was hoping someone might meet me at the front door. Mrs Zweber was in (between chores), and let me use the house phone to phone the AAA. By the time I had given all my car’s location information (300 yards south of the mailbox, and 100 yards off the road in a field), and the AAA girl innocently asked what I was doing in the field (I told her I was setting up some beehives)…I’m sure she was totally confused!

The tow-truck arrived at about 9:15PM, picked me up at the farmhouse, and he got the car unlocked and open in less than 4 minutes. (I will be keeping two sets of keys with me next time!) The driver wasn’t so freaked out, but he did tell me that AAA-girl had no idea what a beehive looked like, so she had conjured all kinds of buzzy images in her mind 🙂

What had started out as a quick install, should have taken about 20 minutes…turned out to be a two-and-a-half hour adventure. But I do have to call it a “AAA Rated” adventure.

 

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