Saturday, December 15, 2012


I've circled some of the bees so you know they are really there.

A couple of months ago a found a bee in the sewing room.  I used a drinking glass and a piece of light cardboard to catch her (I read somewhere that all bees except drones are female) outside on a flower.  Soon after that I began finding bees in increasing numbers in the sewing room.  A little investigation on Graeme's and my part revealed that a hive of bees had moved into the sewing room chimney.  Graeme sealed up any possible exit hole he could find, without much success.  The bees kept appearing in the sewing room, making straight for the window where they buzzed in an annoyed fashion until I rescued the.  I spent my days checking on the bee population of the sewing room, rescuing bees and feeding sugar water to those that had worn themselves out trying to get through glass.

The sewing room used to be our lounge room until Graeme built an extension on the house to make a better one, and at the very end of this old lounge room lives a slow combustion fire set into the old fireplace.  I don't know when it was last used because the previous owners had a gas fire and we've used gas ever since we got here.  Anyway, back to the bees.  Graeme and I discussed options and my preferred option was to not kill them.  We decided that they had moved in because the area was rich in canola flowers at the time and pollen gathering required very little flying to find that pollen.  We thought that once the summer came and there were no flowers anywhere the bees would realise that this hive wasn't in the best of places and move on.  They didn't.

With all the family coming down for Christmas the sewing room is needed to be pressed into service as a spare bedroom for the grandchildren.  Graeme and I had a bee removal strategy meeting and decided to remove the chimney cap that had rusted out and let the bees in and then hose a little water into the chimney at regular intervals, thus making the location of the hive much too soggy for the bees to remain.  Graeme sealed up all a few more holes he could find and we put our devious plan into action.  The water went in the chimney and the bees came out the chimney.  Unfortunately they came out into the sewing room in droves!  We spent ages carting bees out of the room and Graeme plugged up more exit holes.  This went on for a few days until we stopped putting water into the chimney because it just wasn't working.  The bees kept visiting the sewing room regardless.  While catching one to help it outside, Graeme managed to get it caught in his hair.  I rushed to his aide and was promptly stung on my right hand middle finger.  The first sting we'd received after the rescue of countless bees over a month or more.  Two days later I was stung again on the foot. 

A few hours after the first sting I remembered something -  I'm allergic to bee stings.  The pain in my finger didn't lessen over the hours and I went to bed with an ice pack firmly placed on the aching digit.  When I woke up in the morning my hand had ballooned up and the pain was still present.  I spent the next two days rotating ice packs from the freezer and bemoaning the fact that I couldn't do any hand sewing or Christmas cake making (I couldn't stir the mixture because I couldn't hold a spoon).  Yesterday I went to the chemist and was given some antihistamine tablets and told me they'd make me drowsy.  Drowsy!?  I took one just before I lay down for my afternoon rest and ended up sleeping for four hours! I woke up to find that neither my toe or hand itched which was a good thing though.  The itch came back about an hour later, but I knew when I went to bed and took another tablet I'd get some relief.  Wonderful!

So the score at the moment is -  Bees - lots and lots.  Graeme and I - 0 plus two stings each so I think that actually puts us at -4.  We sort advice and everyone recommended pest control.  I've sadly admitted that I've run out of ideas to get the bees to move on peaceably and I definitely don't want my grandchildren stung.  Our pest controller can't come out here until the new year.

I've had to ring Rebecca to ask her to bring the camper van when they visit because we are closing off the sewing room until further notice.  I'm still hoping the queen bee decides that her present location isn't all she thought it was when she first moved in and she up stakes and seeks a better home for her family.  Until that time we are a room down here at Spring Rock.  The worst thing is it's my sewing room!  I have a feeling that I'll be sneaking in and estimating the chance of being stung and weigh that up against how much I want to sew.  I will also be wearing farm work books while I sew. 


marianne r said...

Could you perhaps lite a very smoky fire in the cooker and smoke them out of the chimnet?

Rosemary said...

Hi Marianne, I thought of that but Graeme didn't think it would work. He thought the fire would have to get too hot to make enough smoke and the heat would then kill the bees. After the water treatment it looks like the bees are gone. I haven't had a bee in the room for over a week now and I haven't seen any activity around the top of the chimney.