Well thank you for kind words Cindy!
Don't really know where to start? That hospital thing was only an overnight affair. Was on the job, in the mine, the same day. The worst thing was, my sitting in the emergency ward and taking verbal abuse from everybody and their brother. They all wanted to know why didn't I seek medical attention, after I felt a lump under my arm-pit. ( Apparently one gets that, when blood poisoned?)
I did not have that!?
Funniest thing was, that the cops were searching the books for - how to charge me for endangering public safety, on the way to the hospital. I wiggled out of that one...
About wearing personal protection? This of course is a thing that every keeper should thoroughly examine. Especially in Europe, I find every year more cases, where keepers suddenly go into a shock. One never knows? Some medical professionals are of opinion that a body has a certain limit for venom, and then. . . .
Some are worried about medications and acids and stuff being put in hives? That too can find its way back and bite us in the arse!
On one other occasion I got stung and received a good dose of poisoning when I was gathering dead bees for a test, cause of aerial spraying under the hydro-lines !
Cindi, I did not hive AHB intentionally. As I have stated many times before, AHB were widely distributed to US beekeepers since the WWII, (drone sperm and queens) when a large number of GI-s took up beekeeping a means to put bread on the table. (this has been lately discussed regarding disappearing bees on eastern seaboard)
So, it was in the early eighties, that I had purchased two packages from my mentor. ( He is the only one in our parts who operates a bee-supply store)
So I hived one with no problem. The second one I hived in a hive which did not survive the previous winter. Of course I cleaned the dead bees and threw them on a garden compost.
I can still see this in my mind's eye. I shook the package in the hive, installed the queen cage, between the frames and was done. While wife is watching, (she doesn't like bees) from the bedroom window, she is frantically pointing at me, behind the safety of the glass. I turned around and the area around the hive and the hive itself was black with crawling bees! For a while I just stood there with my mouth agape. I did not know what to do?
After a while I got myself a piece of cardboard and a bee brush and I started to sweep the bees together - looking for a second queen. I was certain that the package contained another queen. As fast as I could put the bees in the box - they would just pour out from the bottom entrance. I gave them food on the top of the frames, I sprayed them with sugar water - but nothing would settle them down. I even gave up and was resolved, that they can swarm and take off if they wanted to!
After a while they got particularly nasty and they started to visibly attack and sting through the bee suit. I tried to hide in the cedar hedge, by the garden, but to no avail. By now, all the bees were in the air and had just circled about a meter above the yard.
What scared me the most was, that in about an hour the school bus was going to drop all the neighbouring kids in front of our house. That would be a total disaster - in my mind...
At the thought of all those little kids, amidst the thousands of bees, almost drove me over the edge. I panicked!
I took the water hose and tried to drown them! But that did not help much. Some got knocked down, but in a full sun, they were soon up and attacking. The veil was so thick with bees that I had trouble breathing!
I run for the house and wife, in her wisdom, locked the door. If she hadn't - who knows how this would have ended?
I was on my knees by the hive when my mentor arrived, with spare queen, a swarm catcher, the works.
He usually works with bare hands and no protection around his bees, but now, he was also decked in full gear.
I tried to explain, as calmly as I could, about the situation at hand. His first reaction was, that this was a swarm that came here, from who knows where! Wrong!
Next was his theory, that I killed the queen while hiving the package? Wrong!
For the longest time we both spend time on our knees, looking for a possible second queen? Wrong!
My mentor tried to tel my wife, behind the window, to call the fire department, to come with a foam and finish off the bees, cause by now we were both resembling the pin cushions.
I did not like this idea, so I told him that I noticed that the bees were congregating mainly over the garden. It would seem that they wanted to settle on the cedar - but for some reason wouldn't! He wanted to know if I threw there some sugar or honey? No, only the dead bees from the expired hive was my reply.
We both immediately went to the spot in the garden and after a short search, amongst the dead bees, he found the expired queen. Boy, I could hardly tell the difference. It is apparently true that queens shrink in size, when not laying?!
The man laid the dead queen on the bottom board and you people will never believe what happened next?
The bees, like on a command, all landed in front of a hive and calmly walked in - just like nothing was amiss. . . .
About ten minutes later, the school-buss dropped off the kids and I stared at them for the longest time, with misty eyes...
That hive was, for two years, a real pain in my but! I tried to re-queen, perhaps two dozen times, but they would not have it. When worked, in about a minute, they would just boil over the edges and crawl all over and sting mercilessly.
They steadily produced the biggest crop, but getting it off, was too - another matter.
The third winter, with temp around minus 30, for about a month - they didn't make it.
There you have it, Cindi. Yes this was here, in Ontario! About a mile from where I live now. And through the years, I and many others, got such hives from Alabama and Georgia. Of course, with coming of varroa, the boarder got closed for US bees and those hot bees are now a thing of the past.
But, they made for a good memories, though. . . . . .