For the past three days, helicopters have flown low over the area, usually in the mornings. The timber company across the creek is either thinning trees or clear-cutting, so maybe they’re checking the progress. During the fly-overs today, hubby was checking hives across the road at the neighbor’s sunflower field and I was checking some of our hives — we both found out that bees don’t like helicopters.
It’s interesting to listen to the recording of my hive inspection because there is a clear change in the tone and volume of the bee buzzes after the chopper made the first pass. The bees were nervous at that point, but not too aggressive. After the second pass, the bees just boiled out of the hive and started stinging in a way that I have never experienced before. I was able to fend off some by pulling my BDUs away from my legs, but I ended up with 8 stings — a record for me. Even more unusual was that a handful of bees followed me all the way back to the RV and kept up with me driving at 12 mph on the ATV!
We wish we could find out when any future flights are likely to take place so that we could schedule hive inspections around them. We both know that if we hear a chopper coming and we’re in a hive, we’re going to end that inspection there and then and get the hive put back together.
To end on a positive note, 7 of the hives we inspected today are full of nectar. This time last year, we were in a drought and had to feed sugar water to sustain the hives. Sunflowers and sourwood trees are blooming and our bees are clearly taking advantage of all the resources they can find. We may even be able to pull some more honey before the end of summer.