Okay, so perhaps I’m getting a bit too attached to this bee thing.
Finally, after a stretch of rain and cold, I was able to treat the bees with vapourized oxalic acid last night. Good-times! Alas, a couple of bees perished on the vapourizer in the process. I genuinely felt bad about it – but was able to salvage one for examination under a dissection scope. That should be a fringe benefit.
After a little review, it was clear that the top feeder needed to be removed. It’s time to change the sugar ratio and also go for the simpler, inverted bucket feeder method. Some of the bees…nice little workers, not tough foragers, were stuck under the feeder. After some manipulation and cleaning, all but one had been removed. It was a sad moment, but the feeder was put away into the shed for storage with the knowledge that the lone bee was sure to perish.
Ten minutes later, I had to get something out of the shed and, much to my delight, there was the little bee on the floor beside the feeder! I carefully guided her on to my hand and, with the other cupped hand as a shelter, carried the lone bee back to the hive. Some cirque-du-soleil twisting of my arm to locate the bee near the entrance, she walked on the landing board and disappeared into the hive! I must say, there was a warm glow of satisfaction as she walked into the hive. 🙂