Beware

Short story

I’ve not been asleep long when the ‘phone rings pulling me from a deep slumber with its jarring ringtone. Head heavy with sleep I fumble on the bedside table for my mobile, where is it? Daylight spills into the room as I pull back the curtains. Eyes heavy with sleep I look at my watch, 11pm. Who’s phoning me at this time? I grab my mobile before it clicks into answer-phone.

“What?” My is mind still groggy with wine.

“It’s Jim.” His voice is panic-stricken, “they’re all over the bedroom.”

Jim? The farmer? Over the ‘phone I hear loud buzzing, a ‘thwack’ followed by a loud shout. “Tommy. Don’t go in there; stop.  Jen, you’ve got to do something, sort this out.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Your bees. Our bedroom’s full of.” His voice shouts loud. “Close that door.” Then back to me. “He can’t go to bed. His bedroom’s full.”

Shaking my head in disbelief, my two hives are over a mile from his house. I’d trudged through a hay crop to put them into the Rape field just 4 days ago. Two full brood boxes with laying queens, brood over 7 frames, two of honey, enough space for the queen to lay; supers of drawn frames over the queen excluders so workers could start on the rape. Swarm? Couldn’t be. I’d checked thoroughly for queen cells. Had I missed one? Workers have a habit of hiding them. Raining for the last three days today has been the first day of sunshine. Yes. A swarm. My mind is racing.  Must get them out of that bedroom quickly before the queen starts laying gain. ‘Phone on shoulder I quickly dress.

“Jim. I’m coming over. Keep Tommy out of his room. Is there a vent in his bedroom?” Jim’s house is an old farmhouse, built of Yorkshire Stone.

“Yes. In the en-suite.”

“You’ve a high wall outside?” I know he has. “I’ll be with you in 10 minutes.”

Playing for time. I’m thinking fast. I need a lure. The bees will be hungry. Racing into my yard I find a nucleus hive, collect 3 frames full of honey and an extracted frame from the honey room. Dressing quickly into my bee-suit flinging on my veil before dashing to a hive in the field behind my house, I shake bees from a frame of brood with some empty cells before putting it into the nucleus. Good, a place for the queen to lay eggs. I have to work quickly. Must remember the nucleus hive’s roof.

All lights are on when I arrive, swerving into Jim’s yard. He’s at the door looking up. Halfway up the wall I see bees buzzing around a vent. Quickly I place the nucleus on top of the wall wedging the roof open to enable scout bees easy access, with its aroma of honey, to attract hungry bees, and, hopefully, find this new home.

At this moment there’s a scream from indoors, followed by, “Jim. Quick. Tommy’s been stung.”

“Oh no. He’s allergic to bees.”

I search my pockets for my epi-pen. It’s not there.

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