I keep two kinds of bees: one hive of Italian bees, and one hive of Carniolan bees. The Italians are supposed to be the golden retrievers of bees: the gentlest around, if a bit dumb (and often more susceptible to various bee diseases). Carniolans aren't so different, but they can be a bit more aloof on one hand and active on the other - the greyhound of bees, perhaps.
After I arrive and suit up, I examine both hives through their nifty plexiglass windows. The Carnis have done a bit of work since I last checked on them a couple of weeks ago, but holy cow, the Italians have completely filled all of the space available to them! I figured I'd get a good harvest there, for sure. I decide to approach the Carnis first, though - the quicker, easier job - and take maybe one drawn comb and some comb scraps that they keep trying to build across multiple bars (dang them).
Imaginary conversation with the Carnis:
Me: Oh hey bees, nice-looking comb you've got here - op, this bit is a bit crooked, don't mind me, I'll just take that off your hands ... that's some mighty fine drawn comb you have here - you don't mind if I just have this one?
Bees: Hey, man, you're, like, spilling our honey, man ... let me lick that up ... you're taking that? Can I keep licking it? No? Oh, uh, okay ... bye ...
Given that Italians are supposed to be the gentler of the two, I hoped I could do the same there - repeated maybe six or seven times. Here's what happened.
Me: Oh he--
Bees: DIE MUTHAFUCKAAAAAAA! *sting* *sting* *sting*
Me: AIEEE! *runs away, pursued by several bees*
I had only just *opened* the hive and they spazzed out. I'm going to have to come back with my (still unused) smoker instead of my usual spray bottle of water to get a harvest from them ... but another day.
So I ended up with just over one comb, and several stings on my right middle finger. And the notion that I might have to re-queen those Italian bees next season. Though really, who can blame the little buggers? Maybe that's why their hive is so successful.
(I know this is a rather anticlimactic post after such a long period of radio silence, especially given all that has happened in my life, but hey, better this than nothing. ;))