A short article describing something funny/humorous related to bees or beekeeping.

Entrant ID:  1311852 Entrant Name:  Colin Hall
Description: Humorous Incident?
Entry: I am by nature a trusting soul.  When my much-respected doctor gave me advice, I followed it.

I had been called in to deal with two swarms on the edge of his property.  They were side by side, about fifteen feet high, along a thin branch that clearly would not support the ladder that had been provided, with no trunk or thicker branch nearby. Oh, and no tall stepladder to hand.  What to do?

“Why don’t you go up the ladder and I’ll hold it steady?” he said, encouragingly.  I entertained grave doubts.  I could foresee what was going to happen: it played in my imagination like a scene from one of those jerky old black-and-white silent movies – by Harold Lloyd or Buster Keaton.  But I reasoned that when the ladder swayed to-and-fro out of control, and I fell off, I would never again be better placed for immediate medical attention.

I did manage to get to the top of the ladder held vertically by the man of science below.  It was only when I reached towards the first swarm with my box that the inevitable happened.

I fell down on my doctor and the two swarms fell on top of both of us.  We did not escape unstung (I counted twenty or so on myself), but otherwise we were, luckily, completely unhurt.  I was offered a glass of whisky. Doctor’s real medicine?

In those old comedy films, terrifying physical things happen.  Characters must get hurt – and yet they don’t.  They are made of India-rubber, and somehow bounce back, we assume, and this gives us “permission” to laugh. However, stunt actors and others in Hollywood movies have always been seriously at risk, and many were injured or died.

My escapade happened in the early 1980s, before we were really getting into Health and Safety.  Now we rightly have a Health and Safety policy and Good Practice documents, stressing amongst other things the dangers of working at height.  I am now very cautious indeed about going up a ladder after swarms.  How do you hold on while both carrying both the box and shaking or snipping the branch?

As an alternative, an extension rod can sometimes be used to shake the swarm down onto a cloth – or a swarm-catcher bag on a pole, though I have not personally tried this yet.

I now know that I am most definitely not made of India-rubber.  I hope that I have learned to say “no” when necessary – and strongly recommend that course of action.  You can still enjoy whatever tipple you fancy, in safety, at home.

Result:  Best in Poetry/Essays Section (classes 11-17)rosette-gold