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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It all started so beautiful!

Got a call last night to pick up a swarm in a nearby big city. Also had a swarm go into one of our traps only a couple of miles away from where the phone in request to collect the new swarm.

The picture they sent me last night was sooooo beautiful...in fact, for me, it was irresistible!

So, loaded the truck, left at 4:45 am, excited to collect two wonderful swarms...

First swarm capture went off perfectly...no joke, I think out of the hundreds of swarms I have collected, this is the very first swarm that I got every bee!

I was so happy and proud of myself...such an experienced beekeeper...years of successful swarm captures...really got my swarm capturing act together big time...I even impressed the people where I captured the first swarm!

Picked up swarm number two a few minutes later...felt like patting myself on the back for such a great job well done.

Threw my still lit smoker in the back of the truck [as I have done countless times before], and off I drove, making a bee line toward our closest bee yard!

About five miles down the road, I get a real shock...flames and fire pouring out of the back of my truck! The bee boxes are on fire, two home depot buckets are on fire, my friggin' truck bed liner is on fire, and lots of other wood on fire!

For years I have gone out of my way to keep a fire extinguisher in every one of our vehicles...guess what? Yeah, somehow, no fire extinguisher this time! I could not put the fire out, and it was growing hotter and stronger by the second. I began to throw out of the truck as many flaming items as possible...picked up a melted Home Depot bucket and it burned the heck out of my fingers and one hand....but the fire just kept getting bigger and bigger...and it caught my Ridgid drill motor with the Lithium battery on fire and I could not touch it or throw it out!

Then I remembered the irrigation canal a mile away...I raced to the canal, hoping I could make it before my truck blew up! My plan was to drive my Nissan truck into the canal if the fire got unstoppable. Got to the canal, and thought I might have a chance of saving my truck...I used the one good bucket I had left to throw water on the flames...it took over 20 minutes to get the fire out [no matter how much water I threw on the flaming rubberized bed lining, it just did not wanna go out...

Fire department showed up. They were really nice...they put out all the flaming items alongside the road that I threw out of the truck. After looking at my burns, they asked me if they could call an ambulance to take me to the hospital.

I declined...I had enough embarrassment for one day and I also didn't wanna go near all the COVID 19 germs.

Now I can't even wipe my arse with my right hand anymore...well, at least not for the next few days or weeks...

MORAL OF THE STORY: PUT YOUR SMOKER OUT BEFORE PLACING IN THE BACK OF YOUR TRUCK AND DRIVING AWAY!

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Soar

Swarm.jpg Burned bucket and truck.jpg Canal.jpg Hand finger burns.jpg
 

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soar...
Sorry for your misfortune. My golly, but I agree, that does look like an irresistible swarm. Wish it had gone better for you but now you have an excellent story for campfires and grandchildren. I always look at things like this, that I live through, as good entertainment for later use.
Cheers
gww
 

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Soar,
Yikes! That's a horrible thing to happen. Hopefully your truck was saved. When I took my beginner bee class 5 years ago, the beek teaching it shared a similar story. His truck was destroyed, as was a truck load of honey supers, with frames.

He strongly encouraged us all to get something like this Behrens 6-Gallon Galvanized Steel Trash Can with Lid to put our lit smokers in if we were ever traveling from bee yard to bee yard to keep the same fate from happening to us. I'm glad your hand and fingers are not burned any worse and you hopefully saved your truck and the bees. Like gww said that will make an excellent story to tell once the sting wears off. (sorry for the lame humor there :))
 

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Bummer Soar, I guess you will give a try at wipping left handed.

I have wondered many time the same thing I generally dump mine but sometimes.....

GG
 

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your misery may save others.
Did you loose the swarm too?
 

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Sorry about this major mishap.

Carry your smoke in some metal container at all times (I use old portable grill as a metal case for the smoker).
I also prefer quicker burning fuel - corrugated cardboard (easy to reload, but will not burn for too long if left unattended).
 

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That is awful! I am relieved your truck didnt blow up, and you are OK; and that swarm was huge. Did you lose the bees too? That story is somewhat surreal; Load your hand un with some aloe.
 

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Can you do some more pics of the truck and what was on it?

I drive with a lit smoker on the back, and would like to see exactly how this fire was able to take hold.
 

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Oh soar, sorry to hear that story.
Burns are the worst. Hope your truck survived . And the bees

But I gotta say, that was a gorgeous swarm.
 

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Soar, very sorry to hear of your misfortune. Please provide an update on your hand, the truck, and of course the bees when you are able. If only the outsides of the bee boxes got scorched, there may be hope (assuming they did not drown in the fire fighting efforts).
 

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I gotta tell you, that is some bad luck and hope all is well but if you've been keeping bees very long at all you surely have a smoker story to tell! I have replaced my bellows twice because I left my smoker unattended while lighting it and getting my gear together to do an inspection. You have to tell us if you saved the bees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
soar...
Sorry for your misfortune. My golly, but I agree, that does look like an irresistible swarm. Wish it had gone better for you but now you have an excellent story for campfires and grandchildren. I always look at things like this, that I live through, as good entertainment for later use.
Cheers
gww
GWW, Yes, the swarm was beautiful and for me irresistable. Right now, I don't even wanna think about campfires...that was some of the worst pain I have experienced on my hands. Definitely a learning experience and the main reason I shared it was so no one else would ever experience it.

Soar,
Yikes! That's a horrible thing to happen. Hopefully your truck was saved. When I took my beginner bee class 5 years ago, the beek teaching it shared a similar story. His truck was destroyed, as was a truck load of honey supers, with frames.

He strongly encouraged us all to get something like this Behrens 6-Gallon Galvanized Steel Trash Can with Lid to put our lit smokers in if we were ever traveling from bee yard to bee yard to keep the same fate from happening to us. I'm glad your hand and fingers are not burned any worse and you hopefully saved your truck and the bees. Like gww said that will make an excellent story to tell once the sting wears off. (sorry for the lame humor there :))
Jason, I googled the Behrens you mentioned and could not believe my eyes...I purchased three of them and still use them for beekeeping and gardening but never thought about placing the lit smoker in there. Thanks for sharing!

Bummer Soar, I guess you will give a try at wipping left handed.

I have wondered many time the same thing I generally dump mine but sometimes.....

GG
GG, I have seen some horrific forest, auto, and house fires in my life and I just can't see myself dumping live coals out unless we are in the middle of a massive monsoon rainstorm.

your misery may save others.
Did you loose the swarm too?
Sure hope someone will read my story and not make the same mistake! I collected two swarms this morning, and both survived. Some of the wood ware was a complete total loss but the boxes I housed the swarms in were merely scorched on the outside.

Sorry about this major mishap.

Carry your smoke in some metal container at all times (I use old portable grill as a metal case for the smoker).
I also prefer quicker burning fuel - corrugated cardboard (easy to reload, but will not burn for too long if left unattended).
Good advice Greg! I use Tractor Supply pine shavings...and sometimes we add eucalyptus chips/wood that burn super hot.

That is awful! I am relieved your truck didnt blow up, and you are OK; and that swarm was huge. Did you lose the bees too? That story is somewhat surreal; Load your hand un with some aloe.
Clover, bees came through it fine, two of the boxes from the large swarm were severely scorched, but when I got home, the bees appeared unfazed.

Can you do some more pics of the truck and what was on it?

I drive with a lit smoker on the back, and would like to see exactly how this fire was able to take hold.
I will try to post more pics later. OT, I think I know how it started...I placed the smoker on the rubberized bed and normally I sit in in a wood box. I believe the smoker fell over, opened up, and the live coals rolled onto the box filled with pine shavings. Then, it lit the driver's side of the rubberized lining above the wheel well. Next, two plastic five gallon buckets caught fire. I was driving 50-55 mph nearly the entire time, so that added wind and aeration, stoking it even hotter. Next, it caught my brushless Ridgid Drill motor on fire, melting it and finally lept onto the woodware, torching boxes, lids and bottoms. I am fortunate that it did not reach the lithium ion battery...that could have cost me my life.

I just made a new rule/law/guideline in my mind: I will always use a Behrens 6-Gallon Galvanized Steel Trash Can with Lid or equivalent to place my smoker in the future. We live in the middle of a eucalyptus forest and if I had done this mistake here, we could have lost everything.

Oh soar, sorry to hear that story.
Burns are the worst. Hope your truck survived . And the bees

But I gotta say, that was a gorgeous swarm.
Arnie, I think everyone has experienced burns before, but I have never experienced this serious of a burn and the pain was insane. I once had a job that required me to visit burn victims in the burn unit. I had no clue what type of pain these people go through...and some of them had 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 60-80% of their bodies. A number of them were in a meth lab when it blew up...others were in terrible automobile accidents where their vehicle caught fire and they were trapped inside.

Soar, very sorry to hear of your misfortune. Please provide an update on your hand, the truck, and of course the bees when you are able. If only the outsides of the bee boxes got scorched, there may be hope (assuming they did not drown in the fire fighting efforts).
Hi JW! Update on my hands/fingers: Doctors told me I was extremely fortunate that the burns were only on one side of my hands and fingers. They informed me that if my hand/fingers had experienced a full 360 degree burn [all the way around (the circumference) of my fingers/hands, then I would have had to be rushed immediately into the burn unit for surgery because 360 circumferential burns create a tourniquet that cuts off all circulation to the limb/area affected.

I have not yet looked at my truck. The burn pain is so intense, I just don't wanna look at a barbecue, stove, fire, burn site, etc. After getting the fire out I was able to drive home, remove the swarms, ice my burns [bad idea by the way], do a phone interview with my primary physician, then rush to the hospital. They gave me a promise that I could be seen away from other people, so I decided to go.

Now the big factor is to make the right choices to avoid infections during the healing process, AND TO NEVER, EVER TRANSPORT A LIT SMOKER IN AN UNSAFE MANNER!

Hope this helps some other beekeepers!
 

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Soar, do not know what you are doing to lessen pain but be careful, so easy to do more than you would or should.
 

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Well wishes sent your way
heal well
 

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soar...
I got burnt with propane from my knees down to the bottom of my feet. Spent ten days in the hospital and three months off work. Yes, I get the pain part.

Now that it is over, I do still enjoy telling the story of when my insurance called me to explain that I had like 15 free counseling sessions and I got to tell them I went out and kicked the stove and I feel better now.

That was a very pretty swarm though.

With burns, time is your friend and later will be better then now.
Good luck
gww

Ps I also enjoy (now) telling of when the ambulance ask if I wanted a helicopter and I ask them if they were going to give me some drugs if I went with them and they said yes and I said lets go.
 

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Thanks for your answer to my question SoarWithEagles, you explained it very well i will not need to see any more pics. :)
 

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Soar, ask your doctor for silverdine burn cream. It is a miracle cream. Prescribtion needed. I was scalded very badly. 2nd degree burns and it took the pain completly away and I healed with no scab or scars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quick update:

Most of the pain has subsided. Now, the pain of ruining my best brushless drill motor....

On the brighter side of things...the Ridgid brushless drill motor still works even though it is toasted with pollen sub and all!

Maybe I should make a special commercial for Ridgid!

Finger burn 2.jpg Ridgid.jpg Ridgid 2.jpg
 

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Most of the pain has subsided.
Good to hear.
So what are you typing with? Your nose? Hunt and peck?
 
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