It looks like a big fish!

Exhilarated and Exhausted

Reader, let these images speak for my day yesterday. Nicola Mason and I spent all day with our heads in beehives removing two hives from a home.

I wish wish wish I could send other glorious senses—like sound and smell—to you through these posts. You cannot imagine.

And while we were up to our necks in bees, my phone was ringing off the wall with reports of swarms entering churches and houses and neighborhoods. It’s an exhilarating and exhausting time of the year.

When I got home and was unloading my car and washing HONEY FROM EVERY SINGLE THING, my friends Kim and Bob stopped over for a visit. Bob set about diagnosing and solving the problems with my table saw, and Kim discovered a swarm in my tree. I was too tired to deal with it, so she lit the smoker, suited up in my bee suit, collected the swarm all on her own, and hived it in a spare top-bar hive.

I’m not kidding when I say this: MY FRIENDS ROCK!

Also let me say that I am too old for all this.

It looks like a big fish!
Nicola Mason...covered in bees
Our first glimpse of comb
New comb filled with bees and honey

 

Bee Tree

I Can Learn, Can't I?

Every day lately, Reader, I get a call about bees. People call me to say they have a swarm of bees in their attic or in their doorframe or in a tree trunk.

They don’t really mean “a swarm.” A swarm is a mass of bees that hasn’t yet found its next home. The people who call me mean that they have a lot of bees flying around…a “swarm” is a technical term, but these folks are using it as a description of many bees flying. There’s a difference. I totally get the mixup and am happy to decipher the terms. What my callers want is someone to cut or trap the bees out of their home or tree.

At first I responded that I don’t do cut outs. I’ll collect swarms, but I’m not in the business of tearing homes and buildings apart to get the bees out. But the calls persist. So now I’m thinking that maybe I should try collecting those bees happily living in people’s homes or in other buildings. Why not? So I don’t have a good saw. Or a great ladder. So I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I can learn, can’t I?

Don’t worry, Reader, I’ll start small. I’ll take the advice of those nice people on Beemaster.com and start with easy jobs…out buildings…waist-high things…etc.

Yesterday I received a call about bees in a tree. I called my bee buddy, Chris, and he’s game to go see it with me. The guy who owns the tree sent me this picture from his phone.

Bee Tree
Bee Tree

I mean, sometimes I start thinking that my days are getting routine…that I’m getting old and that my life is growing dull. Yes, sometimes I think that way. And then these calls start coming in, and I think…Hey! Why not jump in and try some new things that’ll add some spice? So tomorrow I’m going to get Chris, and we’re heading out to see if we can’t get us some bees from this tree. What the hell.

To Do 8/5/10

To Do 8/5/10

  1. Build all the medium boxes stacked up in the basement before the wood warps
  2. Finish all the frames in the basement
  3. Rework the hive stand with cinder blocks and 4×4’s
  4. Order the Top Bar Hive from what’s-his-name I met at the conference
  5. Buy a good table saw
  6. Buy rough-cut lumber
  7. Start making Top Bar Hives for myself and friends
  8. Decide whether or not to collect the bees the guy in Mt. Lookout called me about
  9. I mean, there are a hell of a lot of bees somewhere in his attic. I saw them. I just can’t figure out where the hive is
  10. And once I find the hive, I don’t know how to cut into the attic to get at them
  11. Deb says Rick could figure out that part…all I’d have to do is get all those bees into a box :) (sorry about the yellow smiley face. I hate it, but I can’t find a way to keep WordPress from transposing my quiet little colon : and parenthesis ) into a big fat yellow smiley face. What a stupid idea)
  12. Call Rick
Honeybee

Those Don't Look Like Bees

I put my name out on the internet as a honeybee-swarm collector, and I’ve been getting tons of calls to remove bees from structures…like log cabins, etc. Every day someone calls about bees.

I want to collect swarms, but I don’t do “cut outs.”

However, this morning I got a call from our friend, Don, who said his neighbor had found honeybees building comb in his birdhouse, and I was elated. I am dying to increase my colonies with local, feral bees. They’re healthier. And they’re free. And it’s cool to have them.

So tonight I loaded my car with all the equipment I thought I could possibly need to capture bees from the birdhouse. I mean, I had it all in there. I fired up my smoker and drove to the Korengel’s house with my smoker blowing smoke out the open windows and visions of strong and feral bees coming home with me and building comb and making me some honey. I was thinking of myself as a big bee expert.

But when I got to the birdhouse, I realized that those weren’t honeybees; they were yellow jackets. Shit. I toldĀ Don to tellĀ his neighbor to kill them.

Honeybee
Honeybee
Yellow Jacket
Yellow Jacket