Jerod Visits the Bees

Jerod is the first person other than me to work in my hives. He’s also the first person to visit the bees who wants to keep a hive himself…and I trust the way Jerod works, so there you go. In anticipation of getting his first hives next spring, he’s been reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping, and he wanted to see into a living hive so he could identify what he’s reading about.

So, he suited up, lit the smoker, kept the smoker smoking, smoked the hives, lifted the lids, removed the frames, and inspected the bees. I didn’t touch a thing. (He also helped me rake a mound of sugar from under each of the hives…I can’t tell if the sugar is slipping out of each hive or if the bees are removing it intentionally, but the yellow jackets were going bonkers in it. Damn yellow jackets).

Before we began, I asked Jerod what he was looking forward to as he got his first glimpse into a bee hive. He said he was curious to know what it feels like to be stung, and he was curious to see if he got a little squirrely when he saw that many bees in one place. I’m here to report that although Cricket, Jerod’s dog, was stung, Jerod was not. And Jerod was as calm and soothing as could be with the bees. And the bees responded by being mellow beyond belief.

We saw bees coming in loaded with pollen, we saw drones, we saw bees eating, we saw bees festooning. We saw bee bread and capped honey and capped brood, and we saw a bee get her first glimpse of the world…she was just poking her head from her capped cell. Very cool…she seemed all eyes.

It was nice to be able to take a few pictures for you, Reader…it’s not easy to handle a camera and the hive tool and the frames of bees all at once. And those gloves don’t make it any less of a challenge.

Jerod and I are now talking about building our top-bar hives this winter.

100% Pure Love and Apology

Reader, yesterday I was a clutz.

Yesterday marks an all-time low on the clumsy beekeeper scale, and I still get a little sick thinking about it.

As I was trying to deal with the issue of yellow jackets at site of the August Boatwright hive, I accidently lifted a hive box full of bee upside down and dumped all the frames on the ground. I swear, if bees can feel energy from humans, then they felt from me 100% pure love and apology.

As I worked to put things back together, I talked to the bees—I told them how I hated to keep putting them through such trauma. I told them that I don’t know why the universe had placed them in my care. I told them I was doing my best.

I told them all of this as I lifted the frames one by one and put them back into the box and as I scooped up handfuls of bees and placed them back in their home and as I watched those too scattered about to collect wandering around in the sticks and the grass. Then I figured it was probably best if I just left the scene and let them take care of themselves.

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 told Don to tell his neighbor to kill them.

Honeybee
Honeybee
Yellow Jacket
Yellow Jacket