I’ve Got Hives…

So now more about our fence and it’s impact on world ecology…

Bob, our construction-adept neighbor, found a beehive in our fence and had to suspend work. Bees don’t like vibrations, and with all the hammering and stuff, poor Bob was worried about getting stung. Luckily the bees were the placid, peaceful kind, not the killer African hybrids or we might be at Bob’s funeral right now!

Discovery of the beehive required a decision to be made – how to remove the hive? I called the city. No, they do not come out to remove bees from private property. Was the hive on any public property? No? Then here’s the name of the bee removal company the city uses…The Bee Man.

I talked to the Bee Men, who apparently come out in their bee suits and spray poisons or gases at the bees to kill them and eradicate their homes. I was very uncomfortable with this option; the bees weren’t hurting anyone, it felt wrong to destroy them. I happened to ask if there was any way to move the bees without killing them. Voila! They gave me the name of a local beekeeper.

Bob (yes, yet another Bob) the Beekeeper came out, inspected the hive and pronounced it viable for transfer to his apiary (that is what a commercial beehive is called). Amazingly, Bob the Beekeeper approached the large hive with absolutely no trepidation and no bee suit. I asked him how many times he’d been stung in his career and to my surprise he said not too many. He actually stuck his fingers into the bustling hive and touched some of the bees! They didn’t even flinch.

He decided to take the bees back to his apiary. Unfortunately we weren’t at home when Bob the Beekeeper came back, so I missed the spectacle of hive removal (else I would have some cool pics for this blog). He gave us some honey from our hive, wax and all!

Later when we went shopping at Mother’s Market, we saw Beekeeper Bob’s products for sale in the honey aisle! It was fun to know the person the honey came from. One day the honey from our bees may show up on that market’s shelves!

I feel very good about the choice we made. There are too many poisons in our environment already, and too many people opting for destruction of wildlife rather than working with it.

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Beekeeper Bob left us with some interesting bee facts:

Bees only live 5 to 6 weeks. That’s why the queen lays thousands of eggs at a time.

Beekeeper Bob’s friend was a bee consultant for the movie “Ulee’s Gold” (with Peter Fonda). He told us that his friend trimmed the stingers off 5000 bees to make them safe for the actors to interact with. So all those swarms of bees in the movie were “stinger eunuchs”!

After having a beehive removed, you must seal the area with paint because roving bees will smell the remnants of the lost hive and re-establish it. Bees have extremely sensitive smell organs.


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6 Comments

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6 responses to “I’ve Got Hives…

  1. My father inlaw has bees on his farm…its quite an interesting process…The bees get used to the bee-keeper and they rarely get stung.
    Different flowers and regions produce a different tasting honey…The bush flower is the best…Town flowers are a bit hit and miss.
    I like how they dance around to give the other bees directions to where they have been….I must remember to try it next time somebody asks me diresctions.

  2. seb

    What a great idea, I think a lot of times our first instinct is to destroy these things… and how cool to, to meet Bob, then see his products at the store. Too bad you missed the actual removal, would’ve loved to have those pictures.

    I’d like to do some paintings of dead bees and wasps, they are so beautiful, and all the tiny reflections in their wings, the textures, it’s gorgeous…

  3. Sonja (jackalope) says:

    Shaymus – Very cool facts about the bees. IIt amazes me that the beekeepers don’t get stung more often. Maybe the bees get the sense that the beekeeper is benevolent and also that he has no fear.
    The bees dancing reminds me of the old John Belushi clip on Saturday Night Live (do you have that in OZ?) wearing a bee suit and dancing around to the song “I’m a King Bee”…

    Seb – I’m so bummed I missed the removal. Going out to dinner and Barnes & Noble seemed like a good idea at the time…

  4. Very interesting trivia. Five to six weeks. I did not know that.

  5. No I know of the show but we dont get it here…perhaps its on Cable but we dont bother with that…too many real things to do.

  6. I saw a special on Killer Bee removal experst on Discovery HD. It was very cool!

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