Bees smell like honey and wax when you vacuum them up. I now know this from experience.

Josh was accosted by bees when working at what was previously the pony stable but is now minus the ponies and will always be labeled as the pony stable regardless. After using a can of bee spray in a useless attempt to ward them off, he found the motherlode of bee nests in a tree next to the stable. His work was done for the day, and I didn't blame him one bit because when I went to look at this "motherload of all bee nests", the nest was really a swarm of honeybees. The swarm was hanging on the trunk of a pine tree, and was roughly a foot wide and three feet high. It was interesting, but not something you wanted to work beside.

Which is where the problem came in. My garden is in what was previously the pony paddock, adjoining what was previously the pony stable. The volleyball field and fire pit for the teen hangout is in what was previously the pony pasture, by the paddock-turned-garden. The bees were in a bad location. They had to be moved.

While I am not a bee enthusiast, and will not hesitate to kill one that has decided my house will now be it's house, honeybees aren't all that common in nature anymore and I knew that killing a swarm was not a smart thing to do. Surely someone would want those bees.

Finding someone to take a swarm of honeybees proved to be a learning experience. I had no intention of paying for their removal, nor was I interested in making money on selling them. I simply wanted to help someone out with a new hive while they helped me by removing them. We heard that it was too late in the year to make money on them, so it wasn't worth the effort to get them. We heard an answering machine that refused to even get back with us. Door number three came within 24 hours.

"Within 24 hours" actually translated into a 6AM meeting at the pine tree in the field. I guess if I was the one poking the swarm, I'd want to be sure they were cold, asleep, and inactive as well. The Bee Man was armed with a mini Shop Vac motor and hose attached to a 5 gallon bucket. I was armed with a cup of hot coffee. The Bee Man sucked up those bees, one at a time, into the bucket that was fitted with the largest wire caterpillar cage I've seen. The whole thing was incredible, really.

As he vacuumed more and more, a few of the more alert bees started flying around The Bee Man. I began to question my loose leg yoga pants selection and stepped around by the side of the truck. Eventually, we both donned a bee bonnet, although mine was completely unnecessary.

It took over 30 minutes to get all those bees. It was estimated that there were several thousand bees in the swarm, including a queen. I learned that most likely, they would have moved of their own accord before winter set it, but it very well may have been into someone's house. I learned that bees produce heat in the winter by shivering, because their queen needs kept at a very comfy 92 degrees at all times. I learned that in summer, the life span of a bee is 6-8 weeks because they wear their wings out.

I decided that my fascination with beekeeping is best kept at the end of my bucket list. But I'll remember the sweet, sweet smell of bees being vacuumed up. They smell like honey and wax.

Micah & Dadd6

1 comment:

Trisha said...

Wow! A swarm with a queen. Hopefully, the bee guy will set up a new hive for the little bees and get some good honey from the deal.

Glad they are away from your garden and play area.