Bee Real
June 7, 2012, 7:30 am
Filed under: June 2012

Me in my bee suit

                                                       June 7, 2012

      A call was on our answering machine. There is a swarm of bees in an apple tree, “Can you come get them?” I went and got the homeless creatures. I threw a hive body together and put the swarm into their new home.

      My daughter-in-law thought my bee suit was pretty neat. She snapped this picture, then watched from far away as I put the bees into the hive. They were grateful. I received not one sting, from getting them out of the apple tree, to putting them into their new home.

      I was taught how to handle bees by an old man who has now passed away. He was very knowledgable about bees. He had been a beekeeper for over sixty years. I miss him and his easy-going manner.

      Larry M, was the man’s name. He showed me how to get a wild swarm. His advice was well thought out and based on experience. He showed me how to make a bucket to put the bees in. He showed me how to calm them with sugar-water and how a bit of wax in the pail along with the sugar-water, kept the bees from wanting to fly right back out of the bucket.

      I am sure that probably the only thing I gave back to that old man, was several opportunities to laugh until his sides hurt. He would direct me under the bee swarm as I held on to the rungs of a ladder, knees shaking and sweat pouring off my brow. I can still hear his high-pitched voice trailing off as he shouted instructions from the ground, followed by a string of laughter.

      Larry never put me in harm’s way. Most of my fears were self-imposed. The bees weren’t the problem, it was usually from standing on the top rung of a rickety ladder. Once it was from standing on a porch rail on what looked like a haunted house.

       The craziest time, was when just after trimming a branch off a tree with a long set of lopers, the swarm fell on top of my head. The poor gals were scattered to the wind, all over the ground and all in my clothes. I hadn’t put my suit on to trim the branch. What a sight I must have been as I danced around stripping out of my overalls. I didn’t get stung…but had every right to be 😮

      I want to switch to “topbar” beehives this year. My research tells me that it is a much easier way to keep bees. The bees do well in these hives. The “topbar” hives are much more natural for the bees. I have read where it even keeps them healthier. All of these reasons point to making the change. The hives even have a little charm as they adorn the landscape. 

     I don’t expect to ever be a big time honey producer. I just know that bees need my help as they struggle from all kinds of negative things like mites, hive beetles, foul brood and colony collapse disorder. Many of these problems are man-made and research is pointing towards genetically modified plants and insecticides …gee what a surprize… I think we should let those things ….. bee !


2 Comments so far
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Ralph, I was reminded of the day at your farm as you told us about these hives. I agree 100% about GMO and chemicals to destroy insects. This is surely the cause of bee problems. God must think we are idiots. Sad.

Comment by Lloyd Bouldin

Great story, made me laugh! Also a great many thanks from a hobby apple farmer for moving the hive rather than destroying it. To many people a can of Raid would have been the answer and we would have lost another one of our great assets. Each spring I admire and appriciate what those bees do to turn my apple blossoms into my fall harvest.

Comment by Mark

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