Where the wild bees are...
Imagine a public park with a walking path where families go to walk their dog and to ride bikes. Imagine that some wild bees had built a hive on the side of a tree very near that path and the bees had become a bother to the park pedestrians. This is the very scenario that was presented to my novice bee-keeping husband who is also a well-meaning, do-gooder. It was a challenge he couldn't resist.
We loaded up the truck with his bee suit and a sugary concoction that we were told was supposed to weigh down their wings and distract them with some yummy eats. We threw in the Rubbermaid tub for transporting the bees home. We brought Austin along to help and Cassidy and her friend came just to be entertained it turns out.
My official role was videographer. We needed start to finish record keeping for this experiment. You see, we wern't just going to erradicate the bees as an act of service to the community. No, we were going to capture, colonize and domesticate the bees. We have, after all, at this pint, been successfully raising our first hive of bees and thought this would be a great way to grow our herd. (Do bees move in herds? I think not.)
When we arrived at the park, we didn't have to walk far before we found the bees.
They were all over the tree and you could hear the buzz. Luke suited up and started spraying the sugary miracle spray.
Austin stood by to slam the lid on the tub once Luke made them docile enough to brush in. I began filming. At this point, all was well. The bees were mostly minding their own business and we felt pretty smart. Our mistake. Once Luke was done spraying and approached with the brush, they went nuts. He swiped them into the tub and they swarmed back at him! Austin had to drop the lid and get back fast. I was still pretty sure of myself at this point. I had bees crawling on me but not stinging because I was still for video purposes. Then they got in my hair. Oh holy honey! I have a lot of long, thick hair. They crawled in and couldn't crawl out. They panicked. They stung. I panicked. I ran. Perfect response. Mind you I'm still filming all the while flinging my long locks back and forth like an 80's version of myself at a heavy metal concert. This whole ordeal lasted merely minutes. Austin and I had to run/walk quite a distance to get out of the line of fire and we spent much time pulling stingers from each other others scalp and faces.
And while his wife and only son were being chased to what seemed like their imminent death, Luke was safe and happy in his bee suit. He brushed the bees a bit more and snapped the lid shut. Smart guy.
Once we all made it to the parking lot, we shared battle stories and compared wounds and unknown to us we had take a P.O.W. He'd stowed away in Austin's back brace (story for another time). I am not sad to report that he did not make it.
Once home we locked the little buzzers in their new home to give them time to acclimate to their new surroundings. We placed a tray of honeycomb from our existing hive in to feed them and we waited. All of our efforts were for naught. All of the wild bees died. We consulted an expert who surprised us by saying we did everything right and the outcome was expected. He guessed it had something to do with the queen. Maybe we didn't catch her. Maybe they didn't have one. It's always 'her' fault isn't it?!
I'm Jennifer and I am so glad to meet you! I am a working mother of 4 children, surrogate mother of 2 children's boyfriends, a few children's best friends, a god-son, a prayer pal and a very special boy who smelled his way into my heart. Our home is open and all are welcome here.