Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Buzz Around Town...

...or, "I don't want to be a beekeeper when I grow up!"

I was out in the front yard with baby Frankie this evening after work. We walked up and down the driveway practicing walking on a leash. On our last trip up the driveway, I was looking to see if the leaves were starting to turn on my maple. Today is the first real fall-like day here in Kansas City. Rainy, blustery, and about 58 degrees.

I noticed a strange mass on my little maple. I thought maybe it was a clump of oak leaves that had gotten caught in the maple. As I got closer and closer, THIS is what I saw!

WOW! I have my very own swarm of bees in the maple tree! That was my first thought. How fascinating to see this giant mass of bees up close and personal. My second thought was that this could not be right, not with winter approaching. Where was their hive, and why are they not IN it??? I needed to call someone.

My favorite lip gloss is from Anthony's Beehive. If you have never heard of Anthony's Beehive, it's well worth reading his story, here: http://www.anthonysbeehive.com/about.htm A true success story, and I'm very happy to buy locally and support Anthony's endeavors.

It was already after 6pm, but I decided to try and call the contact number, expecting to leave a message. Dad Tony answered right away, and I told him I had a strange question. I described what I had in my tree, and he said that it did sound like Honeybees, but this was the *wrong* time of year for them. He went on to tell me that if the bees were swarming like this, their hive must have been uninhabitable for some reason. Tony said that the wild bees are falling victim to a mite that infests their hives. The "kept" bees can be treated for these mites, but the wild populations of bees are declining in the area due to these mites.

So I asked Tony what I should do. He said that these bees obviously don't have a hive, and at this time of year, they would never be able to make it through the winter. I did not want to kill the bees, or write them off as victims of the upcoming winter, because we need them. But I also wanted them to move to someone else's yard and live their lives! It was very interesting to hear about how the beekeeping works. Tony said that beekeepers identify their hives that they think will not make it through the winter, and they'll bring in a new swarm and queen to take over the hive and improve the population of that hive. Tony tells me that beekeepers come out and remove the bees, and they will take them and bolster their own populations with the new bees. Unfortunately, with the distance (about an hour) between Tony and my bees, and his work schedule, he was not able to come to Independence to collect the bees.

Then I lost my mind COMPLETELY, and I asked Tony, "How would one go about getting the bees into some kind of container to bring them out to you? With the 'one' being me?" I think Tony was amused that I was going to play beekeeper, and he gave me some options to get the bees into a container. His first option, to hit the tree with a stick and knock the bees about 7 feet down into a container did NOT appeal to me. Not when Tony told me that I should try to wear a veil. Um, I'm not sure where I last saw my beekeeper's suit! His next idea was to take something like a piece of cardboard and scrape the bees into a container seemed much better to me.

I asked my next door neighbor David if he wanted to help me with a new "adventure." He was also fascinated with this ball of honeybees, and he agreed to help. Another neighbor had some kind of hood, and then another neighbor came over to see because his dad (or was it his uncle?) used to keep bees. So we had quite a crew ready to catch some bees!

Long story a little less long, we were successful at getting the bees into a rubbermaid container, and thankfully, no one was stung. I now have a box o'bees, and tomorrow I'll put that box into another box, into another box, and I'll drive my bees to meet Tony from Anthony's Beehive. So, the next time I buy a new lip balm, it might have been made by my very own bees!

Here is the motley crew, we almost couldn't get started with our bee capturing because we couldn't stop laughing at each other! Please notice that neighbor Ray is in short sleeves, and he mentioned that he's allergic to bee stings. I told him in the friendliest way possible that if he was stung and he passed out, I'd have to drag him back onto his own property before I could call 911!

P.S. Almost three hours later, and I still have the creepy crawlies, and every once in a while I feel like I have a bee crawling on me!


coopercreek said...

ROFLMAO. Love the pic. Amazing story. I'm glad no one got stung, and I hope the bees survive. Now, I have to go on line and check out the lip balm, although I'm addicted to Carmex.

Garrett808 said...

OMG Sarah...you are so hilarious! I read your blog and was laughing REALLY hard...the dogs even had to coem check out why I was laughing so hard...when the photo loaded of you guys all dressed up I nearly choked on my soda and started crying as i was laughing so hard! Its sounds exactly like something I would do. TOO FUNNY! MUWAHAHAHAHA!

dreameyce said...

Oh wow! So much excitement!

We had a bee keeper come out 2 years ago to remove a hive that was built in the main hose casing of our house. It was interesting to work around THAT!

Life is never, ever boring in the life of Sarah the dog Mom!

Dawn said...

I hope the delivery goes well today. Your a brave brave woman!

penni said...

Talk about resourceful! You've got it in spades. With the bee population diminishing radically over the past few years, I'm so glad you were brave enough to rescue the bees and take them to their uncle Tony's place.

Melissa said...

Sarah - Bee Wrangler Extraoridinare! Who would have thought. Well great job on your new craft. Only you would have this happen and know who to call. TOO FUNNY!