It started as a wild hair. I moved a swarm of bees at work to keep them away from some employees who are deathly allergic.
Besides, bees are important to the environment, so you don’t want to kill them. I learned along the way how to get a swarm to relocate them. At first, it was a fiasco, but after moving a few over a couple of years, I got better.
Not to be a braggart, although it’s bragging, but not a prideful bragging, just an accomplishment bragging….OK, so I’m tooting my horn with a fog horn beecause I did it beeuatifully!
And, (brag, brag) I’ve only been stung once a couple of years ago when one got under my hard hat. That bee kamikazed its stinger right in the bald spot! Yeah. It hurt! Big red lump on the bald spot for a week!
The wild hair (no pun intended) has turned into an interest. I bought a bee box from a feed store and waited. Patiently.
I primed the pump with a 12-pack of Dr. Pepper with several guys at work mostly like to see a swarm. It worked. One called after walking up on a swarm under some pipe in a storage area.
The conditions weren’t right, but hey, I’ve only been stung once, and who needs a long sleeve shirt, gloves, bee smoker or a face shield to get a swarm, right? After all, I’m an old pro, seasoned bee keeper, experienced hand, knowledgeable entomologist…..a dork who lost the brain God gave him.
It was almost 80 degrees. Bees are more active when it’s warmer. It was windy. Bees are more aggressive when windy.
The swarm was partly hidden behind a big pipe. Bees are docile when swarming, but some don’t appreciate being shoved into a box. To top it off, there was loud, heavy equipment working beside the swarm vibrating the ground. It all created less than ideal conditions.
That stinks, now. But then, it didn’t look so bad.
I was pretty confident, and like Napoleon at Waterloo, went straight into battle. I had a couple of cardboard boxes with lids that just slipped on.
I stuck a box under the pipe wearing a hard hat, short sleeves, no gloves, no jacket, no face covering, and flew into their landing zone way to fast.
Using a worn out manila office folder, I scraped the bottom part of the bee blob into the box, but part of it fell on the ground by another pipe. The queen probably wasn’t in that part because the docile bees notched up a buzz of anger. My second scoop managed to drop half of another little blob in the box and half outside.
I slowly reached behind the pipe with the manila folder and gently shoved a huge part of the moving ball of live bees into the box, but the heavy equipment rumbled by about the time.
Honey is sweet, but not necessarily bees! When I pulled my hand from behind the pipe, a dozen bees were crawling on me.
It would have been a convenient time for Jesus to come back!
I brushed them off, but then one of the dive bombers got under the hard hat. I’ve been down that road and it’s nothing but washed out bridges and potholes!
I calmly moved, (at a super fast pace), to the side, but accidentally kicked the bee box. Not good. Not good at all!
I felt the bee taking a little stroll across my bald spot, so I jerked off my hardhat using my hand to push it off the landing pad. I felt him roll, but he got tangled up in the little side hairs and planted his stinger firmly in my scalp.
I didn’t realize I was still holding the hardhat in my left hand, or that it had about ten bees on it. When I start jerking like a yoyo on a trampoline because of the bee on my head, those bees felt threatened.
Threatened bees sting. Three stung my wrist in perfect harmony.
Come on bees! I’m trying to save you! Work with me here!!
Bees were everywhere after kicking the box, so I backed away to nurse my wounds and get stingers out.
Eventually the bees settled back down, and I got the box closed, taped it shut and came back 45 minutes later to get a second box.
But did I mention that it was misting a very light rain? Or that tape doesn’t stick well to wet cardboard? Or that a heavy thunderstorm was about to pass through so I put both boxes in the back seat of my truck?
An hour later I was off and about to go home. When I stuck the key in the door, I noticed about 10 bees around the driver window, and 15 to 20 on the back window, with 20 more on the back seat…
R.I.P. bee bragging!
I opened the doors and some flew out, but the 10-minute drive home was a booger!
I set the two boxes in the back of the truck and weighted them down, then used the trusty manila folder to scrape bees off the driver seat and window.
I should’ve checked the seat belt before climbing in because one stung me on the hip. I just gassed it from there and tried to give them a hurricane experience. The striped, escaped convicts were so busy holding on at 55 mph with all four windows rolled down that they didn’t bother me.
At home, I finally got the boxes dumped and situated in their new house, my bee box! Even left them some sugar water and raw honey inside as a housewarming gift.
So far, they haven’t flown the coop, literally. Maybe, juuust maybe, in six months we’ll enjoy some fresh, raw honey.
I haven’t the foggiest clue how to do that, but I guarantee it won’t be bare armed and wearing a hardhat!