Saturday, April 23, 2016

Bee Prepared

Bees are trying to infest my house. After being foiled at one attempt, they found another entry. Fortunately, my house was built back in the days when brick was the norm. The bees have slipped between the decorative brick and the main brick wall.

But the bee man returneth and now they are gone.

My suspicion is they are a branch of a larger hive in a neighbor's shed. He says he has not seen them there but I've spotted a few slipping into his shed via a side entrance. [If he listens carefully, he may hear bee giggles whenever he turns his back.]

My father raised bees as one of his retirement hobbies. It turned any visit to his backyard into an adventure. His beekeeping was a tad on the amateurish side. His jars of honey were a welcome gift provided your spoon carefully avoided the occasional carcass of a dead bee. I thought that added to the authenticity - sort of like the worm in the mezcal bottle - but others were more squeamish.

When I watched the bee man "suit up" it was impossible not to recall the more informal garb that we used when harvesting honey. I have a photo of my younger brother in his beekeeper outfit. If a similar photo of me exists, I want it destroyed.


John said...

You could appreciate that Peter Fonda movie "Ulee's Gold" better than the average viewer.

One of my most memorable experiences was watching the collection of wild mountain bees and honey one hot August afternoon at a camp in North Georgia. The man cut down the tree and used a chainsaw to systematically slice into the log til he got to the honey. He then opened the log with an axe like taking the cover off a coffin to reveal the honey. When the hive swarmed on a nearby sapling, he carefully cut to branch, carried it over to the box he had brought and gently shook the bees into the box. Amazingly it worked. He was getting the bees and I got the honey which he cut off,still in the comb, of course, and tossed it into a kitchen pan. He left instructions to keep away from the area for the next week or two because the bees would be mean. He came back in a couple of weeks and collected his hive, and just as he said the bees had cleaned up the place totally -- no drop of honey or wax was to be found on the ground or on any leaves or branches. It was the most amazing event I have ever seen. And my take was about a dozen pints of sourwood honey.

Michael Wade said...


Great story! That man knew his bees.

They are remarkable creatures.



CincyCat said...

A friend of mine had a hive on the back of her balcony - a historic townhouse in downtown Cincy. She was part of a network of "urban" beekeepers who raised bees in the city to help support the local bee population. If my husband wasn't allergic, I'd probably have a hive of my own. :)

Michael Wade said...


It's quite the hobby. The bees are fascinating plus you get the honey.