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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Post #48 Why Bees?

I’ve decided it is time to revisit my blog.  I know, the blog says “30 Years of Dog” but it has now been more than thirty years since my first dog.  And I have to admit, there is more to life than dogs.  So, with that in mind, I think I’ll broaden the scope of my blog.

For now, I’d like to talk a bit about Bees.

Sometime in the mid to late 1980’s my sister-in-law’s house was invaded by bees.  They didn’t realize they had a colony of bees until the bees started visiting with them while they were in the bathroom.  Sister-In-Law told Wife and I about the bees.  “Bees!” I thought, as she continued to tell wife about the pests.  “My grandfather used to keep bees on his farm.  Maybe beekeeping runs in the blood.”

I rejoined the conversation and proposed that we catch and keep the bees for the honey.  Sister-In-Law agreed.  The bees would live on their five acres of property and I would take care of the bees and harvest the honey.

A new beekeeper was born! 

If you remember the 1980’s, then you remember that the internet was not yet available to the general public and that cell phones were rare and expensive.  You may also remember that Sears and Roebuck was king of the department stores.  They sold everything.  All you needed was access to the proper catalog.  I went over to our little Sears Catalog store and picked up a copy of the Farm and Ranch Catalog. 

Inside these wonderful pages I found what I needed: A beginning beekeepers kit!  The kit came with a veil, gloves, smoker, hive tool, brood box, 10 frames that fit in the brood box 10 sheets of wax foundation that fit in the frames, a bottom board, an inner cover, and a telescoping outer cover.

The hive arrived a couple of days later.  I put the hive together, painted it white and made a date to get the bees out of the house.  Brother-in-law, sister-in-law and I gathered at the colony’s old home.  All this took place before the Africanized Honey Bee had crossed the Rio Grande River.  So we knew the bees would be relatively tame, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t sting us if they got the chance.  So we were very careful. I lit my smoker and sent smoke into the colony.  The smoke is supposed to make the little girls scared and start filling up on honey, in case there is a fire and they have to leave in a hurry.  Of course, drinking all that honey gives them a full tummy, and makes them happy and gentle.

We opened the soffit of the house and pulled the bee comb and all the bees out of the house.  Well, maybe we pulled most of the bees out.  It seems I had to just hope that the Queen was in the box with the rest of her bees.

In any event, I was now a Beekkeeper!

Why bees?  Because it is in the blood!  Thanks grandpa Hamilton.