So now I am a beekeeper! I have two hives. I’ve read several books. I belong to a couple of beekeeping forums. I even went to a one-day Beekeeper School. I must be an expert!
At least my friends seem to think so. In reality, I know there is a whole lot I still don’t know. I still don’t even know if I can keep a hive alive through the dearth months of the Summer, much less the Winter.
A somewhat hyperactive, maybe even impulsive Friend, called me one evening in July. His friend had a colony of bees lodged between the roof and ceiling of his porch. The Homeowner had called a local bee swarm remover. The professional wanted $300 plus to remove the colony. Homeowner had felt that the fee was too high. Friend assured Homeowner that I would be glad to help them get the bees out of the house for free.
As I listened to Friend’s story, a small voice inside me was saying “NO, don’t do it.” But a louder voice was saying “What an adventure!” Of course, the louder voice won out! After all, I was an expert now, wasn’t I (see above)? I had even watched several YouTube videos of people catching swarms, so I should be able to handle this.
I agreed to get the bees if Friend would help and would keep the bees. I also advised Friend that I can tear apart, but not put back together. I have had a lot of experience over the years taking things apart. I’ve also had a lot of experience attempting to put things back together. I am definitely better at creating chaos than at creating organization.
Not to worry, Friend reminded me that he has good carpentry skills, and Homeowner is a cabinet maker. The two of them will make sure everything is rebuilt and in good order once we have removed the bees.
Friend found an online store and bought his own beekeeper's outfit and starter hive. We waited a week for everything to arrive and for Friend to build and paint the hive.
In the meantime, I built a bee vacuum out of surplus plywood I've got lying around. I'm not a carpenter, and the bee vacuum looks like it. There are at least two different thicknesses of plywood. The suction hose does not fit tightly, and there are a few gaps along the edges.
The key to a bee vacuum is that you want just enough suction to pull the bees in. Too much suction and you damage or kill the bees as they bang against the hose or land hard in the box. Hence, my lousy carpentry was an asset in this instance. There were lots of air leaks.
I was ready for this new adventure. Soon, I would add the title of Bee Swarm Remover to my resume! Tomorrow I would venture out and rescue Homeowner’s house from a colony of bees that had invaded their home.
But for now, it was time to rest and wait for dawn.