My Bee Hero

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” -The Lorax

A few weeks ago, my husband contacted a major pest management company in the Charlotte area. He had been watching a plethora of YouTube videos on bee removals and decided he would like to give it a try. It was important to him to do what he could to help save honeybees from being extinguished by request of homeowners, who had recently noticed bees making a home within their homes or property. So he dialed up a friend from high school, who owned Killingsworth Environmental ,and requested to be called for bee removals. The company was more than happy to oblige, since, as a policy, they do not kill honeybees, and was at a loss of what to do with customers with a bee problem. Many calls and removals later, my husband asked if I would like to join him during a removal. We called up Lolli and got the princess situated with gummies and Nella Princess Knight. Then I threw on my bee suit and jumped in the truck for our day date. That’s the day I realized my husband was a super hero.

The removal

A constant hum and buzz vibrates the air. Sunshine glints on verdant leaves. A cacophony of bird song whistles and flutes. The leaves rustle in the wind like the swish of a woman’s ball gown as they glide past one another on the breeze. There is a scent of moth balls, warm pine needles, smoke, and cut grass swirling together in an intoxicating aroma. It’s a beautiful day to save bees.

Tall white columns awkwardly stand on a narrow back porch like a teenage boy not quite comfortable with his recent growth spurt. Just ten feet away, the forest holds out its arms as if waiting to catch the home if it topples over. Blue flagstone spreads across the expanse of the porch and pretty potted vinca with shouts of red blooms welcome at the back door. Leaning against a column, fifteen feet up, Bret softly sways his hand back and forth as he balances on a tall ladder. A faucet of light golden honey forms rivulets down the column and I feel my belly grumble. He methodically removes the warm smelling wax with a precise thrust of his knife. Then climbs down to admire each comb in the sunlight. He notes the color of the pollen and how the eggs are laid before sculpting it to fit a new frame. He handles the comb with such gentleness; blowing on the workers to encourage their displacement, so as not to crush the fragile creatures, as he nestles the stolen wax into a frame. He secures rubber bands around the comb and sets the frame into its new home.

He vacuums the remaining bees into a box he has built. The bees are made a bit upset by this sudden ejection from their cosy home in the column. I can’t blame them. No woman is enthused by being thrust out the door without warning or time to put on mascara. They vehemently fly around and set the air into a vibration with the hum of their petulance. Thank goodness for bee suits!

Once he has collected as many of the bees as possible, he goes to work repairing the column. His hands move confidently from tool to wood, mending the injuries he previously inflicted. He doesn’t hesitate. He knows his trade as his father before him and his father before him. It’s in his blood to build, to fix, to make things new (and I find that terribly attractive). In no time at all, he has replaced the cutout panel, filled the the void made by a woodpecker (how the bees got in), and returned to the blue flagstones of the porch. A few bees still flutter by, looking for their sisters. We pack up our buzzing hive and steal home to release them into our apiary. Their new home.

 

 

 

How can you help?

The honeybee population has been on a steady decline due to pesticides, diseases, and the destruction of their habitats. In 2006, beekeepers reported losing a third of the nation’s honeybee population to the above culprits. These striped pollinators are salient to the plant and animal diversity of our world. “Pollination is not just important for the food we eat directly, it’s vital for the foraging crops, such as field beans and clover, used to feed the livestock we depend on for meat” (BBC). We must do what we can to protect these amazing creatures.

Want to help the bees? Here’s what you can do:

  • Plant pollinator friendly plants. Follow this link for ideas Spikenard Farm
  • Do not use pesticides such as Seven dust on your plants. They kill the bees!
  • Never fumigate bees as a means of removal. It doesn’t fix the problem (more will return because they’re attracted to the wax left behind). If you need bees removed, contact a local beekeeper’s association for help. If you’re in the Charlotte area you can contact my husband via the.apiary@yahoo.com. He’d be more than happy to help!