Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Swarm Call with Spectators

One recent Tuesday, I got home from work and Mark said, as I got out of my car, "Swarm call -- wanna go?" I quickly changed clothes, grabbed the camera and got in the truck.

We didn't have to go far -- an apartment complex in Clayton Village, about 12 miles from the house.

The bees were balled up on a stucco wall. Fortunately for us (and the bees), the renter called his neighbor, who called a pest control company inquiring if they knew of anyone who could save the bees. The exterminator had our number, and ta-da, here we came to save the day.

While Mark attempted to brush the bees off the stucco (they were gripping it rather tightly apparently!), I got to share bee info. with the spectators who had gathered across the road.

Occasionally, they would yell at the people driving by, swerving and rubbernecking, "Don't wreck!" Apparently, people in bee suits on the main road entering the complex aren't a common sight. We had more than one car make several trips past, trying to see what was going on.

One of the ladies was allergic to bees and afraid, but still curious enough to watch the process. The gentleman on the left is the hero who called the pest control company. He stayed out with us until everything was loaded up -- I predict he will be keeping bees one day!

In the end, I told Mark he should just set the hive body on the bush and see if the bees would follow the main group into it -- he thought he had the queen, but the workers kept regrouping on the wall. I said to our spectators, "on other blogs I've read about the bees all marching into the hive in an orderly fashion, but I have yet to see it."

Lo and behold, these bees did it! After a few minutes of our standing around watching, they regrouped into a cluster and began moving down the wall in one accord. Mark ran over and intercepted them as they were bypassing the landing board and headed toward the ground. Within minutes, we had nearly all of the bees in the box.

That was a fun catch! Thanks, everyone for making it such an entertaining experience!

When we got home, I got to see Mark's latest building project -- two wooden stands in the back yard. With the swarm calls coming so fast, he decided he needed a better place than the front porch for bringing bees that need monitoring. Plus, people won't come in the front door when it's got 5 colonies on it.

Chickens. ;-)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

One step away from reality TV fame.

My friend Katie sent me to the A&E website to check out an episode of "Duck Dynasty" that includes bees. She thought it would be right up the alley of the Lewis menfolk. After all, the show includes plenty of camo, liberal use of the term "idiot," age winning over youth, 4-wheelers, swamps, duck huntin', and more facial hair than Hagrid could ever hope to aspire to.

You can watch the episode, commercial free, here.

If you enjoy watching grown men make fools of themselves and create eloquent analogies between bees and women, you have to watch this episode.

I laughed, was stunned by the size of the hive built directly on a tree limb, and would love to see the video of what happened after Phil got the hive home. They made it sound like there was no problem, but this beekeeper is aware that there's a long distance between a box full of bees and comb and a jar of honey.

Think Mrs. Kay's would share her recipe for pecan honey pie?

And I'd like to know when the Lewises are going to become reality TV stars. We've got camo. We've got bees. We shoot things. We blow up stuff. Oh wait. We don't have a multi-million dollar duck call company. And we don't have an Uncle Si (thankfully).

If Mark ever grows his beard or hair that long, I tell ya, we're in trouble, people.

Image from