August 23, 2011
Since so many of you asked about the bees here is a short story for your enjoyment. No, this did not happen this morning, but it is a true story that happened one morning in 2009 before Molly and McGee.
Good morning friends, gather around, it is story time. I hope you have or have had your morning cup of coffee, tea or café mocha. Donna and I watched “The Secret Life of Bees” last night, so I woke up this morning all inspired to check on our bees. We have two hives, which up to now have been tended by a professional beekeeper with me as his helper.
I suited up, fired up the smoker and grabbed my bee keeping tools. I approached the hives slowly and from the side, thus in effect, sneaking on them. So far, so good. Then I placed a little smoke around the opening, still no problem. Next, I pried up the top cover placing just a little smoke there sending the bees down to gorge on honey to save the hive. Of course, this is just a trick beekeepers have been using for centuries. Gently I removed the top cover and noticed my heart rate increased with the anticipation. I took a deep breath and lifted out the first frame with some help of my prying tool. Good, no problem I thought to myself, this will be a cakewalk.
In nature bees will make provisions for a second queen and drones so the hive will divide and swarm. That is how bees propagate. My purpose was to check for those queens and drones before they hatched and remove them because I did not want my bees to swarm. I don’t need another hive of bees. The way you do this is to find those extra queens and drones and remove them before they have an opportunity to hatch. I had watched a professional beekeeper do this before. It looked easy and according to The Secret Life of Bees course 101, if I got into trouble all I had to do was repeat “I love bees.”.
As I moved from one frame to the next, more and more bees swarmed about my head. A hum with a slight breeze sent chills rumbling through my body, but determined I continued. I mentally repeated the secret protection code “I love bees.” What did I have to fear? I had on a beekeeper’s suit, gloves and a hat with netting. “Nothing to fear, but fear itself,” I thought as the chill came over me. Don’t you find it interesting how your body tells you when something is wrong? I moved my eye around looking for that ghost creating the chill. I looked left, right and then back to center without moving my head, hands frozen I saw it…
A bee was inside the netting! I stared at it and it stared back at me only inches away. I could not control, nor stop the small cold drops of sweat that instantly covered my forehead. Before I could even think of something to do, the bee buzzed from the netting to my forehead. Alarms were ringing… Sting is coming, sting is coming. I wanted to squeeze my eyes shut but I could not. Then I felt the six tiny monstrous feet moving down my forehead. It was headed directly for my right eye. I will be blinded. Waves of fear chilled though my veins as I held my breath waiting for the inevitable. I could feel it move slowly down my eyelid, then over my right eye blocking the light. It paused. All was still. Don’t blink, don’t blink traveled though the galaxy and back, reverberating like boombox speakers. An hour passed or maybe just an instant. Time was playing its trick on me. The bee then moved from standing directly over my eyeball to my cheek, Relieved, blood started to return to my brain.
Its path was not straight but curvy as the bee searched its unpredictable journey to the bottom of my chin where it suddenly decided to reverse direction. Regaining my ability to process data I slowly stepped away from the hives leaving the hum and breeze they created behind me fifteen or twenty feet. The stringer was now at my lower lip and moving up toward my nose. I reached up and gently as I could, I removed the hat and netting. I had not zipped it to the suit. By this time bee had started prodding my right nostril; it seemed to be debating entry. I slowly, slowly took a deep breath and just as the bee started to enter up my nose I blew out a huge puff of air. And the bee flow away unharmed.
You have a great day,.
Carlos Royal, the experienced beekeeper.
You asked for owl box plans? Well, here they are,
The World’s Simplest Owl Box Plans.
Now, you can have them and they are only five bucks.
You can see Austin and I building a
version of these plans in his latest DVD movie, The World’s Most Famous Barn Owls.