Thursday, July 28, 2011

As if on Cue

Well wouldn't ya know, opportunity knocked again.  Word travels fast once you start keeping bees.  In the two short seasons Pig Pen has added this to his resume, he's had at least a half dozen calls to come fetch a swarm or wild hive.  Always a friend of a friend of friend.  Pretty amazing in that aspect. 

Last night he headed out to get another wild hive.  So you will get to see his fashioned "Bee Vac" after all!  This hive was hunkered down in an old tree, so no limb shaking would do.  Sue, this one's for you!!
Basically, he took a large hive box, drilled the necessary holes to attach a shop vac for the suction and inserted a screen so they don't get sucked into the vacuum itself.  Then he drilled a smaller hole that he inserts a long tube into that actually sucks the bees up with minimal loss.
And for the record, nope...not me taking all these fine pictures.  I have yet to be stung.  I give them a respectful distance.  We get along just fine this way.  :o)

So up the tree he goes to begin the process. 
Not always can you get the bees out if they are in pretty far. 
Occasionally, and if the homeowner allows, there is some cutting involved. 
This tree is old and starting to hollow, which is why the bees chose it as well. 
So Pig Pen did have to make a cut.  The bees were none too happy about this I'd imagine. 
But as you can see, the homeowner and his kids were right there and not one of them got stung! 
Well, except for LLL who was off in the distance!  Go figure!  The one guy who is allergic and not carrying an Epi!  He got stung in the nose.  But he is doing fine.  I told him not to to be sniffing on those bees any more. 
So now we have another hive hopefully settling in out back!

This was the second call Pig Pen received this week.  Earlier in the week, a guy stopped by our house and asked if we were interested in a tree hive located at a nearby Rec Club.  He made arrangements with Pig Pen for the following day to extract the hive.  Well, when they spoke again, they guy informed him that the club burned the hive out instead!  Why???

Most of you know how beneficial bees are to your gardens and crops.  Bees are slowly being killed off -sigh- by "us" and battling disease.  You do not want this to continue to happen!!
From New Agriculturist on the Benefits of Bees:
Forget about honey, pollen and royal jelly. Just think of a world without beans, tomatoes, onions and carrots, not to mention the hundreds of other vegetables, oilseeds and fruits that are dependent upon bees for pollination. And the livestock that are dependent upon bee-pollinated forage plants, such as clover. No human activity or ingenuity could ever replace the work of bees and yet it is largely taken for granted. It is often not realized just how easy it is to help or hinder their effectiveness as crop pollinators nor how much is lost by their loss.

To United States agriculture alone, the annual value of honey bee pollination can be counted in billions of dollars. Bees pollinate about one-sixth of the world's flowering plant species and some 400 of its agricultural plants. Poorly pollinated plants produce fewer, often misshapen, fruits and lower yields of seed with inevitable consequences upon quality, availability and price of food. One of the few farm activities that can actually increase yields, rather than simply protect existing yields from losses, is to manage bees to encourage good pollination.
I encourage you all to find a local beekeeper and have their number handy.  Next time you are at a local Farmers Market, stop at the booth, go online, or contact (believe it or not) animal control.  You never know when a swarm might appear!  And as I mentioned in the comments section on my last post regarding bees, a swarm is generally docile.  You should always use caution regardless.


  1. Which lead me to this question. Why do people fear the bees so much that they must eradicate them. I could see if they were in your house or on the front porch, but if they are in a far off tree, whats the harm. I dont think they are killer zombie bees who have developed a taste for blood. Why do people hate nature so much that they feel compelled to kill it every time they see it. Weed,-spray it, bee -burn it, spider-smash it. Sigh. Cave + Me = Happy.

  2. Great scores on all the "free" bees!! At least they aren't calling exterminators now and you'll have more hives, better gardens and more importantly, more HONEY!

  3. So interesting learning from you. I've always wanted to live in the country - now I can live vicariously through your blog - lol.

  4. Judy, Amen sister!

    Jane, I know :o( It's depressing really. Us cave dwellers need to stick together and continue to do what we do. Eventually, one by one people learn a little something everyday. Evidence of that can be found in your blog!!

    CR, relocating them is such the better option. It really is a win-win. We will continue to do our part to keep them going and the honey is a bonus for sure.

    Peakview, awe well thank you! I hope someday you get a little piece of countryside in your own backyard. It's very fulfilling and most addictive :o)

  5. That's some pretty amazing work Pig Pen did. Sometimes people are just not willing, perhaps able to put the time in that it takes to treat bees right. I'm glad you are.

  6. Jody, thank you! They are amazingly low maintenance! They really take care of themselves for the most part. A watchful eye on infestations/health from time to time, water source and you are pretty well good to go. I think fear of being stung is what keeps most people away. I get that...totally. Thankfully, that's Pig Pens department. :)

  7. I think a lot of it is ignorance-people don't KNOW enough to contact someone.

    I've got a lady down the road that is forever trying to smack at my bees ----I oughtta smack her. At least the bees are useful!

  8. Sue, good point. Orkin probably comes to mind before anything else does. Now ya know, if that lady keeps smacking at those bees, eventually they will "smack" her back. Leave the dirty work to them ;o) But if you need bail money, give me a midnight call!

  9. The vacuum operation was so cool! That really gets me about the other people, I can't even say anything because I'll start ranting and preaching "to the choir" , y'all know...

  10. Great post! He did a great job with that vac.

    I just don't understand people sometimes....well really, quite often!

  11. Erin, if only he vacuumed the house too!

    Robin, me neither! But at least we all get each other, right?!

  12. This was a really great post! Would love for you to come on over to my blog and link up to my Farm Photo Friday....:) Come say hi too. :)

  13. Farmchick, thank you! I will figure that one out!

  14. I've never seen a bee vac in operation by a real person! Read about it, but that's all. Cool post!

    The world sure does need more people like you and Pig Pen, APG. So positive and willing to give others a break by educating. (If only they all WANTED to be educated!)