It is very common to see beekeepers using smokers while caring for their hives, however, I’d come to notice that I didn’t know why beekeepers used smoke.
Well, upon doing some research, here’s what I found out:
- Bees assume that there is a fire nearby, this makes them begin eating their honey as fast as possible to save it for a new hive. By doing this, they tire themselves out (much like us humans do after we eat a whole turkey dinner).
-The smoke also masks pheromones. Bees rely on this to communicate to each other through the hive. When bees think their hive is under attack they warn the others. This smoke keeps them from doing that and confuses them.
This allows the bees to calm down and the beekeeper to work!
So today started out dumb, but this afternoon was AWESOME.
I’m on the porch attempting to construct a railing for the stairs when I notice a weird noise. Like, a kind of droning or buzzing? And it’s getting loud. So I investigate. It’s coming from the neighbor’s yard.
It is a metric fuckton of bees. I have never seen so many bees in my life. It is a fucking swarm of bees, and I have been reading about bees because I got a wild hair a few weeks back about wanting a hive of my own, but haven’t yet convinced Husbandthing, and there is suddenly a SWARMING HERD OF WILD HONEYBEES IN THE NEIGHBOR’S YARD.
I see postings on the neighborhood page all the time for feral swarm collection, but I also know the guy in the house across the alley just set up a hive. “Hey I think your hive escaped,” I text him.
He calls me back about three minutes later. Turns out, the swarm he was supposed to get never came; the company went out of business and his order got cancelled, and he’d found out HALF AN HOUR AGO. And he says he’s got a friend who is a professional beekeeper, and he’s going to go pick her up and would it be okay if they came and got this swarm please please please?
So Bee Neighbor and Professional Beekeeper show up and immediately don bee suits. Apparently there is fierce competition for feral swarms, and the swarm in the neighbor’s tree is HUGE, and also twenty feet off the ground, and Bee Neighbor wants them very badly.
The tree the bees are in is in a yard belonging to neither of us, so we go knock on the door, but there’s no answer. I knock on the house adjacent to it, but that guy’s not home either. Finally, I text the neighbor on the other side of me to see if he’s got contact info for the property owner, who is incredibly shy and in three years has never made eye contact. No luck.
So…we trespass. We get my extension ladder, and Bee Neighbor climbs the tree while Professional Beekeeper stands on the ladder and walks him through the swarm collection. Turns out, you just shake the swarm into a box, and as long as the queen makes it into the box, the rest of the swarm will eventually follow. Bee Neighbor has never collected a swarm before (this is, in fact, his very first swarm of bees ever) and it takes the two of them the better part of an hour in the tree trying to shake the swarm into the box.
Bees eventually get into the box. Bee Neighbor gets out of the tree without dying, and Professional Beekeeper examines the swarm and makes pleased noises. At this point, the box is the neighbor’s driveway, and about two thirds of the swarm is still milling around the box all confused. Since the neighbor isn’t home and we can’t contact him, he risks coming and parking right in the middle of a huge cloud of bees. Professional Beekeeper doesn’t want to move the box too far away, because we risk the milling bees losing the queen’s scent and never going into the box. An equidistant point between the current location and Bee Neighbor’s yard is the top of my recycling bin.
So they put the box of bees on my recycling bin, and I text Husbandthing.
Now I have a box of bees that I am babysitting. They’re being all lazy and dopey and bumbling around. I think I might be in love. Bee Neighbor will pick the box up later tonight and put them in his hive, and then the bees will be MY neighbors too!!
A good thing about violets: when they grow in big patches, but because they’re so low to the ground and a dark color you don’t notice them right away and suddenly you realize that there’s a bit of deep purple carpet at your feet. Also when the bees go bumbly bumbly on them but they’re too heavy for the stem and they end up almost tipping it over.
Additional good things about violets: edible, can be sugared and used as decorations on cakes, boiled into a sweet syrup. Can be fermented into a light-pink colored wine.
Well here’s my collage our Gossip Queen herself, Jenna Rolan!
First off, can we talk about Jake’s face in that one picture? What a special boy, I love him. Secondly, let’s also talk about how even SHORTER Rich looks when he’s sitting down in front of everyone. Adorable. Thirdly, Michael giving Jenna bunny ears (and that face he’s making…)