Friday, May 2, 2008

Bees in the mail.

Well, today was interesting. And life promises to get much more interesting very soon.

You see, we have bees. A hive of bees has been living in one of the walls on our house. From the inside, you would never know they are there. But from the outside, you can see a fair bit of activity. Now this is not a few bees. This is a hive. Hundreds of bees are in that wall. They found their way in over a year ago, and we kept putting off the inevitable. But they must come out. They are starting to get more active as the days get warmer. And the hive is big enough that the honey will begin to damage the wall.

Perhaps normal people call the exterminator at this point. But we have never been exactly normal, so we did research instead. Turns out, bee hives are good, and if we can avoid killing them, can successfully move the queen into a man-made hive, and can prevent them from swarming and abandoning the hive it would be a very good thing. There is quite a bit of profit to be made in beekeeping. Plus, bees have been dying off all over the country so saving this hive is a worthwhile thing all on it's own. But that all assumes that we can do that first part, the tricky part. So today we went to a beekeeping supply store to get all the supplies we'll need and a lot of advice. Quite possibly the most disturbing thing I found out was that you can order 3 lb boxes of bees in the mail. I told the man who was helping us that I NEVER wanted to get bees in the mail. A box of bees in the mail is something out of a nightmare. He said, "Don't worry, you can't mistake them for regular mail. Regular mail doesn't hum and vibrate." Not the most reassuring thing he could say, but I can tell you right now that I will check every box I get for the rest of my life to make sure it doesn't hum or vibrate.

I also learned how to identify the queen bee if we see her. It's absolutely critical that we move her to the new hive because the other bees will smell her and go to her wherever she is. If we can find her and move her, the rest of them will follow and move out of the wall on their own. If we don't move her, all the ones we do move will simply come back. Scott and Zoe discussed the situation and decided that if we find her we should name her Miss Stingy.

We spent $257 on the gear, and the owner gave us a slight discount because we'd decided to try and save the bees rather than kill them. He wasn't sure it would work, but he felt like we had a chance. And if it didn't work and the hive left, we could always order a box or two of bees. Apparently he missed the massive shudder that went through me the first time he mentioned mailing boxes of bees.

He also gave us his card and asked if I'd e-mail him the youtube link.

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