Thursday, August 09, 2012

Bee Hunting

I crept about the house in silence as to not disturb Mrs. Envirocapitalist (not a morning person) or my two children. I packed some gear slid into my truck about 4 am.  I was driving to meet my good friend Ron (whom I have written about before) at Halls Crossroads so we could do a little bee hunting.  After abandoning my truck at a desolate shopping center we headed north east into Claiborne County where we were to meet up with Jayme who had discovered a swarm of honey bees  while delivering packages for UPS.

At this point maybe I should back up to explain why we would drive off a ways to capture a hive of bees at 4 am. It all started a couple of years ago when Ron, who has a similar take on life as myself decided to start producing his own honey. Honey not only tastes good but it is really good for you. From helping with allergies to being a good sweetener for everyone, even diabetics. Honey truly is a super food and as with all other foods my friends are excited when it comes to the prospect of deriving our own sustenance from the great outdoors. With great zeal Ron started this new hobby but struggled with beetles and moths the first year.  Year two concluded with about 8 gallons of honey. Ron knew he needed more hives and several opportunities to increase the number of hives had presented themselves . This morning he invited me to come along on the adventure and I was excited to go. Ron and I had hunted everything from deer to frogs but never bees. he had mentioned that if a hive was swarming out on a limb you could drop the queen in a box and all the other bees would follow but the situation we faced today was a active older hive living in a downed tree.
Luckily we were able to back the trucks up to within 60-70 yards of were the tree laid and we walked up the hill to check it out. The downed tree was a 30 inch diameter black oak with a hollow center it had a hole almost dead center of the tree that the bees were using as a front door.  The guard bees were doing their job when we approached by milling around at the opening.  Ron used a squirt bottle full of water to imitate rain which ran the guards back inside. Next he quickly shoved rags which consisted of used bed sheets into the hole  to stop the bees from escaping. Next we used a chainsaw to cut the section with the bees in it out.
Cutting section with bees in it out (Big Ron is the one not wearing bee suit)
Since the tree was hollow we had to be quick about covering the end of the cut out sections with Styrofoam and punched holes in it so the bees would have plenty of oxygen. After all of this it took a tractor to load the tree trunk full of bees into Jayme's truck and unload into Ron's backyard where the bees make their home from now on.  while releasing the bees into their new environment by removing the bed sheets Ron explained to me that in the spring we would have to bust the tree open and capture the queen to get the hive to move into a box before the relocation would truly be complete. I thought if you consider how good real honey tastes its not to much trouble at all....Your Pal the Envirocapitalist.

Bees safe at new home in Ron's backyard