That time my firefighter husband literally saved the bees, which led to our first attempt at a bee removal and our first hive!
We've been wanting to get bees on our land pretty much ever since we bought our ten acres last year. Partly for the agriculture tax exemption, but mostly because, well, bees are awesome!
We bought a bee box in early summer and set it up on our land in a nice little clearing in the woods near a small pond. We knew it was too late to order a nucleus hive, so we were mostly just hoping that a random swarm would move in. Ha!
Side note: how terrifying does it sound to receive bees in the mail? Buying bees is totally a thing!
We would drive out to the land (about 20 minutes from where we currently live) every few weeks to see if any moved in, but no luck. We knew it was unrealistic for that to really happen, but we enjoyed the excuse to go be on the property and dream about our future there.
We had resigned ourselves to waiting until next spring and ordering a package of bees or nucleus hive. That is until James called me from work one day to tell me that he was literally about to "save the bees."
We've all heard the stories of a firefighter rescuing a cat up a tree, but this was my first time hearing of a bee rescue!
Apparently someone dumped an old couch at a park in the city where he works. A crew from solid waste services came out to haul away the couch but discovered it was infested with wasps. They then called the fire department to come hose it down with water so that the solid waste crew could load it up without getting stung.
Except upon closer inspection, they learned it was actually infested with bees, not wasps! James mentioned that he was an aspiring beekeeper and would really like to save the bees if possible.
He was originally going to just wear his bunker gear and transport the bees in an empty Topo Chico box (a little Texas engineering) until one of the guys from the sanitation crew noted that he had a coworker who was a beekeeper.
The decided to give him a call, and it turned out that guy just so happened to have an empty bee box and TWO bee keeping suits in his truck with him that day! He came out to the park and helped coach James through the bee removal so that he could relocate them out to our land.
We didn't know anything about relocating bees, but decided making the attempt was better than them being destroyed with the couch! We were so lucky to have the equipment and expertise from Bill; the whole thing was such a random, serendipitous incident.
James cut apart the couch and carefully pulled out as much of the comb as possible before gently placing it into the bee box. He later loaded the box up in his truck after dark (when bees are less active) and drove it out to our land first thing the next morning when he got off shift.
We debated leaving them in that borrowed box until they oriented themselves to our land, but decided to go ahead and move them into our box (hopefully their new permanent home) to try and minimize the trauma of relocating them again in the future and get them all settled before the weather starts turning cold.
We're hopeful that we were able to move the queen safely and that the foragers can orient themselves to their new home quickly. There's no guarantee that they decide to stay, but it was still a really exciting way to start beekeeping and save the bees!
Delicious Honey Recipes
James is NOT one to be in the spotlight but, as his wife, I'm happy to brag on him. Two city employees rescuing bees actually made for such a cool story that the Dallas Morning News and NBC DFW decided to share it as well!