Now, hives come in a wide variety of temperaments, around here. I mentioned the lovely bees in a beehive earlier which I relocated to my own yard. The day after the events of the last entry, which I think makes it Wednesday, I had another birdhouse full of bees. This was a friggen huge birdhouse full of bees. I was looking forward to another easy collection of some bees.
When I went to go look at them the first time several stung me though, so I came back with the full suit, and as soon as I started trying to put screen over the entrance I was in a veritable blizzard of bees trying to sting me. This is the kind of bees you don't want to keep and you don't want contributing to your local gene pool.
Now, some of our competitors insist they save "all the bees," and on any account it wouldn't actually be legal for them to kill bees as they don't have pest control licenses; but this is where I can and do and think anyone that would insist on saving really aggressive hives of bees is nuts. So I gassed them and took the bird house.
But wait, there IS a happy ending! I still had those bees from the mailbox because I hadn't had time to shake them in to anything yet ... so at the end of the day I got home and put this big beautiful birdhouse up on the hill (sorry I don't have a good picture of it yet), and shook the postal bees into it! I guess I'll have to call it the post office or something.
Thursday I had another swarm I didn't feel bad about killing -- I arrived at the exact moment the swarm did, which was kind of crazy timing. The guy, who was pretty cool, a captain in the naval reserves (we talked maritime stuff for a bit), had called about the "heavy scouting" that preceded the swarm, evidently, but as I showed up this huge cloud of bees was just approaching and zeroing in on one of his vents. Normally you can stand right in the middle of such a cloud of bees and be confident you won't get a single sting, but they were stinging me!! That was crazy. I knocked them right out of the gene pool I tell you what.
Today (Friday) though, I have another happy example for you. What turned out to be my last call of the day, around maybe 3:30, was a big swarm on the fence streetside of a school. Bigness is an indication of a lesser degree of africanization, because the africanized bees tend to make many small swarms, so it had that in its favor, and when I walked over to look at it, I don't know, from a million subtleties of behavior I can just tell when I'm looking at nice bees. A bystander asked me one of the typical "aren't you gonna suit up?" questions, and partly to demonstrate their docility, and partly to test it myself, I put a finger right through the middle of the mass of bees. No stings, nice bees.
So I get out the live capture vacuum and vacuum them up.
As I'm just putting the last of the equipment back on the truck a guy parks behind me and comes up, asking if I'm gonna sell the bees.
"Nah, if someone wants to buy bees they ought to get good bred bees from a beekeeper" is my response.
He asks a few more questions and I realize he is in fact a beekeeper. "Do you ever go to that bee club?" he asks, "the one that had that speaker from Africa?"
"I AM that speaker from Africa!!" I exclaim.
Anyway, if he's a beekeeper that changes things. "I won't sell you these bees" I say, "but I'll give them to you."
I call the office and they say I don't have any jobs lined up after this one (though that could always change at any moment), so I follow the guy to where his storage unit is a few miles away. He's retired, sparse white hair but very able-bodied, friendly face. We rustle up his beekeeping equipment (he'd had one hive but it had eventually failed), and well, then this happens:
And, well, I ended up spending an hour there playing with the bees / making sure they got well situated. Eventually found the queen and put her in.
Seen here we've purposely propped up the lid with some sticks to aid the rest of the bees in climbing in, Virgil said he'll go back later and remove them for the proper tight fit.
I was just having fun playing with bees at the end of a nice day and talking about bees with someone who was interested in them, but then to top it all off he tipped me $100!! O:
AND I was able to meet up for lunch today with the lovely >Anna Banana pineapple coconuts. So today was pretty much an A+ day.