|Mirek's Beautiful Bee (Miroslav Fišmeister)|
It's begun. The great bee removal. We have bees in one wall of our house, which no experienced beekeeper will touch. Believe me, we've talked to many. We've called the Clemson (University)
, pest control services, and online bee removal sites. No one is interested enough to actually participate. Until yesterday. Extension Center
A friend of a friend turned up, a novice beekeeper. He has one hive and an empty house ready for more. Bee book in hand, he came up with a plan. A kind man, he worries about the ones that won't survive this transfer. But his enthusiasm is contagious.
His first act was to order a new queen. I believe this is going to work. Just a couple of days ago, my Chinese fortune said I would soon be a host to royalty. Is that an omen or what?
Helen. That's what I'm calling her. She's going to be beautiful and launch a thousand . . . well, flights. Or maybe the truck that will eventually carry her and her entourage could be considered a ship. Anyway, Helen should arrive this morning.
The plan involves a one-way valve that will let the workers leave the existing wall hive but not return. Because of the warm days, cool nights, and flowers, our new best friend is convinced the workers will return laden with pollen and have no place to deliver it. Hence Helen, safely ensconced in a little cage, right there, buzzing her siren song. The cage is necessary for a while so the now homeless bees can't attack the stranger in their midst but will have time to get acquainted and gradually shift their affections (and pollen). This will take several days.
Then, when new love is finally realized and nearly all the bees have fallen for Helen, our friendly beekeeper will don his white suit and seal off the old nest entirely. The new colony will begin its epic journey to the promised land—via truck. We hope. We're counting on it. We need it.
Sadly, the old queen and her newest babies, entombed in their nest, will gradually pass into another world. When winter returns, the interior wall will have to come down so the honey and comb can be removed. That will be another major project.
Meanwhile, the queen is dead. Long live the Queen!