Small Talk

All we’re saying is give bees a chance

Bees, in general, are your friends. If you see a bee, try to cut it some slack.

It may look threatening to you, but bees have been going through a really rough patch for the last decade or so. I wanted to share the news that around my house, they seem to be thriving. We’ve had two swarms try to make a home on our home in the last month. Fortunately I am married to a semi-professional bee wrangler.

The first bunch settled cleverly in our eaves, out of human reach. The neighbors were equal parts fascinated and amused as my husband built a seriously Rube Goldberg-style contraption made of yards and yards of PVC pipe taped together.

It was long enough to reach into the heart of the hive. To the bottom end, he attached insecticide foggers.
Simmer down now. We didn’t want to kill them either, and we didn’t, as it turned out. Much like a noisy neighbor, if you just annoy the little critters enough, they will pack up and move away. A couple of cans of fogger and they disappeared without a trace. Not a bee corpse to be found anywhere.

Two weeks later, a tarp, tossed on the ground for storage, suddenly began to move and hum. Under it was another swarm. For these, my hubby just lit a small, smoky fire in a can and shoved it alongside. Within the hour, the swarm had fled to find a friendlier ZIP code.

We rather think that local bees are making a comeback, with two healthy swarms looking for somewhere to park. I did my best to steer them eastward to find semi-wide open spaces to call home. I hope they were listening, but I did, recently, have to guide one back outside that flew into my office.

I kept reminding him he has a rather critical pollination job to do. The last thing we need is to have him hanging around the water cooler.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer whose idea of a good buzz does not involve Apis mellifera.