Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Attack of the Bees

Announcement: I am quitting my job, selling my house, and am now on a quest to become the next "Crocodile Hunter". (..hmm...that didn't pan out too well for him, did it?)...okay, the next Jeff Corwin! ..........Maybe I should explain..

  The animal kingdom loves me, at least that is what I am starting to believe.  I am like Steve Carell on "Evan Almighty", they just flock to me. I've had more than my share of weird wildlife run-ins over the years and today is the icing on the cake.

When I lived in my first apartment I had:
 *mouse run-ins that probably reached into the thousands
 *a bat that flew out of my dryer, through my hair and wreaked havoc until my hubby (then boyfriend) came to the rescue.
 *a wild snake somehow got into my apartment and I almost stepped on it and started to pick it up, not knowing what it was. (Luckily I realized it really quick.)

It got so bad that I was convinced that if I lived there much longer, I would wake up one morning and find a deer standing in my living room. Needless to say, I hadn't had a run-in in quite a while, so I guess I was over due...and Mother Nature pulls no punches.

I got up this morning and decided it was a wonderful day spruce up my bedroom a little, so I stripped the bed, washed the sheets, and opened my window to let in the fresh air.  I immediately noticed a strange humming sound coming from outside, but couldn't figure out where it was coming from, then I noticed that there were a lot of bugs flying around...and I mean a lot.  It seemed very strange so I kept looking and I saw that the bugs were really congregating around the tree right outside my window, in my neighbors yard.  Then I saw it...
   The Bees! They were everywhere, and more were coming ...and it was creepy! Every hair on the back of my neck stood up when I finally realized what I was looking at.  A massive bee swarm was in the tree.

And on the trunk. YIKES!

Then they all moved to one gigantic mass on one branch..

I watched it all day...I seriously couldn't get anything done besides watch in curiosity, awe and disgust.  What was I going to do, who do you call when a swarm of bees has basically trapped you in the house?..the fire department?....the National Guard?...NASA?!...Nope, you call these guys...

My very own bee fighting (or should I say loving?) super heroes!!
(From R to L:  David Burns and his son-in-law Jessie.  David owns this business..

David is one of only two master beekeepers in the state of Illinois and owns Long Lane Honey Bee Farms  in Fairmount, IL where they not only sell honey and bees, but they also manufacture hives and accessories for bee keeping.  They also give classes and they have a wonderful website that tells all about everything they do...

Now back to business....
These guys were awesome...
   David is setting a box down to catch the swarm in and Jessie is getting his hat, veil and gloves on.

I am sure they are strategizing here...but I wouldn't know, I ran for the hills!  I am taking these pics from my bedroom window.

David is getting ready to shake the branch with all the bees on it down into the box...I felt like a window between me and what was about to take place just wasn't enough protection.
aanndd..the bees are down!....and really ticked off at this point...I'll just stay right where I am at for now.
The theory is that when they dropped the bees into the box, they shove the lid on and hope they trapped the queen inside so the rest of the swarm now we wait to see if the queen is in.

They needed a little coaxing....I'll just stand over here and let them coax.
Finally...victory!!  They are all working their way inside.
Soon the bees were trapped in the box and on their way to their new home.  The whole process took a little over an hour...not too bad when they had to try and trap around 40,000 bees....yes 40,000... and I am not exaggerating you know why I was freaked out and was very relieved when it was finally all over with! 
So now I need to hit the sack because I am's hard work watching the guys trap all those bees..whew.

p.s....I'm not really going to drop everything and run off to wrestle wild animals..just in case you were worried.


  1. This has to "bee" the most amazing bee story I've ever heard about in our little berg! Only you would have 40,000 bees in a tree outside your bedroom window. I'm glad you're not selling your house and changing vocations because I look forward to each and every one of your blogs! Not only are they informative but so "Lucy like" and entertaining!!

  2. Melissia HartmanMay 3, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Thank you so much for the great photographs and step by step story! I am sitting at my bedroom window staring (and not getting anything done either!) at a swarm of my own. Luckily, a longtime friend is driving 7 hours to my rescue because she and her husband are bee keepers too. I'm glad you took pictures and such so I know what to expect when they get here. :-)

    1. Thank you so much for reading! It was such a great experience, not just to witness the majesty of a huge swarm, but to meet David and Jessie too. I hope everything turned out great with your swarm and they received a safe new home!

  3. Don Clayton from JamaicaJune 12, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Thanks so much for your story. I am a new (novice) beekeeper and I just learned the "correct" way to take a swarm out of a tree. I got one a few months ago but made up my own way of doing it. That hive is doing very well now though.

    1. Congratulations on your new hive! It can be very overwhelming when you don't know what to do. Good Luck with your beeskeeping endeavors!