Bee bivouac in my tree
Author: Don Kuenz
Date: 20130612
Keywords: apis mellifera, bee, bivouac
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Animalia, Euarthropoda, Insecta,
    Hymenoptera, Apidae, Apis, A. mellifera

Bee Bivouac in My Tree

It all started with the front doorbell chime. When the door was opened there stood my neighbor Joe, on the porch, facing me.


Figure 1. The bee bivouac in my tree.
(Click on image to open new tab with greater detail.)

"There's a bunch of bees in your tree." said Joe.

"Oh?" I said.

"We ought to call an exterminator."

"Don't worry, I'll take care of it."

Joe, of course, was worried about bees attacking his family and stinging his young children. It was the middle of the week, right around noon on a hot, late Spring 2013 day. The heat in the direct sunlight bordered on oppressive. The bees mostly kept close to the hive and flew with languor, perhaps to conserve their strength for the migration ahead. They seemed too preoccupied to pose much of an immediate threat to Joe's family. They were also about ten to fifteen feet up, too high to reach without a ladder. Given the circumstances, finding a beekeeper to take the bees seemed like a better idea than finding an exterminator to kill them.

My first thought was to reach out to an entomologist. On my bookshelf sat the Summer 2008 edition of Barnyards & Backyards - Rural Living in Wyoming, which contains an article named "Pollination - it is a bee-autiful thing" by Scott Schell, an entomologist with the University of Wyoming. When contacted on the phone, Scott advised that the bees most likely would move on within 48 hours. The closest beekeeper that Scott knew about lived about one hundred miles away in Wheatland.

Then I remembered an associate who mentioned her husband's beekeeping at one time. She was more than happy to give me her husband's phone number. He wanted to immediately drive right over to take the bees.

Fifteen minutes later he showed up in his pickup truck. He didn't wear a beekeeper's netted hat and he held a large, plain cardboard box in one of his gloved hands. His plan was to simply brush the bees into the box. With a touch of pride I led the way to my trove ... only to find that the hive had moved to a place unknown, less than thirty minutes after my neighbor Joe chimed the front door bell.


© 2013 Don Kuenz