Just a few months ago I was an innocent guy minding my own business. Then one evening after church I decided to run a few dirt roads over and pick up some local honey from a longtime bee keeper. Turning into his long driveway there were beehive after beehive lining the drive on one side. "Interesting", I thought.
Then it happened, I got a little interested (just a little, mind you) in honeybees so checked out a couple of honey bee forums. Innocent enough...right?
Well, casual reading turns into a little more time spent reading and surfing the web. Then, while nobody was looking I started ordering books from different sources. Only a short time later I found myself at a bee club meeting...just out of curiosity, mind you, just to see what was going on. I left the meeting with some vitex negundo in the back of the jeep (I kept waiting to get stopped by a deputy sheriff for hauling marijuana plants) and a bit deeper thoughts going on about this honey bee thing. But, I was just curious, nothing serious, though the beek at the meeting had told me he was selling established hives...
The books I ordered arrived. I find myself reading three at one time (rather complex operation there!). I'm digging into Imirie, Walt, Tew, Taylor, etc., on the internet. Then, yes, then...I order some catalogs from some bee supply companies!
I try to retain my composure and convince myself that it's just a passing thing. But, suddenly I find myself calling the beek I got the honey from over close to where my church is....and telling him I'd like to come over and talk about keeping bees. I go over and talk with him a while. Towards the end of our conversation he tells me that he'll sell me a couple of hives if I want them and that he'll overwinter them for me since it was late in the season. Then we go out and open up a hive...a single deep, a swarm he had caught this past spring. I think I was hypnotized by them. I picked that hive on the spot and still have one to pick. Ok, so how bad can this be...a couple of hives behind the house, nothing big time, no, just a couple of small hives behind the house, that's all, just a .....
Then, last weekend I find myself and my wife at the Alabama Bee Keeper Association's annual meeting...had some great speakers...Tew, Flottum, Collison, and a bunch of experienced beeks holding break-out classes. It was great! I also, had to load the backend of our Expedition up with orders from Kelleys and Rossmans that I had placed. Ok, so maybe I decided to have a couple more hives than the initial two. No biggie.
But, during all of this I got to watching videos of swarms being captured. I saw the crazies, er, I mean, beeks doing cut-outs...JP and Shawee among others comes to mind. I saw the masses of bees and wonderful comb in those easy/hard to get to places. I watched as the queens were spotted and secured. I watched as comb was rubberbanded into frames, bees marching ten, twenty, thirty(?) abreast as they marched like an army into a hive where there queen awaited. AMAZING!!!!
No, that's not for me, that's insane! I don't even have bees at my house yet, I've still got frames to put together, boxes to build, a life to live....
But, did I mention that I suddenly have nine different feral hives located and I'm planning on a trapline of bait hives for the spring? Some of these will be trap outs, hopefully a few will be cut outs. Did I mention I was sitting at the back of a barn a couple of days ago...on top of a walk-in cooler with no easy exit from the area and pulling some boxes out of the way to expose a couple of hundred honey bees from a feral hive below me? And working with them got stung several times....and enjoyed it (not getting stung, but messing with the bees!).
Oh, and I've already got two 5-frame double medium nucs out as swarm traps...I've been trying for a late season swarm but I think it's over with now.
I'll be taking them down next weekend. Oh...and I'm learning names of wildflowers and noting bloom dates and which ones the ladies like to frequent. I'm also always on the look out for honey bees foraging...sadly they are few and far between around here...but I hope to change that around my house.
All of you sharing your experiences with swarm catching, trap outs, cut outs,...the videos (ohhh, the videos!!!) are addicting to watch. The talk of survivor genes, the "dark" bees, the small bees, the gentle bees, the hot(eek!) bees, all of that....it's mesmerizing. It's your fault!
Yeah, it's all your fault. I use to be normal, now I get strange looks when I try talking to the average joe about honey bees...they think I'm nuts. I steadily telling folks if they run up on honey bees to call me...some get excited, but all give me this "that boy ain't right" look...at least fleetingly.
Anyhow...."Hello?....Honey Bee Anonymous....I need some help."
(Dreaming of catching that first swarm this spring and doing a cut out on a nice colony...come on spring!!!...I know, we just got into autumn...