By Maryam Henein, HoneyColony Original
Today is the big day. I am moving in a few days and since I will not have a permanent address for a while, George Langworthy (my Vanishing of the Bees co-director) came to get my bees. But first we needed to place them in a bigger home..
I got suited up for our bee removal, which is called a “cut out,” since we’ll be cutting the comb and taking it out. Usually, I try not to wear any protection around the bees and just emanate love, but I knew they may get feisty. Wearing a “bee suit” allows me to go deep sea diving into their world. I can get close and personal. It’s starting to get busy here. Bees start zooming by.
Truth is I had to displace the bees anyway. See how they’re overflowing? That’s because there’s no room in that small space. Half the hive already swarmed away two months ago. Two other Hivesters witnessed it too. It was only a matter of time before the bees would decide to find bigger digs.
FYI: This hive was given to me out of guilt. You see, I intercepted a company across the street that was secretly killing the bees. But claiming to save them and charging $750. Either that or the owner’s employees were lazy bastards. The owner gave me this bird house, which had been inhabited by bees, as a peace offering. You can read about the incident here.
Bird House Come Undone
With a hive tool and some patience, the top came off fairly easily. The bees were rather chill even though we had basically pried open the roof of their home. George, who has been doing bee rescues for a while now, suggested we forgo smoking the hive. Smoking the hive makes the bees think there is a fire. They quickly fill up with honey and they are not as inclined to sting. However, the smoke only encourages the queen to hide in the darkest, hardest to find of places. Finding her is already hard enough since she steers clear of the light. Her transfer is crucial to the hive’s survival.
We prepared empty frames by tying rubber bands around them in anticipation of the comb we would transfer. George then carefully cut the wax comb and inserted it between the rubber bands. We then placed the frames back into the empty hive box, which beekeepers call “a super.” After George got the big sheets of comb into the bee box, he continued to cut out burr comb and chunks of honeycomb. Bees tend to move upward when they’re riled up, so we brushed many of them into the bee box. We made sure not to squash any bees in the process!.
Just look at that! Amazing. My heart was just beating with joy. It was a bittersweet moment. The frames were dripping with honey. There was a buzz in the air. The honey smelled of caramel. I marveled at the way the bees had created a vertical comb perfectly snug to the shape of the box.
The bees had kept me company for more than a year. I got a swarm of bees within months of moving here. I’d kept them covertly. Those bees died of small hive beetles and then within weeks I ended up with this bird house. The reality sets in. Their home is being torn apart as my home feels torn apart with packing boxes everywhere. Both my bees and I are moving, somewhat against our will. In my case, the owner is selling the property and wants it empty for showings. I will miss you bees and look forward to being in a place where I can keep you once again..
I was kneeling during part of this and when I stood up there were bees stuck all over me. Bees Knees! More like chins, but still. We suffered no stings. The honey tastes like a mixture of jasmine, rosemary, lavender and lemon. It is deep and rich. We are having a honey tasting at our next meeting. And as an exclusive perk we are offering a small jar of First Edition HoneyColony Honey.