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The trees are a-buzzing!

By uthus2000 | uthus2000 | 28 Apr 2020

I think beekeepers are more tuned in to certain sounds and smells than most folks. I know that I can hear bees in tops of trees when most people wouldn't. It's not that they can't hear the bees - they're just not attuned to them. And I've found a couple of wild hives by their smell. It's not the honey that I'm smelling, but the actual hive. I can't quite tell you what the smell is other than being somewhat insecty with a little lemon zest thrown in. It's unique.


I had go to some guy's house this morning to do a bid on a wiring job. The boss and I got there early and wound up sitting there for an hour waiting and the guy never showed but that's another story.

While we were sitting there waiting, I got out and walked around and left the boss fielding phone calls. He was not very happy about the various problems going on with the work we were to be doing elsewhere.


As I was killing time, I walked around the front of the property. This tree was in the front yard just a few feet from the front porch. Such a cacophony of beautiful music was coming from it! The music of happy bees foraging wafted down to me. (Yes, happy bees and angry bees have a different sound in their buzzing.)

A quick scan of the tree line and surrounding buildings proved that there were no hives on the property. Either someone within about two miles of this tree had hives or they were a wild bunch.

Seeing and hearing these bees gave me a longing to get some more.

I've been beeless for about 2 years. I lost my last two hives the same year.

The first one froze to death in the early spring. It was a standard Langstroth hive like you see in American bee yards. I had checked on it one warmish day in February and saw that hive was a little on the weak side. I checked it again a couple of weeks later and the bees were dead. 

I brushed the bees off the frames and we collected a few pounds of honey and rendered the wax.

The other was infested with small hive beetles. It was in a top bar hive and the bees had run cross comb about 45 degrees across the frame tops. I couldn't pull the frames without destroying comb and didn't realize that until it was too late to correct. I decided to let them just be pollinators and not worry about the wax or honey.

One day in mid-summer I heard a swarm in the trees and realized that it might be my hive absconding.

I opened the hive a little bit to check on them and no bees came out. I pulled a few frames out and saw movement in the bottom of the hive. Small hive beetle maggots. How disgusting!

The infested hive was burned. I wanted as few beetle larvae maturing as possible.

I don't know if I'll ever get any more bees. Gammy is allergic to stings and carries an injector but she's not very comfortable around them. We're planning on moving across the river in the next month or so and we're not entirely sure where yet. It may be to a place that frowns upon urban beekeeping. I guess we'll just have to see.

Perhaps one day.

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I'm a beekeeper electrician in a great small town in a terrible state.


Small town life and observations in the mid-west.

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