Save the Queen, Save the World

29 July, 2015 Ken Chronicles

I’m waiting for two people to get back to me about bees on their property that need to be removed. I’m not sure if I have the equipment, and have requested a fee for the effort, and who knows if the rescue and transplant will be successful. How did I get here?

A Brother (and Star Sister) in the fraternity I was staying with in Utica last month (their trailer) told me about having bees in their basement ceiling, where the air conditioning unit connects with their house in Boliver, NY. That’s past Cuba, a two hour drive from here.

My daughter and I decided to give it a shot, and her boyfriend came along, having experience tearing houses apart as part of his job in property maintenance. We had no idea what we were doing, but apparently faked it well. Instead of consulting fellow beekeepers, I had Merry do something sensible — find me YouTube videos until I found one whose method I recognized and made sense. I figured that even if we had a fiasco of a time, it would be one helluva story to tell. Instead, it went smoothly, start to finish.

Well, almost.

At midnight, a few miles after packing up what we could of the straggling bees still in the ceiling into duct-taped hive boxes with small drill holes, I heard a loud “BOOM!” in the car, like a shotgun blast. We took two cars and the bees were in mine. Wearing my bee-suit (but not gloves), I guessed all the boxes and equipment must have fallen over at once. But instead of the car filling with a swarm, there were only a few strays from when we packed the car. I went around the back to check on everything, opening the hatch window.

Except it wasn’t there.

The glass had shattered into a million brittle pieces. Maybe it was the defroster-air temperature differential. Another proposed theory was someone seeing my suit, and thinking I was an alien, shooting at my car. Regardless, the vibrating shards kept me driving slower than I might have and in fateful providence the boxes kept stable the rest of the way.

Even when my GPS decided to take me practically off-road down a dead-end street before declaring there was no signal. Without stars or sun or GPS or the landmarks I would only recognize in the daytime, I wandered miles past sporadic county road signs — that never reveal if they are East or West or North or South — and by sheer navigational intuition found the farm.

Yes, I deserve a medal.

I was home and in bed around 3:30 am, ready to retell of how the bees were agitated upon removal of a tuft of insulation, only to become the most calm hive I’ve seen yet a few minutes later, without smoke or need or a suit — though we wore them most of the ordeal. And when Christina found the queen, proudly strutting her long, twitching abdomen and outstretched wings, it was the most beautiful thing we could have possible seen at that moment.

Yeah, that’s how I got here.


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