Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bees!! Part 2

My post yesterday revealed the beginning of our bee adventure, or "beeventure" as I like to call it. On Sunday morning less than 2 weeks ago as we were getting ready for church, my son noticed the huge swarm outside the playroom window that I showed yesterday.

That Monday was Memorial day so I couldn't
get a hold of anyone to help until Tuesday morning. In the mean time my husband bravely checked the attic -- no bees found, and I did my share of Internet research on bees and bee behavior and feel I earned an actual degree in the science of bees.

The bee expert I talked to on Tuesday assured me that because there was a large group of them I could see hanging off the roof, the bees were not actually entering the structure of my home. If they were I wouldn't see a large group but rather "lines of bees coming and going". He said I had a swarm and they would most likely move on in a couple days.

I checked out the window every 20 minutes for 2 days. The bees did not "move on".

Thursday morning plumbers arrive to replace the water heater (that finally after being way beyond old just couldn't hold its temperature any longer). As the plumbers begin disconnecting the old water heater in the attic, one comes down, "Um, Mam, you have a bee problem." Apparently they saw 5 or
6 bees flying around the light near them in the attic. They said they'd keep working as long as it was only a few bees, but if it got to be a bunch they were getting out of there.

I began hyperventilating. I had been freaked out about the bees on the side of my house but came to peace with them and especially the facts that they were not inside the structure of my house and they were "moving on". I could even admire the beauty of the bees and what they do for our world. T
hat all changed once I heard they were in my attic, even if it was just a few of them.

As my kids fought over Playdoh, I began calling every bee person I could find a number for. But the thing about beekeepers
is that they are usually a little too occupied to answer the phone during business hours, so it is not easy to reach them.

It was not until Saturday that a bee expert came out to take a look. One look and he knew -- they're in there with a bunch of honey! He was so excited that his animated voice reminded me of a tornado chaser onc
e they finally get near a big one! He told us to call on Monday to schedule the "removal".

Wednesday afternoon the bee keepers arrive and begin suiting up. My husband was out front talking with them and taking a few pictures. Then one beekeeper begins climbing the ladder and the other one looks at my husband and says, "These are Africanized bees. You have 5 seconds. Go!"

Thankfully my husband has more than one master's degree, so he had enough smarts about him to actually "Go!". He ran inside and slammed our door behind him.

The beekeeper reached the top of the ladder and began banging on the wood. The cloud of angry bees that emerged was absolutely staggering!

Then he began sawing into the wood trim on our house, which is what you see in this picture. The bees had fanned out some so t
he cloud is not nearly as thick as initially but you can still see tons on the window, his suit, and all those dots you see with the tree in the background are not buds on the tree, but BEES!After he saws for a few minutes and begins pulling off wood, he brings out the first honeycomb, and it just keeps coming!

I cannot believe we had NO IDEA that was in the side of our house!

Then the beekeeper moves the ladder around the corner you see in the first picture and begins sawing around the corner a few feet from the other spot. And finds more bees and honey! This time we had better view and could see the honey actually dripping from under our roof! Sorry the picture quality is really bad by now because there is spray and honey and bees all gooping
up the window. But the brown stuff dripping from under the rectangle shaped cut is honey!

My 6 year old has always been what I call our "costume kid." Even as a toddler I toted him to the grocery store in differing arrays of swim goggles, fireman hats, capes, etc. So it was completely fitting that mid-bee removal the 6 year old ran to his room and emerged in his own "bee suit", bas
ically his knight costume (with the mesh) combined with a surgeon hat. The real beekeepers outside the window noticed him right away and got a big kick out of it!

The beekeepers dug everything out, clean
ed it all up (which meant hosing off their tools multiple times to get the honey off), sprayed 2 different sprays up into the holes, threw a bee & insect repellent powder in them, and then stapled thick black plastic over the holes. They told us we'd still see some bees lingering around for 48 hours, but if we saw them beyond that to call and they'd come back out. They estimated they removed about 70 pounds of honey, some of which looked to be about 4 years old -- 2 years longer than we've even lived in the house!!!

How we did not know all that was in the side of our home I probably won't figure out this side of heaven -- it's right up there with Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster!

So I mentioned popcorn yesterday. How does popcorn fit into this madness?

Well, an hour or so into the bee removal the kids and my husband were ready for a snack. My husband suggests popcorn and the kids agree with a resounding "yes!" So he popped some popcorn and there they sat eating their popcorn out of bowls while sitting right in front of the window watching the beekeepers.

At first I was incredulous they could eat after seeing all the grossness removed from our home. Then I felt a little bad sitting back eating popcorn all in full view of the beekeepers who were risking their lives to free our house of bees! But finally I caved to the popcorn aroma and joined them in the popcorn eating!

As much grief as I gave my husband for making the popcorn, looking at the situation now, I'm glad he did.

Because there is no doubt in my mind that my 6 year old will remember the bee removal for the rest of his life. And when he looks back on it as he grows I'm really so glad he'll remember us eating popcorn while it happened. Instead of remembering his parents freaking out, being in a bad mood, or worrying about the expense of it all.

Because often life just does deal you a crazy hand and really the best way to handle it is to call in some expert help, pop some popcorn, and sit back and watch.

How? How do you get the calm within the chaos? I'll tell you what works for me. To put my trust in God. The one who created the universe, created me, created my family, created the bees, provided us with our home, and has the power to take it all away. I don't always know or understand His plans, but I do know Him. I know that He is good, that He loves me, and that He is always with me. Every moment He sees my struggles, "my walls", and what was lurking in the walls of my home was no surprise to Him.

Isaiah 49:16, "Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before Me."

Psalm 68:19, "Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation."

So this Friday, I don't know about you but I am completely hooked on a bee-free home and a burden-bearing God. A finer thing and The Finest Thing!

Check out more Friday Foto Finish Fiesta at Candid Carrie, Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, and Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses.


  1. The picture of your son is priceless!

  2. OMG! That would have freaked me out so much! I'd still be shaking from that experience!

    LOL at your son, my nephew is the exact same way.

  3. That's crazy...4 years of building honeycomb and you just discovered it?! I'd want to talk with the guy who inspected my house! Aren't you glad you needed to replace your hot water heater so it didn't go on any longer? I'm going to use this story in a Bible lesson someday...about not knowing what's lurking in the walls of your home.

  4. Oh my goodness! That's crazy! I've learned to live with the hornets and wasps because their homes are small... and I can see them and keep an eye on them, but Africanized bees??? Yes, I think I'd be a little nuttier than I am now!!! Good luck. Hopefully they're all gone by now.

  5. Oh I'd be so freaked out. I am allergic to bees - just terrifying to me.

  6. Ventured over from Carrie's. Oh My! Those are A LOT of bees! And a lot of honey! So glad they will be gone now!

  7. I loved your story . When life deals you lemons , make lemonade!
    All Glory to God!

  8. Your son is ready to go, Priceless! As far as the bees and all that honey, wow! Did they say where they were moving the colony too?

  9. Okay...that is beyond awesome!!!! Did you get to keep the honey at least?! Your son reminds me so much of mine. He was a costume kid, too. VERY CUTE!!!! Love this story!

  10. That is quite a story - or ordeal is more like it! I hope they got all of them out!

  11. Oh. My. Goodness! What a story! I would love to have all that honey from the bees, though. :)

  12. Oh my goodness gracious! I'm itching just reading about your adventure. Wow! Blessings to you.

  13. Fascinating!

    We had a wasps nest in our roof a few years ago - not so dramatic, and pre-blogging so no photos!!!

  14. Honey: Good. Swarming Africanized bees: Bad. Glad that you were able to get it taken care of! And hey, you got to take in a show, too. :o)

  15. WOW! Your son would feel totally at home at our church then, I frequently have kids in my Sunday school class in costume. the girls it's usually fairy princess dresses from the Disney store, but the boys well, all manner of things are sometimes worn, heheeheee.

  16. That is insane! What a story. Now that is what blogging is for - to capture moments just like that!

    Have a great day!

  17. great story, i found it as i was trying to get info on bees vs. Wasps. BUT, the most important part of your story is the reminder to trust in God! This was perfectly timed...even jf i'm reading it 3 years after it happened! Lol.


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