Friday, April 15, 2011

Bees and Beer -- only one letter apart. Coincidence? I think not!


I got a call at work today from a woman who had noticed a swarm of honeybees near her office, and had found our local bee club on the internet. The club has a very clever phone system that connects bee-finders with bee-keepers.

Robb and I met up after work, with a car-load of bee gear, to capture this swarm.

In this case, the bees were congregating on the bottom of a wall, behind a rosemary bush. A rosemary sprig makes a delicious-smelling bee-brush. Robb scooted the bees into a cardboard file box, which I then I dumped into our larger wooden box. We would have brushed the bees directly into the wooden hive box, but could not cram it between the wall and the bush.

Robb and I were the evening entertainment for the bar next door. Before we were finished, most of the dudes sitting on the patio, all of the bouncers, and one passing scientist had moseyed over to take a look at what we were doing. (The latter had worked at the Berkeley Bee Garden -- which I've written about, here -- when he was in graduate school.)

Once we had the bulk of the bees in the box, they raised their behinds into the air, exposed a scent gland and fanned their wings like crazy. This wafted the "come home, now" scent out to the straggler bees.

All we had to do at this point was wait for the stray bees to fly into our hive box. It was a beautiful evening. The patio bar beckoned. So Robb and I enjoyed a beer, and I learned that I'm quite adept at teaching drunk guys all about beekeeping. One heavily tattooed guy got all sloppy-weepy about how much he respected my helping out the bees. I have such a way with men.

If the scene painting thing doesn't work out, perhaps I could combine my love of bees with my long-dormant bartending skills, and start an Academy for Drunk Entomology.

I ask you, what's more insane? Drinking and driving, or shoving a boxful of live bees into the back of a station wagon and driving home in rush hour traffic?

We will not speak of my fifty eight dollar parking ticket.


Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Yay! Glad it all worked out. There must be something about rosemary. The hive I swarmed last night was glued to the bottom branch of an ancient rosemary bush (the branch was about 2 inches thick). We weren't blessed with a nearby brewpub though! Looks like you had your bees well battened down in the back there. I didn't have as far to drive and had a few stragglers loose in the truck (again). I like the Academy of Drunk Entomology idea, cute ;) Hoping 2011 is a great year for bees, for both of us!

Debbie said...

I do so love hearing about your bee adventures!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that bees could be that interesting:)

i hope to read many more of the bee adventures in the future:)

ajt said...

There are things that happen to which we say, "Only in New York," and there are things to which I say, "Only Lisa and Robb." As usual, I am delighted to hear about your adventures.

tampermouse said...

Also, when you're very drunk "apiary" and "happy hour" sound exactly the same.


Well, yes actually, I think it must be.

Anonymous said...

I suggest you charge for your honey to pay for your bee-created parking tickets! When I pick up trash (cause litter makes me insane) and I find discarded metal, I pick it up and sell it to the recycling places. It all becomes part of the barn fund. One hobby helps out another purpose. I got a kick out of the drunken guy who thinks you are the bees knees! Guess it's funny how a stinging bug can still produce such sweetness, either thru honey or human reaction! Good luck to your new bees!

I've been pumping your sister for chicken info, my neighbor just got a flock of chicks. We have lots of old wood here that will be made into birdhouses, bat houses, butterfly houses and HOPEFULLY a bee hive, once the rain stops. Its been like a month of rain already!


Ryan said...

> they raised their behinds into the
> air, exposed a scent gland....

When I first read this, I thought you were talking about the bar patrons. WHAT?! =)

> I ask you, what's more insane?
> Drinking and driving, or shoving
> a boxful of live bees into the
> back of a station wagon and
> driving home in rush hour
> traffic?

I don't know, but if I got in a collision with another car, I hope and pray it's not with you! =)

-- Ryan

Stefaneener said...

This is now my very favorite bee story. Hey, after next weekend, I'll need bees again. Keep me on the swarm list!

boodely said...

Awesome. What was the sound like in the car?

robb said...

Like 880 North at rush hour and "All Things Considered" on the radio.

Seriously, you might have heard them if you put your ear to the hive box but they were probably just tired and quiet and relieved to have a dark place to hang out in with their mom.


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