This past week I received a call from Jessie. His voice held an urgency as he asked if I were the one who could come remove the bees from his renters tree. As I assessed the call over the phone, I realized that this was going to be something waaaay over my head. It would involve either cutting the bees out or trapping them, both of which I had not done myself.
So, what does a good beekeeper do when they are over their heads? Call upon other beekeepers of course. Text your mentor. Google as many beekeeping u-tubes as possible related to the subject at hand. Fortunately there is a growing plethora of beekeepers in Albuquerque and New Mexico at large. So I gave him Paul’s number, who lists himself as available to do free trap or cutouts. Jessie was delighted for this service, gratis. As he explained, he really didn’t want to spray the bees given the dire plight of bees. The man knew his statistics. He was aware that there had been something like a 50% (actually 42%) loss of hives for beekeepers this past year. They had crashed for sure. He wanted to do the right thing. But he would spray if he couldn’t get them removed for free. Make no mistake. Seemed his renters wanted them gone and he wanted me to understand his position as a conscientious landlord.
Well, funny thing happened. Jessie called Paul. Paul was finding recruits to “trap out” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9TnW4FKeHM) those bees in the tree when I was visiting my bee friend, Lulu. So i volunteered too.
We showed up with our veils and truckloads of necessary accoutrements that warm afternoon. As I sat waiting for my friends, I poked my nose into the tree, bees swirling around me. I peered closely. Vibrating masses of happy, busy working bees make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I marveled at those clever little creatures and how they had chosen so well. A dying Chinese elm offering shade, with a hollow trunk, and a tiny little hole, about the size of half dollar, where the bees could secret away their babies and precious golden liqueur from the meddling world around them. It was perfect. Such little guerrilla soldiers, those bees. Right under the noses of the sleeping residents they had found this perfect new home with ample square footage for all their sisters and the queen. It was a spectacular penthouse for their purposes. I was in awe.
And so, as I sat there mesmerized by their incredibly imaginative house karma, I cooked up a strategy to see if we couldn’t at least convince the renters of the bee’s ingenuity and the ample opportunity for them to learn, observing up close in their driveway instead of extinguishing them. After all, weren’t these UNM students living here? Maybe we could educate them on the brilliance of having bees in their backyard.
By the time my friends came, I was ready for the old college try. So were they. We approached the front door and knocked.
Jason answered the door, wiping the chewing tobacco from his teeth. Even as we stood there, Mack came up the street from work, his white apron in hand. It didn’t take long to persuade them of the merits to having a beehive in their tree. After all, it was at the edge of their dusty parking lot which housed their 4X4 Chevrolet pickup trucks. Their eyes were bright and curious. They were willing to watch and see, granted no one was mobstung or blood was let for this experiment. I could say they were even eager for this adventure as they regaled us with stories of bees in their backyard—bees on their grilled beef platter, bees caught in the nest of their hair for a breathtaking moment, bees gently swirling around the cab of their trucks as they rolled down their windows for a closer look on their way out.
As we told them our own bee stories, inviting wonder and awe of these marvelous, resilient creatures, we assured them that these bees were gentle and certainly wanted to avoid them at all costs. Their willingness increased. They agreed to call Jessie, their landlord, and tell him they were growing more comfortable with the idea. We said we’d be at the ready, there in a nanosecond if something should go awry and the bees became less accommodating at their picnic table and around their trucks. We all but shook hands, and parted ways with good cheer. Crisis averted. Major intervention sidestepped. A graced moment for a beekeeper, who knows all too well the sad fact that bees would be sacrificed, along with the queen, for a trap out operation.
Wonder and awe prevailed.
I occurs to me that sometime just a little more persuasion, a little more passion and yes, a little more time taken to educate, could save us from ourselves—–our human need to possess, manage, control, destroy, change our world to our liking. We forget that other creatures are also working hard for right livelihood, to live in peace and maintain a safe dwelling for their young.
Wonder and awe can lead us down that yellow brick road to the glory of that which we do not yet understand or know.
So, I leave you with a few images, hopefully to inspire your wonder. Thank you Google and National Geographic.
3 thoughts on “Wonder-ful bees”
What an example of what our world would/could be like if there were but more people like you! Thank you for sharing your awesome experience. I miss spending time with you.
Thank you for your juicy story-sharing here. Full of lessons, if we have willingness to learn, from ALL our relations.
Thank you so much for your comments!