Monday, April 4, 2011

Bye Bye Bees

Approximately 8 months ago we noticed a lot of bees flying around the back section of our yard.

It wasn't in an area that we really used so we just kind of left them alone and thought they would move on. Well, they didnt. As a matter of fact they had taken up residency under our shed. In the past month we had noticed that they were increasing in number & our neighbors were starting to complain about it. So we attempted several things. 1. We found the location where they were entering(small hole in the siding like where a screw would go) and sealed it up. We assumed they would die because they couldnt get out. Wrong. Bees can burrow or dig and that is exactly what they did. They made a new entrance from underground. 2. We sealed off the new underground entrance and the area around it. This is when we really noticed an increase in the numbers. Like 3x as many as we had seen before. The neighbors didnt like this and voiced their concerns. Hey, we were trying. 3. We had also bought many cans of that foam bee spray and used them all killing many bees. However, it never seemed to make a dent. Well, one day recently I was back there tending to my garden and I could seriously hear the hum from their buzzing so loud that I was really concerned about my safety of just being out there. They were just out of control in number. 4. So, I got online and did some research. I learned that we had done it all wrong. First of all, bees need water and if you seal off their entrance to their home where ever that may be they go into panic mode and send off a signal for help which brings in other bees (hence the numbers increasing). These new bees will then dig or do whatever to make a new entrance. I also learned that you have got to completely remove the honey, honeycomb and all bees in the home or it will just keep happening. You cannot just do away with the bees because any bees passing by will smell it and would rather take up residency in an abadoned home than start over. The first thing we did after learning this was to open their entrance back up so that they would stop calling for help. We did notice a significant decrease in the numbers.

I found the whole thing kind of fascinating. Take a look below.

Jaron & Trevon suited up and ready for some action!

This is what the area under the shed should look like. Clear & open. They removed a small section of the flooring to see where exactly they were at. This was the first look at what all we found. Then they came in to get suited up to deal with all of the bees. It is hard to grasp just how many there were. But it was hundreds, maybe even into the thousands. We have an awesome home teacher who just happened to come by about a week earlier and you know how they always ask what they can do for you? Well, Richard asked, Do you have any bee keeper suits? and he actually did have access to some which he brought over. Thanks Dave!!! Richard sealed off the arm & leg openings because we had heard that if there is a way to get in they will find it and we didn't want to take any chances with the boys who really wanted to do this.
Trevon above, Jaron below.
I had also read that the first thing you want to do is smoke the area because this will calm the bees which is a good thing when you are dealing with this many. They will also go into a tight formation because they are trying to protect the queen. This is a good thing when you need to eliminate them.
Here is more of the honey, comb & bees. Alot of these bees were still alive at this point. They would not leave the comb because they have to protect that queen bee. So interesting to me. It was so sticky, gooey and messy down there.
This was their main entrance, exit. Once we had their home opened and exposed they just flocked to this area like they were trying to protect it. If you want to see any of the pictures in a larger format just click on it and it should enlarge it.
Removing the last section of flooring where they were at. It looks like it is wet but it is actually honey. The plywood was several layers thick and this is the bottom layer of it that they had been attaching their honeycomb to.
More honeycomb.
Checking it out. It was actually pretty thick stuff. If you have ever had a humidifier you know how there is the filter thing that you have to replace every so often. Well it reminded me of that in texture. It almost felt like a material and is pretty hardy stuff.
We were not able to eat any of the honey or comb because our main purpose was to be rid of the bees so we had sprayed everything with a professional grade insecticide. We burned whatever was left. We assume that the queen must have been inside this mess below because they were still lots of bees all over & inside this honeycomb. Even when it started to burn they would not leave when they could have easily just flown off. It was alsmost like they were willing to die protecting that queen. Sad but we didn't know what else to do. We certainly aren't professionals at this and hope to never deal with it again. You can see the honey just dripping out.
The boys wanted to keep a couple of pieces of the comb to really check it out. It is pretty cool stuff. So, that was our adventure on Saturday in a nutshell. Pretty crazy, huh?
oh and no one was stung on Saturday, not once. Whew.

Honor Band

Trevon recently performed in the Regional Junior High Honor Band. It was a fabulous performance and they were just AmaZiNg!!! I was seriously so proud of him!!!

You have to try out to be in the band. The area consists of all of the Junior High Schools in Mesa. They only select a certain number to represent each instrument. He plays the tuba and I don't know how many kids tried out but it is alot. They selected 4 tuba players out of all of them. He got second chair and it was quite an honor. We are thankful for grandparents who support him in all that he does. They are the best!!!
Can you tell I am so proud?
Thank you also to Aunt Kellie and Natasha who also came to hear him play.
You rocked the house Trev!!!