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Our 4th swarm of Honey Bees!

Bees move in again!

Over the past 4 years we’ve been host to a hive of honeybees 4 times! Twice in the past two months with the most recent on June 29th! The first time was in 2007 when they made a new home in the east wall of my bedroom. Next was in 2009 in the west wall of the same room. Third time was just two months ago under the eave of the kitchen on the south facing side and now they’ve moved into a precarious location on the north edge of our property. At least this time the walls are not buzzing 🙂
Just past noon on Wednesday, as I was preparing lunch, I glanced out my kitchen window and saw a spinning swirl of tiny golden blurs. An all too familiar bee swarm. Just to be sure, I went outside and the loud hum of a few hundred bees confirmed that I was witnessing the 4th hive moving in to our obviously, very bee-friendly property. I mentioned this to several friends who almost unanimously said, “the bees are trying to tell you something”.

My friends know me well and of course the first thing I did was find my copy of “Animal Speak”. I’ve been rereading the Bees chapter of Ted Andrews’ book, Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small which opens with a statement about bees being longtime symbols for accomplishing the impossible. I can certainly appreciate that!

Andrews’ book includes exercises to interpret most any animal encounter and I’ve begun to realize a huge presence of bees (not always pleasant) in my lifetime. Here are some of the messages I’m finally getting from these often misunderstood little buzzing miracles of nature:

1. Community and working together is vital to sustain a society (a business, relationships).

2. Bees have been mythical symbols throughout history. In Egypt they represented royalty. To the Celts, the bee symbolized hidden wisdom, and in Hinduism, the bee can represent Vishnu, Krishna or Kama, the god of love, depending on the context and interpretation. An interesting post from Thomas Worrel’s notes on “The Symbolism of The Beehive and The Bee” at the Mill Valley Masonic Lodge website.

Because of the number and location of bee colonies that have moved in with us here in Miami, I’ve become acutely aware of the plight of one of our most industrious and vital creatures. In terms of crop pollination and food supplies bees are a vital component and because of the greed factor and mass, monoculture farming methods that depend on heavy pesticide use, the bee population is rapidly dying off. These pesticides are not only killing the bees, but are also poisoning our foods, water supplies and the very earth/dirt that formerly provided the essential vitamins and nutrients in our foods. For more information on this topic, I recommend “FRESH” the movie and suggest regular visits to your local, organic farmer’s market.

3. The geometric, six-sided construction of the honeycomb (home, nursery and food storage areas for bees) is a hexagon, a sacred geometry symbol that represents the sun and all energies associated with it. (hmmnn… I’ve been slowly working on a series of new designs incorporating sacred geometry and astrological symbols with my signature nature’s energy images).

4. It’s time to contact Mike Price of Bees-n-the-Keys again! Best bee rescue and relocation expert in South Florida!

5. Although by now, I’m thinking I should at least consider the option of beekeeping 😉

Foster Puppy and Honey Bee Invasion

Rescue puppyNature’s Energy is definitely speaking loudly to me in the past couple of weeks. First, I’m in the right place at the right time to help rescue an adorable little puppy. I’d been helping a friend reestablish his community newspaper (I’m the production department) when he found the little guy crossing a very busy 4 way intersection in North Miami. Pup was covered with very large fleas, filthy dirty, and his ribs were clearly defined so we knew he had not been getting any tlc. He spent the first night at the office and then I brought him home, got him cleaned up, de-flead and well-fed for a few days. A friend of the friend said he’d take him for a pet, but never showed up. So, he’s back here, living the life of a pampered prince among the 7 stray cats that have now designated us as their servants. Good news though, I posted his picture and info to the Rescue communities and instantly got a response from Robbie at www.sabbathrescue.org  Robbie sent the info around and withing the next 24 hours I heard from several people in the chain that Melody of Ethical Bull Breed Rescue and Referral of Florida  had a place for him already. Problem is, he’s a pit bull puppy and it’s illegal to own him in Miami-Dade County. So, the little outcast must move north to Broward or Palm Beach and that’s right where Melody is located. So, sometime next week, we’ll arrange the trip and little Jeffrey (couldn’t hold my daughter back from naming him) will find a new home with a woman who already has a pit bull and she works at a doggy day care. I love when this works out for the best! …He's happy now!Last year's bee invasion on SE wallNow, about those HONEYBEES…I pulled in the driveway on Wed and there was this cloud of buzzing, swarming bees just making their way to the southwest corner of my bedroom. I live in a old wooden house and it has more than a few places that need some work. Needless to say, the bees knew this was an ideal place to relocate for 3 reasons: first, access was easy; second, they already knew (through the cosmic bee grapevine) that I wouldn’t exterminate them but instead would call Beeman  http://www.bees-n-the-keys.com/  to come to their rescue. Third reason is because they had done this before only last year and on the opposite wall of the same bedroom! (different swarm, but probably same ancestor bees).Capture the QueenHoney bees are a vital part of our food chain. They are the only natural pollinators of our fruits and vegetables and since so many natural habitats are being developed for human use, and people seem to think they should kill all creatures whose homes they have usurped, extermination is unfortunately, the most common method of bee removal.Bee SmokerI’ve checked with the Florida extension service, and Bud Grant is the state bee inspector that I’ve talked with about this. Haven’t met him in person yet, but I’m happy to say that he agrees it is in everyone’s best interest to relocate and save the honeybees. Bees-N-The-Keys
Now, this little operation takes Beeman a few hours or so depending on the size and location of the hive and how long it takes to capture the Queen. Plus he drives up from Key Largo.  Got here before 8 am and I think he was finished around noon. Even though the bee invasion is a nuisance and it does cost  to have them removed and relocated, I have to say that Mike is the most knowledgable and interesting character to watch and learn from. He coaxes the bees out of the hive as if he were soothing a little baby. Calls the Queen by the name of Momma, the workers are ‘girls’ and even the drones are treated with gentle vacuuming and handling. Last year, Mike used his bee smoker to relax the girls before vacuuming them into the bee box. I have a lot of pictures of the process and notes too. This man truly enjoys his work, (or ‘dance with life’ as Mike Dooley called it in a recent “Thought from the Universe”.) It had been a stressful week, but by tonight, I’m seeing the light again and it is not a train ;-)Here are a couple of pics of the puppy and the bees. No honey this time, but last year they’d been in the wall for long enough to have some great tasting honey. Comb and all. You can visit Bees-in-the-keys online and order honey from Mike (maybe produced from my bees of last years relocation). Tell him I sent you. He has a unique, Forest Gump way about him. Very refreshing, especially for Miami! Beeman and Puppy playing 

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