The full name of the honeybee that arrived at my backdoor in a huge swarming mass is Apis mellifera ligustica. We live on the water in a semi-wooded area so we’ve logged many great wildlife stories over the years. But the honeybee adventure this weekend ranks near the top. And it’s a neat example of positive thinking leading to good outcomes in one’s life. I insist (in Why Good News) that if you consciously focus your thoughts on the positive, you will have less sickness, less misfortune, less loss, less failure, less crime, less fear and less futility over the long run of your life.
When I saw the bees, I might have latched onto fears of "African bees" or generally bad outcomes, but I immediately swatted any fears away, and focused on finding a solution calmly. As a result I was led down a truly enjoyable path.
My first constructive thought was calling the Cooperative Extension in our state, a collection of wildlife and master gardening volunteers who dole out information on the telephone, but offices were closed for the day. Next I did what any modern thinking person would do… I turned to the most-wonderful-invention-ever, thank-you-so-much-Tim Berners-Lee, the internet. I googled "swarm of bees" along with my state and found a page describing three beekeepers available for handling swarms.
The first expert detailed that his fee was contingent on the location of the swarm. Fee? I didn’t think I’d need to PAY to have someone help me! The third expert luckily lived in our region of the state and after talking to him I realized he had not mentioned money. Not only was he helpful, informative, enthusiastic, and friendly — never mentioning money because bees are his passion — this man was a HOLISTIC professional! His apiary is fully organic. He shuns pesticides, antibiotics, even smoke in the handling of his bees. He maintains his principles and says his bees are much healthier and live longer, even in the face of a dreaded scourge to U.S. bee populations, the epidemic of varroa mites.
Laszlo Pentek had thoroughly educated me on swarms, mites and organic techniques over several phone conversations. He informed me that these bees were searching for a new hive having split-off from a group that had become over-populated in its space. They were swarming on the trunk of a tree protecting the new queen while scouts were out searching for a new home, like a hole in a tree (or nooks in houses).
It was unfortunate that the next morning, when Laszlo would arrive, I would be leading a litter clean up in my neighborhood so I could not be home for the mid-morning excitement. When Laszlo found the bees, the sun had activated them and they were buzzing loudly awaiting their scouts’ return. He told me that just at the moment he was approaching the tree to collect the bees into a box, they lifted off moving into a tornado pattern and followed their scouts across the lake to a new home. (Laszlo kindly invited me to telephone him should any of our neighbors need his assistance.) So, the matter was cleared up, without anyone being stung, without any cost to me, and with the engagement of a new friend and reference. Further proof that if you believe in positive outcomes, you will likely experience them.
Organic Hex Apiaries (Hex, for hexagonal) produces honey without using any chemicals, pesticides or antibiotics.
For more information contact Laszlo Pentek: Mr_Laszlo (at) yahoo (dot) com
Box 101111 Arlington, VA 22210
Phone: (703) 725-3818
UPDATE: Mr. Pentek pointed out to me that he does charge a fee at times: "For
removing honeybee colonies from buildings and such. Carefully cutting open a wall (so as to minimize damage) and painstakingly taking out brood comb, honey, the bees themselves and so on, takes a lot of time and work. Collecting a swarm, when they first swarm – before they establish themselves somewhere is typically far easier, especially when they are easy to reach." In retrospect, I should have offered him some money for gas. But he did say it was worth it, "Missing the swarm – even by just a minute – did not bother me. Ordinarily I might be a little annoyed at having hauled myself, and all my equipment, out into the field for nothing, but just seeing it lift off and leave was mesmerizing." … Thanks again to my new friend, Laszlo, for being such a caring person.