Saturday, May 10, 2014

(DF) HONEYBEES IN THE HOUSE WALLS (PART 1) preparation

First, in answer to the obvious question, no the bees were not in mine or Anna's walls.  This story started last Friday when Anna called me, all excited at the prospect of bees.  But wait, there is a bit of history/background before I start.

Several years ago (actually more than several), I started beekeeping.  My first bees were captured from a bee tree in my woods.  After several years of successful beekeeping, disease wiped out my bees and life and finances got in the way of starting back up.  That was almost 20 years ago.  About four years ago, I decided to make new hives in my workshop and get bees.  Delays and priorities worked their magic but I managed to get most of the woodwork finished for one hive.  By "most of the woodwork" I mean everything wooden except the bottom board.  These hive parts have been sitting on my workbench waiting for me to finish.

Now, forward to last Friday.  I had taken time in the middle of my work day to pick up parts for the truck so I could fix it over the weekend, and was on my way back to work when the phone rang.  It was Anna, sounding excited so I pulled to the side of the road to talk.  The excitement was because of a post on a facebook page she had set up for garden discussion.  Someone had posted that there were honeybees in their wall and they needed someone to remove them.  Anna had told them she would ask me if I was interested, and promptly called me.

Honeybees are always a good addition to a self-sufficient farm, and of course I was interested.  Only one problem.  Remember the bee hive on my workbench?  That's right, no bottom board.  Limited time and lack of the preferred material (cypress is best for bottom boards) would make timing an issue.  Also, there was the matter of foundations.  Foundations are sheets of wax stamped with honeycomb pattern for the bees to start the comb from.  These attach to frames in the hive, and though the bees are quite capable of designing their own honeycomb, the frames and foundations give guidelines to make working with the hive easier for the beekeeper and safer for the bees.

The only option would be to buy the bottom board and foundations from a bee supply.  Finding bee supplies locally is not an easy thing.  You just can't go down to the corner store and pick up hive parts, so all the suppliers I knew of from my beekeeping past were mail order.  Shipping time would be an issue with ordering by mail or online since the people were in a bit of a hurry due to sting allergies.  Extermination was even mentioned.

Anna went on line in search of bee supplies while I finished my work day.  Searching online led to a small, home based business in Tulsa.  A bit of a drive but worth the time savings, if they had what we needed.  Monday would find me on the phone to Ozark Bee Supply in hopes of finding the needed parts in time to save the bees from extermination.

Bright and early Monday morning found me on the phone.  Of course Ozark Bee Supply had what we needed, but being a small home based business with no set business hours, they would not be there that day.  Disappointment was hard to disguise in my voice I am sure, but in light of the circumstances, arrangements were made for me to pick up the supplies that afternoon.

There are reasons I like small businesses and dealing with real people, accommodation, quality products and reasonable prices are a few of those reasons.  I found all of these with Ozark Bee Supply and an added measure of helpful advice.

By early afternoon I had picked Anna up at her house and we were on our way to Tulsa to pick up bee supplies and do a bit of other shopping.  The other shopping stories will have to wait for another time.  Meanwhile, at the end of the day, though there would be some required assembly the following morning, we were almost ready to attempt the rescue.  With equipment in hand, I called the homeowner to make arrangements to assess the situation.  We agreed on a time for Tuesday. 

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