Aka "Adventures In Beekeeping Part 2".
In the Greater Cincinnati area we're in the prime season for honeybee swarms. New queens, old queens, just like people they'll decide that it's time for a new home. They need more space, or don't like the neighbors, or just want to explore new areas.
Today was another one of those afternoons for our honeybees. We went out back to the beeyard to see how the recent hive additions from yesterday and last weekend were doing. Everything looked okay with our new hives, but like I mentioned yesterday, sometimes with beekeeping you get an unexpected opportunity.
Hanging from some branches just outside the beeyard was a HUGE swarm of honeybees. Two sizable clusters side by side and about 20' up. Definitely too tall for me to reach on the A-frame style stepladder and no tree close enough to reach using our extension ladder. But...we have tools, which includes an extension pole pruner/saw. The challenge is getting them down without a significant drop, so an outright cut and drop wasn't the plan.
Plan A: Trim the surrounding branches, clips some vines away, then hook and pull down the branch until we could position the swarms in a 5 gallon bucket and drop them in for transfer to a new hive.
Reality: The clear blue sky in the picture? It didn't stay that way as a thunderstorm rolled in. And it took a bit longer to clear away all the obstacles to bending the branch down to reachable height. So the rain started falling, lightning was cracking close by, I heard at least one tree branch snap, & I'm standing near a chain link fence, and my movements aren't as smooth as I'd like! So in the process of getting the bees into the bucket, things got a little too abrupt, but the majority of the swarm was in the bucket, filling up about a 1/3 of the 5 gallon bucket. I put a sheet over the top to keep them dry and contained until the storm was over.
The slight miscalculation? There were a couple. First, not knowing the storm was going to roll in. I didn't check the conditions before getting started.
And as it turned out the more significant "slight" calculation? I went light on my protective gear. Normally a honeybee swarm is VERY docile. Keeping that in mind, I went with my typical sweatpants, a loose long sleeved t-shirt, my leather bee gloves and a beekeeping helmet with veil. Everything is covered up, and unless a bee is REALLY irritated, I'm well covered and they can't get me.
You know what happens when rain soaks a T-shirt? The gap I normally have between the shirt and my skin goes away. And you know what happens when you get too abrupt with honeybees? Some of the girls go "God save the Queen!! Into the breach, we must defend the Queen!!". Some of the girls took flight and they weren't too happy with me. So as I'm shaking the bees into the bucket I start to feel a tingle on my ankle. I know the feeling (it's rare, but this isn't my first sting).
I'm getting soaked and I can see bees crawling all over me as I get the last of the bees into the bucket and covered. I'm pretty sure the queen is in the bucket, so I cover the bucket and leave the area. And then I feel a tingle on abdomen. And that's when I realize my T-shirt is now effectively useless. I'm walking away and using a brush to shoo the bees away, but they're faster than me. Another tingle in the right arm, then another in the left arm before I get them all off of me.
Liz is a safe distance away and gives me direction on where the last few bees are so I can brush them off before going in the house.
Pro tip: lavender oil soothes bee stings. Doesn't totally stop the swelling, but it does take the edge off.
After the storm blows through we gear up (I go FULL gear this time) and we transfer the bees to their new hive home. Obviously all did not go as planned, but the job got done.
What does this have to do with real estate? Slight miscalculations in real estate can prove costly.
Choosing the wrong real estate agent when you need a specialist?
Not understanding market conditions?
Miscalculating how far you can push the other side in negotiations?
Thinking selling without an agent should be easy peasy.
I could type a LONG list of things that can go wrong, even when everything LOOKS simple from the start. Real estate thunderstorms roll in, and what NORMALLY works can go sideways quickly. And when it does, a few drops of lavender isn't going to make it feel better.
Want to discuss how we can help you with buying or selling a home in Greater Cincinnati? Just give Bill a call at 513-520-5305 or email Liz@LizSpear.com.
Serving Greater Cincinnati home buyers and sellers,
Bill & Liz aka BLiz