A Slight Miscalculation Can Be Painful

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com SAL.2002007747

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. 

honeybee swarm

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

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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas


The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418

MailTo:  Liz@LizSpear.com

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Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

We get bee hives every season in our Pepper Trees. Fortunately they are HOA manged and a comfortable distance from our patio. But, they add beauty to our view, bees to my garden and an attention getting buzz on quiet mornings.

May 17, 2020 11:32 AM #16
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

We make many miscalcs during our lifetimes.  Hopefully we quickly recover and take a better route to reach an objective!  Hope you are recovering well.  Who would have known you like to tend to bees??

May 17, 2020 02:04 PM #17
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

I couldn't read fast enough to see who won, you or the bees!  Yes, planning and preparation in real estate are so important.  A professional agent will anticipate potential roadblocks and be prepared for the unexpected, which will surely happen!  Thanks for sharing a great story!

May 17, 2020 02:17 PM #18
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 702-574-8102

As a big admirer of bee keepers, thanks for the analogy betwen life of Nature's bees and life in real estate.  So glad it worked out with minor mishap and back to stingless days!

May 17, 2020 02:47 PM #19
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Precarious hobby! The only thing I know about bees are from a great book "The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honeybees  Feed America." It was long but very worth it.

And I agree - real estate can be precarious too!

May 17, 2020 02:52 PM #20
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Liz and Bill Spear - All I can do is shake my head and say WOW!. 

I had no idea when I read this what it was going to be about.  This is the second post I read today that had something to do with bees.  It was very strange to read about this since I just finished up with a beekeeper to remove a swarm that hit my backyard.  It was closer to the smaller one of the two you had.  In my entire life, I have never seen a swarm, let alone had one settle in my backyard. I am just lucky to have a client who is a beekeeper in training and he and pro training him could come on a Sunday to remove the bees!  

May 17, 2020 06:55 PM #21
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I've never been a fan of any insects...especially the stinging ones. My husband is allergic so that adds to my anxiety when they are around. Over the years I've learned that there is a difference and the honey bees are not generally something I need be worried about. I actually watched (much closer than I ever thought I would be) a bee keeper and her hives during a demonstration a couple of years ago and was quite proud of my brave self. LOL

May 18, 2020 07:10 AM #22
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post!  I can see why Kathy chose to highlight it this week!

May 18, 2020 07:24 AM #23
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Bill, this was an astonishing story and a pleasure to read. It gave me smiles all the way. The lesson was a bonus!!

May 18, 2020 03:34 PM #24
Jeannie Kong-Evarts
Maui Real Estate Advisors, LLC - Wailea, HI
Maui Real Estate Expert~Island Wide Service

You have a wonderful way of story telling. Thank you for sharing


May 18, 2020 06:40 PM #25
Greg Mona
eXp Realty - Chandler, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Great story Liz and Bill Spear! You're a brave man! While I'm somewhat allergic to bee stings, it would have been the lightning that I'd have been more worried about! Glad all ended well. I loved the analogies between the bees and real estate. Keep those stories coming! 

May 18, 2020 07:28 PM #26
Lauren Williams, CPO, CVO
Casual Uncluttering LLC - Woodinville, WA
Professional Organizer: Puget Sound homes

Liz and Bill Spear OHMIGOSH what a fantastic post!!!!! A dramatic, comedic story told with creative zest, I for one learned something new about you and then the honey-in-the-comb you manage to tie it to real estate. One of the best posts I've ever read here. Lauren

May 18, 2020 08:29 PM #27
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I'm glad you aren't allergic. That many stings would have done some people in for good.

We've never tried bee keeping, but my husband does love the locally produced honey!

May 18, 2020 09:29 PM #28
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

It’s all in how we respond it and receive it a lot of times and you seem to have right outlook, Liz and Bill. Thank goodness you’re OK!

May 18, 2020 09:49 PM #29
Susan McCall, Helping with smiles and care!
Compass Realty Solutions - Portland, OR
Listing and Buyer's Agent

 This has been so much fun reading about your bee antics.  I don't know how you have the time with all the pets and the bees.  Any other secrets that you are keeping quiet about for another day?

May 18, 2020 10:52 PM #30
Ted Glover
Alderman Classic Realty, LLC - Moultrie, GA
ABR in Moultrie, Georgia 229-854-5422

 Liz and Bill I could see as I read the story.  As in life and real estate things can change and cause havoc. Being prepared and well-suited can get you through most all obstacles.

May 19, 2020 05:35 AM #31
Brian DeYoung
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ithaca, NY
Brian DeYoung

Sharing these types of stories is what keeps it all real.

Good health to you.

Nica analogy btw.

May 19, 2020 06:21 AM #32
Thom Abbott
MyMidtownMojo.com |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

YOU THE MAN!!! Considering I got stung as a kid some 20 times by yellow jackets, I'm on a dead run if bees are around...and can stip my car on a dime as well if one gets inside. 

As for the miscalculation, just trying closing a loan with Wells Fargo....

May 19, 2020 09:41 AM #33
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Wow!  Thank you for sharing how you moved a hive!  I've never been involved but always curious how that works.  I'd be scared to death doing that.  I hope your stings heal quickly!  Good analogy;)

May 19, 2020 09:47 AM #34
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

that sounds like a lot of pain (the stings) and I agree that the failure to have an agent or the right agent is a risk that can sting with a lot of intensity.  

I recently had out of state buyers from a market that apparently is very different.  They looked at me like I had three heads when I suggested where to start with an offer.  But I both know my market and the history that agent has of list vs sales prices and how hard she pushes her clients to "get the deal".  There are so many ways for agents to have an edge.

May 19, 2020 10:28 PM #35
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