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Ask An Ambassador: Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes

Real Estate Agent with Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com SAL.2002007747

TL/DR version:   be careful with your blog post topics and comments.

Strap yourself in, the development for this one takes a bit.

Sometimes I push my luck a little further than I should.

This year has been a strange one for weather in our corner of Ohio, cold, warm, cold, rain, more rain, more rain, a roller coaster of weather and scheduling issues that kept us from getting into our beehives for our Spring cleanup and rotation of frames in our hives.  And while our schedule might have been whacked, our honeybees kept on doing what honeybees do in Spring, grow the hive population, gather as much nectar and pollen as they can, and start filling all the cells in the combs with baby bees, honey and pollen.

Get too crowded and the Queen Bee can issue orders that it's time to pack up and leave, a.k.a. swarm.  Scout bees look for a new home, and when the hive gets word they've found some suitable options, the Queen commands "move out" and she and a large portion of the hive residents leave in just a matter of minutes.  As a beekeeper, if you're lucky, you see it happen and hope they take a rest stop in a place you can reach prior to heading out to their new home.  If they do, we have the means of catching that big ball of bees and put them in a new hive box (and hope the Queen is satisfied and stays put in her new home).

This Spring we had a LOT of swarms.  We caught some, we didn't catch others.  Under normal circumstances the leftover bees after a swarm will have a new queen ready to hatch out and they'll continue business as normal as soon as she's mated.

But...if normal doesn't happen, you get what we had, a number of hives with no Queen.  And while the hive is quite busy, it's "dead hive flying".  No Queen, no new bees to replace the existing residents, and within a couple of months, that hive will be empty of bees.  But the good news, you can introduce a new Queen bee to the hive and assuming they accept her, the hive returns to normal operation.

Our mentor is a commercial beekeeper (yes, after 8 years of beekeeping we still have lots to learn) and he raises queens for sale.  Thursday morning we started our day with an early visit to his bee farm (he has about 200 hives...we have 10) to purchase the queens we needed.

Once home, we started the work we needed to get our queens established, and it was extensive (short version, we needed to find brood frames in the healthy hives and transfer to the queenless hives).  When you're in a hive with a queen, you have to be careful not to cause her harm.  There may be 50,000 bees in the hive, and she is THE ONE that matters.  It turned into a long day.  No stop for lunch, no stop for dinner.  Rain was in the forecast and we needed to get all the work done. 

10 hours later and night was coming fast and we had one hive left to work.  And this is when I rolled the dice and played a stupid game.  Night, plus rain in forecast, plus a queenless hive is a bad combo.  A queenless hive can be like a listing agent with no listings and a buyer's agent who just lost the fifth multiple offer of the week, a bit cranky.  And this hive was cranky and the smoker wasn't keeping them calm.  Very quickly, a fair number of bees came out of the hive and started up my glove and arm.  Usually that's no problem, that's why we wear protective gloves and a bee suit.  But I was wearing my back up gloves (slightly thinner than my normal pair and I'd found out the hard way during the day their protection level wasn't the same.  I'd already been stung 3 times in the left hand during the day...part of a beekeepers life, and good for arthritis...or so we're told. 

So it was late, I was worn out after a long day in the bee yard, and didn't really feel like getting stung more times, so I asked Liz to brush the bees off as they raced up my suit and onto my veil.  At this point, I stop the hive work and start walking away quickly to reduce the number of bees after me, and then I realize something that I REALLY didn't want to realize, I was about to win the stupid prize for playing stupid games. 

At my last water break apparently I'd left a small gap in the zipper of the veil to the suit, and I realized I had bees INSIDE my veil.  I don't know how many, but I know it's not going to go well for me because they've got mad bee buzzzzz going on, and then I start to feel the stings across my collarbone as we head back to the house.  Fortunately, each honeybee is only good for ONE sting each, but I knew I had more bees still in my veil.  Once we got back to the house, Liz got the rest off the outside of the suit, and I removed the suit quickly and ducked into the master bath to get rid of any that followed me or were on me.
Lucky night, only 3 stings on the chest and none to the face :)

Here's the thing.  I SHOULD have (and do) know better, but I just wanted to be done with the work and let an artificial deadline push me to take a risk.  Almost every time I've been stung by the bees over the years I can point to something I did that led to it.  Bees will be bees, if you know the rules of the game, you're probably going to be okay.  Play smart, you'll be okay.  Play stupid, win stupid prizes (stings).

Now you may be asking yourself (if I didn't lose you 500 words ago), what this has to do with ActiveRain?

It's really simple.

You can also play stupid games and win stupid prizes in the Rain.

Your selection of blog topics, comments left, questions asked, they're all part of the ActiveRain game and part of forming the impression others have of you, and with that, whether they'll engage with you, send you referrals, recommend you to others, etc.

You can choose to play the smart game.  Build relationships, learn who are the warm fuzzies and cold pricklies, publish material that presents you in a positive light, scroll right past the people that pi$$ you off on a regular basis.  There is zero written obligation for anyone to HAVE to respond to anyone here.

Or you can opt to play the stupid game and win stupid prizes.  Have a glass or two of your favorite beverage, or for the teetotalers, get yourself good and cranky before logging in, then grab the keyboard now that your filter is removed.  Demand certain behaviors from others because YOUR way is the ONLY way.  Go out of your way to go full snark.  Other agents are idiots, don't ya know?  Kick sand on the other Rainers.

Your choice, one set of prizes is very beneficial for you and your business.  The other set, not so much.

It's your choice, every day, as to which game to play and which prizes to win.

Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help,

Bill & Liz aka BLiz

Posted by

Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

The Liz Spear Team of Transaction Alliance
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

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

Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418

MailTo:  Liz@LizSpear.com

Search Homes:  Https://WarrenCountyOhioRealEstate.com

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Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
NC Real Estate Transition & Relocation 919-602-848

Wait, bee stings help with arthritis? I'll have to learn more about that.

Very entertaining story Bill. Unfortunately at your expense. I'm glad to see you were able to turn lemons into lemonade. 

Sometimes you have to shake your head and scroll past the snarky comments. It's those days that you're not feeling it that get you in trouble. What is it they say, mess with the queen and you'll get stung?!

May 21, 2024 06:56 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

In our case, the queen has tens of thousands of other bees to send out to do the stinging.  She can make replacements :)

May 21, 2024 07:39 AM
Ben DeHaven
Haven Realty & Investments - Lakeland, FL
Proudly serving Winter Haven & Lakeland, Florida

I just pulled our second swarm out of an old Buffalo Trace barrel. I tried trapping them out with the cone but decide to go ahead and sacrifice the barrel for the queen. 

May 21, 2024 06:57 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Ben DeHaven , that's pretty new comb!  Not familiar with the cone approach for capture, we've got a bucket head vacuum set up we use to capture our swarms (they have a tendency to land on chain link fence or wrap around a tree trunk) for when they don't just hang from a tree branch.

May 21, 2024 07:41 AM
Ben DeHaven

Liz and Bill Spear its a trap out cone, I've used it to trap them out of a block wall before. You put a 5 frame box with a frame from another hive in it and the bees come out and cant get back in and go into the nuc box. I was trying to save the barrel but decided to bust the top out, I'll make it a planter. 

May 21, 2024 07:43 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Ben DeHaven , thanks for the explanation!  We've not had to deal with any swarms other than out in the open.  Our hives tend to go to two different spots for their rest stop where we can catch them.

Glad you can still use the barrel as a planter, would be a shame to totally lose the barrel, but free bees :)

May 21, 2024 09:08 AM
John Marshall - FORE!
LoKation Real Estate - Cherry Hills Village, CO
Specializing in Golf Course Properties

I am always fascinated by your beehive stories and learn something every time I read them, about bees and also about AR and proper ways to act here. I noticed a few snarky remarks a couple years back on one of my posts from a very prominent Rainer, instead of replying or saying anything I opted to ignore, but also stayed away from the Rain for quite a while, I did not want to pi$$ off the queen bee and all of her loyal followers.

May 21, 2024 07:33 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

John, some times it pays to know the who's who of a particular place.  There are some Facebook groups if I see a particular commenter, I'm out.  Dealing with their particular brand of crazy isn't on my daily to do list.

May 21, 2024 07:42 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

great information regarding Bees. I did not know.. Thanks for sharing it.

Have a super fantastic week!

Bill Salvatore, Realtor- Arizona Elite Properties

May 21, 2024 08:31 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Happy to do a little bee educating in the Rain :)

May 21, 2024 09:10 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

I can sometimes be a little slow but am I to determine that someone that just puts a generic comment on a post is less likely to get a referral or show themselves for what they truly may be?

My experiences with bees, aside from spelling, is to walk a wide path.

May 21, 2024 08:49 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Ed, similar, I'm looking to get to know someone and how they react.  If I see someone that has is constantly in a ruckus, they're not getting a referral.

Our hives our in our back yard, but those bees can work a two mile radius, so we see them everywhere around our yard.  Sometimes they come up to us directly to check us out.  As long as they're not in mad bee mode, no problem.  If they are, I'm clearing the zone!

May 21, 2024 09:12 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Bill you had me captivating reading and learning about the bee process. It is fascinating, to say the least. And your analogy to playing in the rain is perfect!

Thank goodness you didn't get stung more (albeit once or twice would be enough for me). I look forward to hearing more about your bee process as the summer goes on.


Featured in BananaTude!

May 21, 2024 10:05 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

The bee stings have mostly faded :)
Thanks for the group feature!

May 21, 2024 10:16 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Liz and Bill Spear - your bee stories have always been a fascination with me! About the only thing I know about bees is what you publish here on your AR blog post. I do know that I love honey! The price of honey has skyrocketed at all the stores where I purchase a jar of honey. Now I understand why! I didn't realize if the bees and the climate aren't just right there could be failure. I always knew the Queen Bee was important, but not to the extent you explained. I wish you good luck and the best!

Also, weather related and how it impacts any other type of business is something many people take for granted and can adjust, buy a bigger umbrella, work out of the home, get over the rain and get on with business, or wait for the weather to change. But to someone like you, it requires figuring things out, adjusting, improvising, if necessary, taking risks (bee stings), continuous education and learning, etc. I wouldn't even know where to start if I had to relocate bee hives and start over in another location. WOW! Your stories would be perfect for consumers and would make a very important book for anyone thinking about becoming a beekeeper is easy and the profits are sweet. 

I have never been stung by a bee, but the first time I got stung be a wasp, I had to be rushed to the ER and they gave me a shot of epinephrine. I don't mess around where I don't belong, it's kind of like real estate. I stick to my niche, geographically located residential real estate. 

Regarding the cost, I tried cheaper honey, but the quality isn't there. Just like the real estate business, or any worthwhile business, if quality lacks, buyers don't buy. And when consumers post reviews, people are more inclined not to buy if they don't like the comments.

It's kind of like the comments on a blog post. Sure, I can delete but I have gotten stung badly by others who remembered, long past the expiration date from when it was posted. Amazing! Never would I dream in a million years to capture a post or comments and keep them on hand for ammunition at a later date.  Sadly, I've learned that social media doesn't exactly mean social anymore. 

I am very glad to hear you didn't get stung worse and very glad that Liz was there in your time of need. I wish you the very best with your beehive business. Oh, and by the way, I found a brand of Honey and Royal Jelly that has the quality I like. It's a product from Spain (honey 98% and royal jelly 2%). For now, I'll pay the price for quality. If you start marketing your products to TX, let me know, I would be interested! 

Bill, I'm sorry if my writing got the best of me and I couldn't stop. I hope you can forgive me. However, if you find it's too annoying, please private message me. I don't mind and I don't want to tick you off. 

May 21, 2024 01:11 PM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

I Love Bee stories.  They are so fascinating.  Busy little Bees....

May 21, 2024 01:33 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Definitely! In general we've been told they don't like to come out unless it's over 50 degrees, but we've noticed ours are apparently a bit more cold hardy and will appear in the mid to upper 40s looking for food and water for the hive.

May 21, 2024 02:45 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Bill:

That was quite an interesting story about your bees and I read it all, including the analogous lesson for participating on AR. Choosing to play the smart game is of course the right way to do it. Creating the wrong buzz can be deadly to your reputation.


May 21, 2024 03:54 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

ohhhh...I see what you did there....buzzzzzzzz :)

May 21, 2024 03:58 PM
Matt Brady
Watermark Capital - Del Mar, CA
One of San Diego's Best Equity Advisors

Liz and Bill, First, let me say I am usually very sarcastically funny. Second, sarcasm is really hard in written form. I love that you are keeping bees and finding your way. Hopefully, in the future they will let you bee.

May 21, 2024 03:54 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Matt, I've wished many times there was a true SARCASM font to make it obvious in written form.  I've got a heavy dose of that gene too, but I usually save it for in person encounters :)

May 21, 2024 03:59 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

What a cool post and words to the wise AR writers.  Read every word as I know you have detailed information worth sharing, another point to your content suggestions.  It's critical to provide something of value, something worth reading!  Love seeing your detailed information about bees as I learn something every time.   How cool that your grandfather was a beekeeper! 


  That said, I have a post that is on the brain and thanks to your directive, I'll write with laser focus on this next one as it's my speciality.  My reward, 3 AR referrals that have closed so far this year.  What we write matters!

May 21, 2024 06:48 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ , that's a pretty nice supplement to your business from ActiveRain! 

My mom says my grandfather had up to 60 hives.  I can remember him selling honey to the tourists in Cass, WV as a kid.  He could look at the honey and tell you what blooms the bees had worked.  He seemed to know everything there was to know about that mountain area!

May 21, 2024 08:33 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ

Thanks Liz and Bill!  That is an amazing story to pass down - knowing what blooms bees had worked?!  Wow!  

May 21, 2024 08:47 PM
Jacki Tait, CLHMS
Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert - Flagstaff, AZ
Finding Your Place in Flagstaff, Arizona

Nice! I didn't know where you were going, but nicely brought together to make an important point!  Whether here on AR or anywhere else in real estate, relationships are everything. And (to keep the insect theme going) we all know you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar 😉

May 21, 2024 07:45 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Jacki Tait, CLHMS , beautiful area where you live!  Have been through a couple of times on vacations over the years.

And you're right, business relationships are critical.  Be a jerk and it gets remembered, be a good partner and that gets remembered too.

May 21, 2024 08:31 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

Point taken! But, what should you have done, since you were running out of daylight and you needed to "plant" the last queen in her new home? Could it have waited until the next day?

May 22, 2024 06:48 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Pat, As it turned out, it did have to wait until the next day.  That hive was being too aggressive to do the work we needed to do, so we went back out with a flashlight, put another box on top of the open hive and put the top back on.  We kept the queen in her own container overnight, then added her the next day after everyone had calmed down.

May 22, 2024 07:11 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

I am always impressed by those who raise and care for bees. It is a hard and often thankless task with too many opportunities to get stung, even when you know what you are doing. Glad your prizes were limited, and hope you recover quickly.

May 22, 2024 12:33 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 , other than a few little marks, pretty much back to normal a week later.  I may go months between getting stung, but then have one of those Uh Oh moments where I get multiples. 

May 22, 2024 12:38 PM
Caroline Gerardo
Licensed in 20 states - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

Did you take children's Benadryl after the stings? Drink fluids.


May 23, 2024 05:09 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

No Benadryl, I'll take if it's bad enough (e.g. a facial sting), but swelling wasn't too bad.

May 24, 2024 07:31 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

I much enjoyed this blog. Years ago, my uncle had bees on his ranch. I helped build the boxes as a young boy but I stayed away from the bees. My uncle also had many chickens and sold eggs and honey.

May 24, 2024 07:47 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

We don't have chickens yet, but Liz has ideas about them for our next home. 

May 24, 2024 08:41 AM
Elyse Berman, PA
LoKation Real Estate - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

Good morning Liz and Bill Spear ,  I read your whole story.  I had no idea so much work went into caring for bees.  And, of course, great analogy,  I’m glad you’re okay and didn’t sustain but a few stings

May 26, 2024 03:29 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Elyse, there are times we don't have to do anything for weeks on end, just monitor.  Then there are other times like this where it's labor intensive for a few days.  We still have to extract the honey from the frames we pulled, but fortunately honey keeps well.

May 26, 2024 11:47 AM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

It can't feel good getting kicked in the Funyuns by bees! LOL 🐝

It's always good to think in terms of 'living to fight another day'!!!

May 26, 2024 06:45 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

It's the 2nd time I've had a hive determined to get me, but a first time they got INSIDE my suit.  My bad :)

May 26, 2024 11:48 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Liz and Bill,

I included your post in Last Week's Favorites on ActiveRain.  So thank you for writing it!




Jun 02, 2024 08:35 AM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

I love this post so much. And yes, as a new beekeeper, there is SO much to learn. We have seen a lot of swarms in our area as well. I am keeping a close eye on our hive and so far everything looks good.

Jun 05, 2024 11:40 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

I was just out taking a quick look at our hives for activity and to see how our two newest hives appear.  So far, decent coming and going.  Too early since we started them to go inside and look for new brood, but it won't be much longer until we can confirm everything is going as hoped.

Jun 05, 2024 11:43 AM