Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quality Time With the Bees

EVERYONE in Tulsa who has bees, likes bees, hates them, or uses the letter “b” in common speech knows Carl. (some of the foregoing sentence might contain slight exaggeration).

Although there are many knowledgeable bee-folks who are willing to impart their wisdom, Carl seems to be the go-to BEE-guy for equipment, fast advice and common sense. Carl invites the bee club (NEOBA) membership on excursions in his apiary (bee yard). On Saturday, (May 16) I, with my camera, and Kelly, with his bee-suit, I trekked to Turley for one such event.

I can’t say what Kelly got out of the day, but I got these photos to share.

Things to look for: find the queen; see a drone cell (hint--the comb has a dome); see the bee drinking honey; a bee with pollen; Della in the red hat.


On Tuesday (5/12) evening we noticed the bees were literally hanging out of the bottom of the hive. They were still in such a state the next morning. We figured they were running out of space –so, on Wednesday (5/13), I called in to work and said I had a BEE-mergency and was taking a day of BEE-ternity leave.

I was afraid that the girls were getting ready to flee, so I put out this bit of honey as an enticement to stay. (or, maybe to lure someone for a photo).

I finished building out the frames and installing the wax foundation for the new brood box. Kelly came home at lunch, suited up, lit the smoker, and opened up the hive. I, bravely wearing no protective clothes (well I was wearing clothing, but no bee gear), stood near by and took photos.


I felt something in my hair and reached my hand back. It felt like there were about 50 bees in my hair. So, exercising the calm, modulated, cool reaction that I usually display, I began slapping at my head. OF COURSE, I got stung. Quite uncharacteristically, that caused me to go running screaming (probably unprintable words) into the house.

Whereupon, all the while worrying about the attacking hoard of bees I was introducing to the inner sanctum of our home, I cleverly put my head under the cold shower. Then I combed the offending insects out of my hair. In fact, the attacking hoard turned out to be just a single small, now dead, and drenched pitiful looking bee.


Much to my surprise, but not at all to Kelly’s, he finished up with the bees alone, entirely without my advice and consent.

The photographic offerings from this event are somewhat limited, owing to my selfish preoccupation with self preservation.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Photo Opp

We've had the bees for a month and every few minutes we are home, one of us runs outside to check on them and then reports about the activity. If Kelly comes home for lunch during the workday, he calls to tell me what the bees are doing.

So far the reports have been pretty similar and go like this. . .

Whew--weee! Those bees are busy. They are really buzzin' around.
They are bringing back gobs of pollen.

A steady diet of that same observation repeated over and over may seem a bit boring, but so far we haven't tired of it. In fact, the gobs of pollen thing is fascinating. You can see the pollen on the legs of the bees returning to the hive. Some of the pollen is almost white, some a pale yellow, some orange, and some almost gold.

Capturing a photo of the bees has been almost impossible, cause they won't pose. And, it is difficult to focus the camera close enough to get a shot. At some point I acquired some macro filters, which are really just magnifying glasses you screw on to your lens. I fitted them to my camera and knelt in the mud next to the hive, bracing my arm against the top of it--shoo'd Chai out of the way, got my lens inches from the hive, focused on a spot and waited. This little overachiever roamed into my view.

Most of the little guys don't have a load. quite this big. Maybe that's why he stopped to rest where I could get a shot.

The macro filters are also good for taking photos of flowers. Here is a honeysuckle in the yard.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I do
When Kelly and I went to get our bees--I took lots of photos.
Here is Bob the Bee Guy, getting into the hive to get us our bees.
Here's the first frame he took out to show us.

We got 5 such frames, all equally full of bees, plus a queen. We saw the queen, but I didn't get a picture of her.

Our dogs, two standard poodles, Chai and Bentley, check out their new "friends."
ai, the cream colored dog, is most curious and continues to be so. I think he's been stung once, but that doesn't keep him from running up to the hive and sniffing around EVERY time he goes outside.
Bentley (the black dog) is much less interested in the bees and keeps a safe distance.


Husband Kelly’s answer to that is “why anything?” As good as that answer may be, I like mine better.

It all started well over 20 years ago when every time we visited the Tulsa State Fair, Kelly would search out the booth manned by the local bee club and begin asking questions. He’d continue with his questions far beyond the point when politeness (and I) dictated he should stop and leave. That Kelly would ignore my hints is not surprising, but If you know Kelly, you know his is always polite, so that he abandoned politeness really says something.

Every year he’d ask the same questions. Then we had kids. Eventually the kids accompanied us to the fair and they’d stir about while their dad asked his annual bee questions. They got older and began making fun of their dad’s search for the bee people’s booth and his incessant questioning of them. Then, the kids grew up and went to college, and I was left to make fun of Kelly all by myself.

In September 2008 at the Tulsa State Fair once again Kelly found the Bee People, he asked questions, but this time he took a flier about the upcoming beekeeping class. What’s more, he enrolled in the class and every Saturday for weeks, we trekked to the class, had donuts and coffee, and learned about bees.

In November, we put together our first bee hive. Kelly got a bee suit for Christmas.
And finally, on April 8, 2009, we got bees.