Bees in an icebox
This story from a brand new beekeeper is filled with the excitement of acquiring that very first colony. Her passion—and the odd place she found her bees—makes for a fun read. Thanks, Lisa, for sharing your story.
I am very new to this even though I have family members up in Ohio that are beekeepers; I wish they were here in Texas to help me.
I noticed that there were not as many honeybees in my yard or anywhere else like there use to be, so I thought I could help by becoming a beekeeper. I even called the Texas Apiary Inspection Service (TAIS) about where I could purchase honeybees. I was told I would not be able to find any because most beekeepers were out, but to catch a hive if I could, and was told what to do. I began to slowly buy my equipment.
I drive a school bus out in the hill country and for the longest time we didn’t have a office but an icebox that we used to store our keys and papers. Yes, it is redneck, but we finally got a trailer for an office—but no toilets!
Our old office still sits under a massive oak tree and the maintenance men still cut the grass around the old icebox. One day, a bus tech was watching it and started to complain to the drivers that it was invested with bees and needed to be destroyed!!! The drivers came to me and told me of the situation.
I went to the old icebox with four other drivers, and we watched a small hole in the back were the plastic had come off. Not once did we get attacked! I got my phone out and recorded as I slowly opened it. The drivers and I saw the most beautiful creation ever!!! In the corner, top, six golden honey combs are hanging with yellow honeybees!!! We knew it would be destroyed by the school once they found out; school was ending in three days, which meant that I could not get back in once the gates were locked up for the summer!!!
I sent the video to my Uncle in Ohio and called him a few minutes later. He told me what to do but I had to do it at night so none of the bees would be left behind, and he thinks they are Italian. Saturday night, my husband and I had a date with the honeybees. We went back, watching the little entrance were they go in and out, nothing, all is still. With my gloves on, twisted newspaper in one hand, and strips of duct tape in the other, I began to plug it up!!! The honeybees were furious but never got out.
The icebox has a metal stand attached to it, which made it so much bigger to carry so we had to have our faces up against it!!! You could hear and feel them moving inside and they were mad!!! We loaded it up into the truck gently and strapped it down so that it would not slide around as we drive home; a 15-minute drive seemed like forever because we drove so slow. We unloaded the truck and waited for an hour to remove the plug. Once we removed the plug, some of the honeybees came out but went back in.
The next morning I had to work at my second job but when I got home, my husband ever so gently put a chain under and around the steel base of the icebox and put a lock on it so no one could open it nor steal our hive. He said that the bees never stung him, just flew around him to see what he was doing and left him alone when they saw he was not going to harm their hive.
Once I get my tbh, how do I transfer their combs into the tbh? I thought of unscrewing the lid off but the screws are so rusting I don’t think it will be possible. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Spring Branch, TX.