It was just a few days ago that the Journal-Tribune was invaded with bees. All of a sudden there they were flying around making a lot of noise and scaring everyone back in the print shop, especially those who have had a bee sting. There were hundreds of them inside the building.
As a child, I had several bee stings. I remember stepping on a bee and as a result my foot swelled up. Then there was another tough sting on my finger, which I got as I was picking raspberries off a bush. Apparently I was in the way of the bee. I never saw it and the sting was a painful thing.
As far as I know, I am not allergic in the sense that I would stop breathing from a bee sting. I’m simply the run-of-the-mill person who hates the stinging and pain of it. Hasn’t everyone had at least one bee sting in his or her life?
I do know that it is important to, as quickly as possible, take the stinger out. After that, I have also used meat tenderizer on the spot and it helps alleviate the pain. Now you know all I know, personally, about bee stings, but back to what happened at the Journal-Tribune.
As soon as the bees were spotted, my son Kevin took charge. After seeing that there were hundreds in the air, something had to be done because it was a dangerous situation.
He grabbed a can of insect killer. Some of the J-T employees thought the bees shouldn’t be killed, and, of course, they were right about killing them in large quantities, like 10,000 to 20,000. But these several hundred were just enough to be a big problem, and they were inside flying around the employees instead of outside where they should have been.
A few sprays of insecticide and everything was better. Who knows whether they were angry and ready to sting (whatever makes them that way I don’t know) or if they were drones (males) who do not have a stinger and are simply there for the pleasure of the queen, if you know what I mean. But how can you really tell what they are unless you get close to them. I don’t want to do that.
We discovered later that just since March of 2017 the rusty-patched bumblebees are now protected. They have been in danger of extinction and are important for the pollination of all our food crops. Also, without the pollinators our forests, parks and shrub land and the abundant life they support, cannot survive. President Trump signed the bill and made it law after it had been sitting there for three years through the Obama administration. So, now we know that that bee species is protected, but human life is also at stake here.
It seemed that was the end of it, but then two days later, there they were again, inside the building. So Kevin climbed a ladder to the roof and found the nest up there. Since this situation was clearly bigger than he could handle, he located a beekeeper and asked for help.
Gus Jerew, a beekeeper from Richwood, arrived in an hour and headed to the roof of the Journal-Tribune. Only people who know what they’re doing should do this. Did I even need to say that? Fortunately he came prepared with a protective suit and told me he was only stung once on this job on his leg, but has been stung 25 to 30 times just recently. Seriously, this is a tough job. When I asked him why he did it, he told me it was to help the environment. He has been at it for about four years.
The nest was about 18 x 10 x 4 inches and held 7,000 to 10,000 bees – eek! Gus explained that most of the bees in Ohio are not protected even though many people believe so. The job took him about 15 minutes and as he grabbed the nest he knew he had the queen because all the bees followed it down into a wood box containing 10 frames, where they will be the rest of their lives. There they will live, and produce honey and more bees.
Gus said the swarm (where the bees live) gets full during the summer and the bees produce a second queen. That mating is the job of the drones, you remember. Then the drones are sent out to find a new place for another hive. That might’ve been what was going on when they entered the Journal-Tribune through some tiny hole. When the drones return to the swarm with a possible location for a new hive, the bees do a waggle dance. They communicate to each other with this dance and indicate the direction for a possible new hive. Sadly, those drones that mated with the queen are killed at the end of the summer and new ones are produced.
Gus also pointed out that bees are really intelligent. All I know is, when I see one, I go the other way, as do most people. We forget that some of them are drones and don’t have stingers, but who has time to look for that?
(Melanie Behrens – email@example.com)
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