View Full Version : Got a call about a downed tree with bees.

David Baldwin
08-25-2007, 11:16 PM
I got a call at work Friday from a coworker whose neighbor had a tree take a hit in last weeks wind storms.

The old willow really took a hit. The tree split and a large section broke off exposing a large nest of bees. The tree guys asked the homeowner to have someone exterminate the bees or they would have to do it the night before they cut the tree.

So this afternoon I got all geared up and headed out to the site. Of course I left my torch behind and couldn't get my smoker lit to save my life. I found a very large ferel colony of what mostly appeared to be Italians. They were amazingly gentle. They were not at all aggressive, and my foster son stood beside me - not even a hood - while I pulled the comb out of the tree.

Unfortunately there was really no way to save the colony. I looked for the queen, but never found her. The most exciting part was working around the colony of Bald Faced hornets that also occupied that tree, and who were lots more unhappy about my marauding than the honey bees were.

So, I got a bunch of comb for wax, and a bit of honey... but how to extract the honey from this comb???

I've got to give a lot of credit to the ancient mead makers. Essentially, I dropped the comb into a pot of boiling water and skimmed off the wax, bees, larvae etc. NOW I fully understand why they boiled the stuff...

Right now I have no idea what the gravity is. I'll check it in the morning when it has cooled. I'll adjust the gravity as necessary and pitch the yeast.

I'll let you know how it goes.

David Baldwin

08-26-2007, 01:51 AM
I'm envious. I know nothing about apiary but I am truly envious of your chance at true, honest wild honey.

I remember as a small child when the silver maple in front of the house attracted a hive in the big hollow where a branch had been cut off some 70-80 years before. There was this ugly brownish/yellowish slime that covered the visible comb, which was almost a foot and a half across.

The trees had been planted at several years old when the house was built in 1902.

I always knew that if I was willing to dig past the ugly slime, that I would find some beautiful honey. But who wants to get stung when they are 11? Hmmm....