Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees

They say that bees can smell fear. I think this must be true, because there isn't much more in this world that scares Bill than bees (thanks to a childhood allergy that almost killed him) and our house has become a favorite place for bees to make their homes. If you walk along the perimeter of our house and look at our eaves, you will find a plethora of little honeycomb-shaped hives, with wasps, yellow jackets, and all varieties of bees swarming around. We buy bee killer spray in bulk.

Several weeks ago Bill was mowing the lawn and as he passed our irrigation pump box, out came an army of bees, going crazy. (He may or may not have run away screaming like a little girl.) We knew there had to be a good sized honeycomb hive in there, but we were not about to open it until those suckers were dead. Bill sprayed bee killer in the hole, then taped the hole up. (Imagine him rubbing his hands together and laughing, "Mwaaaaaa haaaaaa haaaaaa.")

Flash forward to Saturday. We had noticed that no bees had come out for a week or more. We decided it was safe to open it up. I was expecting maybe a fist-sized honeycomb hive (I don't really know if that's what they're called, but whatever), maybe a little bigger.

What we saw, instead, made our jaws drop.


It was an...actual....BEEHIVE!!
Like, the basketball-sized ones you see in movies!!
Unfortunately, they had attached it to both the lid and the valve below, so when Bill opened the lid, it broke apart.

It was seriously one of THE COOLEST things I have ever seen in my life. I took a million pictures and we just couldn't stop staring at it, touching it, studying it. You can see how the actual hives are inside, stacked together, and the outer ball part is this feather-light, papery substance that protects it.

I had Bill hold it together so we could see what it looked like before it broke.

Look at the size of that sucker!! You should have seen how many dead bees were trapped inside it, and covering the floor of the irrigation box.

A bee apartment complex. How cool is that?
So cool that we can't bring ourselves to throw it away.
It's still sitting in our garage.
Anyone's kid need a good show and tell?


MARISA said...

That is stinkin' cool! How amazing is it that those scary little things can create that!? Thanks for sharing, and I'm glad Bill didn't get stung.

tharker said...

So cool, yet so very scary to me at the same time. I may or may not run away screaming like a little girl if I ever encounter one of those puppies.

You're right though, this would make the coolest Show and Tell ever!

Ben and Alissa said...

It's huge! (and I'm refraining from typing "that's what she said", oh wait. I just did ;) That is so awesome, oh my gosh!

I can't believe how many bees must have been in there, scary! And either way if Bill did or did not run away screaming like a little girl, it's still funny.

meohmyers said...

What the crap?! I can't believe how huge that thing is!!! That's so crazy. It's so funny when we're inside and watch Jeff outside freaking out swatting the air doing the bumble bee dance. He is also deathly afraid of bees. Seriously, that is amazing. I'm so impressed that Bill was able to lift the lid! He's so brave! :)

Davis Family said...

I have to admit the first thing I thought was "they must wait as long as we do to mow the lawn if the hive got that big before the bees came out" then I felt bad and thought "not everyone waits until dishes/toys/kids are getting lost in the grass before it gets mowed."

That was pretty darn cool though, any honey?

Amy J. said...


That sucker is huge and one of the coolest things ever! Anderson and I just kept saying "Oh my heck...oh my heck...holy cow!!!"
I bet your kids classes would like to show it! Kindergarten is always looking for nature things to share! I would ask them if they want to use it in class! Crazy!!!

Noelle said...

totally cool. totally cool. glad you took so many pictures. that is AWESOME!!!

Aubrey said...


That is so awesome! I wish we could have all seen Bill run and scream like a little girl! BWA HA HA HA HA!!!!

Connie said...

I think Bill doesn't look too sure to be opening it in that picture right here...I can only imagine how scarey but wow, how cool is that to get to see!

Amy said...

HOLY COW!!! That is some serious bee real estate. Wow. That is just crazy.

Amy said...

p.s. I hate bees.

Johnston Gang said...

wow! that is amazing and sickning (is that a word?) all at the same time!
i hope you are feeling better... it's the worst feeling down in the dumps. i hate stinkin hormones! hope you are smiling today!!!

Vanessa said...

Wow! As someone with a bee fear, this really creeps me out. I haven't been online much and I just read your back posts. I'm sorry you've been having such a rough time and please let me know if I can help.

Svenja said...

What a wild life right at your door…

Lisa said...

more impressive in person...i must say. you know, you and bill really need to quit fighting the inevitable...you're going to be bee farmers.

Kristi said...

I am so glad it wasn't me who had to deal with that! I can't believe how big that was. At least now you won't have so many bees around. Way to go, Bill, for overcoming his fear of bees to protect his family! Yech.