Hive in the wall
The bees showed up around 2017. Or I noticed them then, swarming into a space below the wood soffit and into the top of a granite stone wall on the northeast outer wall, adjacent to the kitchen. Shocked at first, my discovery coincided with a warning shot given to the world: bees were disappearing, dying off, due to a confluent of maladies: pesticides, drought, habitat destruction, nutrition deficit, air pollution, global warming and more. I easily loved and wanted to protect them, noting that a master teacher Eon, mentioned they would manifest as a bee now and then, which has held true for decades, even an odd winter visit.
There were many different colonies over the years, some less aggressive than others. I skipped mowing the lawn near the walled hive during the spring/summer, which grew into a mini field of volunteer flowers/plants and hangout of fireflies. I maintained a bowl of water on the porch with resting stones for bees, wasps, geckos and cats...all took their turn.
As time progressed, the bees began to get into the kitchen. I plugged up sockets and gaps but still they appeared, trapped, begging and banging at the windows to the freedom outside. I devised a simple glass cup/postcard method to gingerly trap the bees and set them out. Those unnoticed and hence near death were placed in the flower planter at eye level so I could watch over them. Most would rouse, I was constantly thrilled by a bee’s will to survive to serve her Queen and nature. During the fall, an occasional displaced Queen bee would be found inside, larger and hardier than her workers. A deep respect came over me releasing her back into the world, so much chance and fate ahead for finding her next domain.
Stings came with the territory, all from those that dropped to the floor late at night. Inadvertently stepping on an angry, weary bee in the dark, an electric shock from the venom traveled quickly up my leg and into my system, as painful as when I was a kid. I’d have tweezers and a magnifying glass accessible to pull out the stinger, then applied ice, clay and/or turmeric pastes, arnica, calamine lotion, randomly remembering remedies as my mind calmed. Bee venom is said to contain active peptides and enzymes to treat inflammation and diseases of the central nervous system. I blessed and wished for the benefit, but, dang, ouch.
A week ago, in March 2022, the bee colony was removed by a beekeeper from Dallas, who’s Salvadorian family has tended bees for decades. A sad but necessary thing, the bees needed to be in a safer, controlled environment. I was rescuing and releasing up to 12 trapped bees a day. I did, however, give the current colony fair warning of the rehoming, whispering to the Queen in the wall, to the goddess Quan Yin, and to a few bees I released back to the hive.
Inclement storms canceled the first removal day. The next, Sammy showed up and carefully removed several heavy granite stones and cut away wood framing, ready to coax the bees into a canister to a new home.
Between the granite walls at the roof, a dark cave revealed old and newer honeycombs created by thousands of bees over the years. But there was not one bee in sight. Sammy was surprised. So, the Queen and workers must have listened, heard, and decided to vamoose. Sammy took some bee combs, and I kept several to melt into wax, most likely for furniture polish and other topical products as the combs are older.
Honey comb, old and new.
I do dearly miss the bee energy in the wall. Some mornings, I could hear a faint and very active hum as they went about their business. How lovely to be so close and chosen by our friends the bees for all those years.
Sammy removing the comb, but the bees had already flown.