We had a minor bee problem up here in Pescadero Heights. A small swarm had taken up residence in the palapa next door. The cabinet housing the solar system’s batteries was the perfect place to build a new hive and fill it with honey, if you were a bee. Humans needing to access the cabinet weren’t too excited. Janet asked Burt, resident former apiarist, his advice. Without tools for safe bee handling there was nothing fun Burt could do. He suggested leaving them to live in peace or eradication. With no actual humans living under the palapa there was no rush to make a decision. This was the third bee swarm or hive we’d seen in just a couple of months. Dreams of having a honey producing hive filled my head. Burt was ready to make the commitment. Bees in Mexico, unlike Montana, can survive a long time without care. Burt and I made plans to bring a hive and bee protection for next year. If this hive was still around we hoped to safely remove it next season and start our first honey operation.
Word of the bees got going through the palapa grapevine and the next thing we knew a competent local was on the scene. Ing. Jesus Antonio Geraldo from Elias Calles has been keeping bees for over 15 years. At one point he had 40+ hives (colmenas in spanish). Currently he has 10 active hives. Just at sunset, when the bees are heading to bed, Sr. Geraldo gently and thoroughly removed the hive from its home in the cabinet and placed them in a new hive. The new hive (a wooden box with frames that help the bees build orderly honeycombs) was left in place for a day so the bees would all come home to it and then the new hive was removed to a new location. Bees are very important pollinators for the variety of crops grown in the area. Sr. Geraldo shared his deep satisfaction and love for the work. His work only left me more inspired to bring a hive or two down and start keeping bees up here. If I can’t have chickens at least I’ll have some bees. All photos and most fact finding for this post came from our neighbor Janet. Additional reportage by Burt. I was indisposed during the bee transfer.