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Summer Discount Special!

Summer Special Bee Removal Discount

Bee and wasp season is in full swing and there’s buzzing all around!  Because we love you and our bees we’re giving everyone a special discount of 25% off our standard rates.  This even applies to our FREE Flagstaff Bee Swarm removal service!  Usually FREE, now even FREE..uh..ER!

The Moment of Truth…

I recently got a call from someone needing a bee swarm removed in the Prescott Valley of Arizona.  Although it’s about a 1 1/2 hour drive down there, I felt like this would be a great opportunity to get the word our about our bee removal and re-homing services.  Currently we have a waiting list in the Flagstaff area of people and groups wanting bees or hives.  So when I got the call from someone saying they had a swarm in their tree I thought I should really jump on the opportunity.

Swarms are much easier to collect and a lot less work than established hives.  When bees swarm and ball up they tend to be much less aggressive and simply focused on staying together and finding a new home, rather than defending their hive and attacking people…but then again this is killer bee territory.  Ok, so maybe they have gotten a bad wrap, and don’t really deserve the term “killer”.  But there are also good reasons for that name, as a number of people, pets, and livestock have been the victim of these particular strain of Africanized hybrid bees that have been slowly spreading from Brazil in the 1950’s and entering into the US by 1990, becoming the most successful invasive takeover of any other species of plant or animal.  Most of southern Arizona is 90% Africanized territory, whereas here in Flagstaff we’re probably hovering around 30%.  So that means that down near the middle we’ve got around a 50/50 chance of encountering an Africanized (killer) bee swarm.  Something not favorable for most re-homing situations.

Thinking about this I began to wonder. Was my journey down south going to be successful?  Would it be worth my time?  Would I be able to find a home for these ladies, or would they be too difficult to pass on to someone else?  Apart from simply being able to help out someone in need of removal, I also found out that the lady requesting our help was highly allergic to bees and even carried an epi-pen.  So I figured “Hey, helping someone out in need, plus a little road trip, experience, and the potential for new bees for those on our waiting list? Why not?”  Driving down south to the Prescott Valley area I went a little off the main roads in the area to a charming country home that was idyllic for living the farm-to-fork lifestyle.  Meeting Melanie as I got there, she showed me around a bit. Herb gardens, fruit trees, fancy free-range chickens, geese, cats, dogs, and…bees.

Prescott Valley Bee Swarm BallThere they were, the reason why I had come all this way.  As I approached one of the small cherry trees they had planted, there was a black void about the size of a football in the midst of green leaves.  The bee swarm.  After talking with Melanie for a few minutes about the nature of bees and swarms and my plans to remove and re-home them, I had her retreat back to the safety of her house since she was allergic and because after all, this was potential “killer bee country”.  The last thing I would want to happen would for her to get stung by my shaking up the swarm.  So there I was, just me, the bees, and a pen of chickens nearby clucking and cooing nervously.

When approaching a bee removal, most of what you do for the first half of removal is survey the situation, plan a course of action, change that plan, get a drink of water, think of your alternative removal options, check for holes and openings in your outfit, and pray to the Maker that a bee doesn’t find its way up the inside of your pant leg.  The easiest way to remove the bees in a swarm like like this would be to cut the branch they’re on, lower it into the box, brush them off and go home.  That wasn’t going to be an option here.  Being a young fruit tree I didn’t want to remove any branches, and besides, they were balled at an intersection of about 3 different branches.  Time for plan B.

Time for the moment of truth…

Was this an Africanized colony?  Would they go crazy and prevent any sort of easy capture?  Would they find their way up my pant leg and totally ruin my day and potential for future child-rearing?  Time to find out.  So just how do you get a swarm of bees out of a tree?  You shake them off. Grab hold of the branch and shake them off so that they come crashing down through the branches and leaves, plummeting towards the earth…hopefully in a precisely quasi-calculated direction near the boxes you have beneath.  When you shake them the inescapable force of gravity hurdles them downward into a box, branch, ground, or foot…resulting in a Hiroshima cloud of black and yellow. You then calmly step back through the mellifica maelstrom of 10,000 little dive-bombers to survey the carnage and regroup.

So there I was with my hand on the branch, thinking through this all…and over thinking some issues (mostly pant leg related ones).  Well, there’s no time like the present.  Sorry ladies.  Here we go.  Showtime.

Remember that frightening sound when you’ve fallen asleep on the couch watching a movie and the VCR powers off?  For some reason the pocket-protecting  powerminds that created and built the technology of the tv decided to play the world’s greatest practical joke.  The invention of the loudest 15 seconds of your life…white noise.  That insanely loud “chshhhhhhhhhh” that makes you jump up in a panic, frantically pushing every button on the tv (except the right one) trying in vain to end the chaotic interpretive dancing of black and white squiggles across your screen, while blasting all at once every sound known to man through those speakers.  For you progeny of the 90’s and beyond, you have no idea what I mean and have just wasted 30 seconds of your life.  My practical joke on you.

Recall that sound and startled feeling, and you might understand what it’s like when you’ve shaken a swarm of bees out of a tree. Roaring white noise, and chaotic squiggles dancing in every direction.  Step…back…slowly.  Did the queen come down with most of the bees, or is she still remaining on the branch with 1/3 of the bees?  Who knows.  Can’t tell.  Gotta re-shake the branch.  More bees, more chaos, more pant leg checking.  Repeat this process a few times.  Literally grab a handful of bees off the branch and shake them into the sea of other bees in the little hive box.  Hey, look at this!  They’re all starting to collect themselves into the same box now.  Bees from the branch, the grass, other boxes, your face…all starting to make their way back together.  Now to collect the stragglers with a little help from the girls.

Prescott Valley Bee Swarm FunnelTake the bee box about 20 feet away from the tree which still smells like where the bees balled up at, put a lid with a hole in it on top, and let the little ladies call everyone else home. The booty call.  Backsides high in the air and standing on their tippytoes a small gathering of bees begin to fan their wings around the hive box entrance while wafting pheromones into the air, signaling to any bees in the air that this is where they’ve all gone and to join them.  Take a little plastic funnel called a “bee escape”, reverse it, place it over the hole, and you have a swarm straggler collection device!  One by one the bees make their way down the funnel and into the box, while having a hard time going back out the funnel in the opposite direction. Pretty soon the tree and air is nearly devoid of bees, and they’re all in the box.  This is when you open your mind to the possibility that you’ve done it.  You’ve actually pulled this off.  And then you realize that these bees aren’t all that aggressive and haven’t been trying to destroy you.  Even after going through all that, they still seem pretty mild-mannered and easy going.  Wow.  I could have a potential workable hive here!

After clean-up and talking to Melanie a bit more about her animal and gardening operation there, she went out of her way with a donation for gas and my time, and a handful of herbs she’s been growing in her front garden.  A fair trade I’d say.  Isn’t that what life, neighbors, and even complete strangers should be about?  Helping out one another and giving whatever tutelage, talent, or thyme you may have extra of?  Sure would make the world a better place if we all did that.  That’s kind of people I’ve come to find here in Flagstaff and Northern Arizona.  Sure, like the bees, we may have some people that are aggressive, defensive, and downright mean.  But we also have many I’ve come across in random places that are as golden and warm as a glowing beeswax candle, and that helps add just a little more sweetness to life each and every day.  Those are the people I want in my hive.

 

Nate

Royal Kenyon BeeWorks
www.KenyonBee.com

 

Bees vs. Wasps – How to tell!

Many people get confused when it comes to the difference between bees and wasps/hornets and how to identify a bee hive or swarm vs. a wasp nest.

Although they may look similar, there are some pretty big differences between the two. Here you can learn about those differences and why here at RKB we love our bees, but not the wasps.

Please use this page to help identify whether you have a bee or wasp problem before requesting us to come out for free bee removal and relocation in the Flagstaff area.

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When it comes to identifying bees vs. wasps there are a few things you should know.

First, what are the physical differences between the two?

 


Hey, nice pollen baskets!

Wasps are typically more streamlined, shiny looking, and have narrower slender legs. Bees on the other-hand have more hairs, a fatter body, and widened legs designed for carrying pollen in their “pollen baskets”.

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You’re looking a little buzzed…

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In flight bees may seem to be more loose in their flying, bobbing up and down and appearing drunk at times. Typically their larger legs will be seen dangling down behind them in flight as they are seen going from flower to flower.

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Only TWO of these are bees!

 


A few facts about bees vs. wasps:

  • Many bees collect and store honey in large amounts, wasps do not.

  • Most bees have a barbed stinger they can only use once and then die as a result. Wasps can sting repeatedly and tend to be more aggressive in doing so.

  • Bees are more of a social insect and typical hives consist of thousands of bees in the colony. Wasp nests are much smaller in number typically.

  • Bees are peace loving vegetarians and live on a diet of nectar and pollen from flowers. Wasps are voracious omnivors and live on a diet of fallen fruit, nectar, and other insects.

  • Bees are our friends and go to heaven when they die. Wasps are evil and do not.

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Hive, swarm, and nest identification

Wasp NestBees and wasps can often be told apart by their hive and nest construction. Most often you will not see a bee hive in the open, as they prefer hollows with small openings that are easily defensible. In rare cases and with certain bee species they may make their hive in the open, often attached to a tree branch.

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414993b70f2bc9ee2551cadbd0346e92Wasps on the other hand tend to make gray-colored papery looking nests that resemble an upside down teardrop or may be open and resembling a flower with lots of cells.

Bees sometimes will be see “swarming”, especially in the spring and early summer. This happens when the hive gets too crowded and they make a new queen. This queen will then take, some, most, or all of the bees in the colony in search of a new home. The entire colony can be seen flying through the air or sometimes clinging to the side of a building, vehicle, or tree branch. When this takes place the queen will be in the middle of the swarm, with the other bees surrounding and taking care of her. Other “scout” bees will then be in search of a new suitable home where they can take up residence.

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Although a colony of bees swarming may look frightening, they are actually much less likely to attack you than at other times. They are simply out looking for a new home, not worried about defending their current hive and honey stores. Don’t believe us? Just watch this video!


The enemy of my friend is my enemy

Bees and wasps/hornets tend to be mortal enemies. Often raiding hornets and wasps can cause huge problems for bees, as seen in this video where 30 giant Asian hornets decimate an entire colony of 30,000 European honey bees:

But bees are not defenseless! Where wasps and hornets may have dumb brute strength, many bees have highly developed and intelligent defenses like you can see here:


Viva la Bees!

Bees are highly useful to life as we know it on this planet. Not only do they provide us with rich and delicious honey, but they are the most abundant and prolific pollinators we know of! They provide us a great service here in America. If we did not have bee pollination, it would cost our country 19 billion dollars annually to hire enough people to hand pollinate our crops, something that bees do for us for free!

Slide1This is part of what drives our passion for removing and relocating bee colonies, rather than simply spraying them or calling an exterminator to kill them all. If you have a bee problem, be sure to contact us today and we’ll come out and remove them for free and provide them with a better location to call home!

Flagstaff Free Bee Removal Service


Flagstaff free bee removal service is here!

swarmWe’re here to help anyone in the Flagstaff and Northern Arizona area with our free bee swarm removal service from now until the end of 2015 in order to help save our pollinators and provide a better alternative to simply killing them all.  Pollinators are in great need in our area and we need to help protect and preserve this valuable resource and the services they provide us all!

Whether it’s a bee swarm or established hive we can come out and do our best to remove, rescue and relocate the bees to on of our hives or a host-a-hive location. We have a growing list of those who would love to provide a home to a colony of bees who live on their property.  If you’re interested in our host-a-hive program or donating to help support this cause, please contact us today and let us know!

If you are in need of our Flagstaff Bee Removal Service please click here or give us a call anytime!

Peaks with Flower field 2a

We will be closed December 20th-26th for the holiday season. Merry Christmas! Dismiss