Our Story With Honey Bees

When it comes to real estate they say location, location, location, and boy did we have it! In 2003 we built our house in SW Florida. We laid the grass and planted the trees. Life was good. It wasn’t until a few years of living in our home that it all changed in just one day. The day when we had our first encounter with Apis mellifera or more commonly known as the honey bee. You see our home was built raised 4 feet off the ground.

Because of that we had fiberglass insulation under the house between the floor joists. Over time the support holding the insulation up gave out which caused a gap between the floorboard and insulation causing – you guest it, the perfect location for honey bees to build a new colony. The first time they somehow got into our bedroom through the floor. Not knowing anything about CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) we (meaning me) crawled under the house with several cans of wasp killer and killed all of the bees. This would not be our only encounter with the bees.

They Kept Coming Back

Later the bees would build another colony under another part of the house. They ended up with the same fate as the first colony. By the time we had our third hive under the house the news was out about CCD and we wanted to try and save them this time. We contacted a local Beekeeper ( Keith Councell ) to come out and removed them from under the house. He had removed them from the house and relocated them into a hive which he would then leave under the house for 3 days before coming back to remove them from our property.

Because we told him how this was not the first time we had bees in our yard, he suggested that we keep the hive. Keeping the hive would discourage other bees from building around us. In efforts to help with the ongoing problem of CCD we kept the hive. We now have 3 hives and are slowly learning more on becoming better landlords to our once uninvited guest.

I am not saying people need to go out and hug a honeybee, but they need to have a better appreciation for what honeybees do and for beekeepers who are managing this insect for our benefit. – Jerry Hayes

While having beehives is enjoyable, they keep the garden well pollinated, eventually we needed to harvest the honey. Our first attempt at harvesting is a story for another time, but we eventually got the hang of it. Our friends, neighbors, family, and co-workers love getting free, fresh honey. And Lord knows we have enough. We also have plenty of beeswax, which got us thinking about what to do with it all.