What’s the Buzz on the Benefits of Bees?
By: Katherine King
“Busy as a bee” is an old saying. The phrase implies that you are constantly moving, being industrious, getting your work done, and focused in order to achieve a goal. Now let’s think about the insect in the phrase, the bee. Bees are very industrious little animals. They are constantly in search of places to get nectar, their food, which they can bring back to the colony in order to feed everyone else. The bees that remain inside the hive are busy working as well. They are expanding the size of the hive, caring for young, and producing the honey which is their main food source.
All of these things are wonderful to hear about, but not many people are comfortable when they see bees. They can be rather large, bright colored, loud, and have a reputation to sting. These factors may make you wary of bees and may make you think that you need to make a run for it. In actuality, bees would much rather leave you alone. They only sting as an absolute last resort. They can only sting one time in their life and then die shortly after they sting you.
Benefits of Bees:
There are some redeeming qualities and benefits of bees…their honey. Honey does not have an expiration date. If your honey hardens, you can gently heat it and it will soften back up. If you ever get a burn, you can put honey on it to protect the burn and help it heal. Honey has other medicinal properties that aren’t confirmed, but from a holistic stand-point they are great. I have personally had good results using honey to try and fight some major allergies. If that is why you are eating honey, be sure you buy local honey from your area so that you are exposed to the right pollens.
Although bees have positive benefits, we want to make sure you know that they can also be a threat if caution is not exercised. If you have bees in or around your property and would like them removed, call our Wildlife division at Northwest Exterminating for our bee removal service.
The following story is the reason I decided to start bringing a camera with me on the job. I didn’t want to miss any unique experiences like this one.
I showed up at the customer’s house on a rainy afternoon. They had told our office staff that they had seen bees
on the side of their home and had heard some buzzing in the wall. At first glance it seemed pretty typical, bees entering the structure of the home and building a hive. The customer asked me to look at something outside, she then pointed out a large mass in a tree in her neighbor’s yard. I grabbed my binoculars to get a better look and I couldn’t believe what I saw. Attached to the tree was a mass twice the size of a football and filled bees. (After researching this phenomenon I discovered this is how they transfer the queen to a new hive. All the workers gather around the queen to protect her while a select few special workers prepare the hive.)
The bees were entering the customers house through a small gap between the brick basement and the hardy plank siding. By using a stethoscope, I was able to locate the exact location of the hive, the ceiling above their living room which was also the floor of the master bedroom. I drilled into the ceiling and found honey on my drill which confirmed the hive location.
We began carefully cutting into the sheet rock to reveal the hive. What we saw was truly nature at work.
Thousands of bees working together for one common purpose, to make honey! The noise was deafening, the buzz of the bees filled the room, yet surprisingly they didn’t attack.
When bees are inside a home we remove them with a shop-vac. We began to remove individual pieces of honeycomb and place them in garbage bags, we filled up 2 contractor sized bags each weighing about 30-40 lbs! Once the honeycomb was removed, every ounce of wax and honey must be completely cleaned off, so we scraped and scrubbed to ensure the bees and other pests wouldn’t come back.
We sealed up the entry on the outside of the home and placed plastic around the opening to keep any left over bees from entering the living space of the home. Success! Hive removed, customer and family safe!