As with most all of nature, we humans can be tested with time and patience.  On Saturday, I was asked to remove a colony of bees living in the wall of an old house.  No one knew how long they had been living in the wall, but they were finding their way inside the house, bothering the residents.  Situations such as this can be difficult and you don’t really know what to expect until you’re there.

I located the entrance the bees had made in a rotten old wooden window casing.  The outside was rock, so the only approach was from the inside wall.  After ripping out a section of interior wall, the amount of very dark beeswax comb, it was obvious these bees had been living inside the wall for several years.  Not good.  Comb was built between the framing as well as parallel to the framing.  Further, the comb ran down the wall to the floor and below, since there was no floor to wall plate.  I began removing comb, trying to reach the queen and eggs/brood.  As I removed the old comb, I brushed bees into a small hive which we call a “nuc box.”  With all the comb I could reach taken out, I had about 3 pounds of bees but still no access to the queen nor eggs.  I had only one option left….the option no beekeeper likes.  I had to destroy the remaining colony.  Very sad, but very necessary under the circumstances.

I brought the surviving bees home and put them into a new hive.  Since my bees haven’t arrived yet, I had no queen nor eggs/brood to give them.  All I could do was give them fresh wax foundation for building comb and feed them a lot of sugar syrup.  The sugar syrup is medicated with essential oils to help with mite control.  The poor bees are confused, disoriented and somewhat lost without a queen nor brood to protect.  I wasn’t too worried, as my packages of bees and queens was scheduled to arrive here this Thursday.  (Bees arrive by U.S. Postal Service).  I called the bee supplier in Texas today and found that due to the Texas drought, they are 10 days behind in their shipping.  Now, my poor survivor bees are in trouble!  Adult bees only live about 45 days, so time is running for these poor survivors with no new eggs nor brood to replace them.

I explained my situation to the bee supplier who said they could ship a queen bee to me this Friday.  Will she make it from Texas to Oklahoma by Saturday?  I doubt it.  Many big post offices will sort mail on Sunday, so if a live bee shipment arrives, they will call and you can pick them up.  Unfortunately, our small post office does not sort mail on Sunday.  So, either the queen arrives this Saturday, or she sits in a mail sorting center until Monday!  More stress on the poor survivors!

Right now, the survivors are drinking a lot of sugar syrup and flying…out gathering food…so I am sure they are also building comb on the wax foundation.  All I can do now is to remain patient….waiting for the new queen to arrive.  Will the survivor colony survive?  Such is beyond my control.  I’ve given them a home, fresh wax and all the sugar syrup they can take.  Now, it’s a wait for a queen.  I just have to be patient and if they survive this, I know I will have some very strong genetic qualities in this feral colony.  The winner in this contest will be either nature or the U.S. Post Office and I can only wait…..patiently.

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