The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861
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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – July 2023

- July 1, 2023 - (excerpt)

All in the family
All in the Family

I started beekeeping many years ago, because I thought it would be a fun hobby for me, and a fun activity for my growing family. Years later, this turned into a commercial operation producing honey and beeswax candles for a variety of farm markets in southeast Wisconsin. My son Scott started beekeeping in his teens, took a break, and picked it up again over the last ten years. Along with his full-time job, Scott is now working to grow into our beekeeping operation.

My grandson Josh has grown up around honey bees and farm markets all of his life. Josh was initiated at two years old; while watching me replace a frame of bees into a hive, he ran over and pulled himself up onto the open hive. Two stings on the chin, and I had a lot of explaining to do to my wife and daughter. This did not diminish his interest. While in our back yard one day, Josh had the opportunity to hive a swarm. Uncle Scott and Josh worked the hive in our back yard, and produced a bucket of honey. The following year, Josh had another hive in our yard, and had fun with it. Now at age 11, Josh wanted two of his own hives in his own back yard. We now have three generations of beekeepers in the family, and are having a lot of fun.

Andy Hemken
Big Bend, Wisconsin

Don’t Swat that Swarm!

This is for your swarm catching files and sharing for a laugh. Our local police department called May 8 about a swarm surrounding their SWAT response vehicle, the thing is like a small tank!

By the time I got there, the swarm had nicely settled into the top rectangle space which was about the size of a swarm box.

We kept telling them, “Don’t swat at the bees,” and they thought we were joking.

As we were wrapping up using the bee vacuum and getting down, a detective ran out crying, “Ladies, stay away from there, there are bees on top.” Christine Richards, who was helping me along with Lorri Thurman, who was on the SWAT vehicle with me, waved a bee suit at him and said, “We know. We’re good.”

Charlotte Wiggins
Rolla, Missouri

Extraordinary Measures

I’ve been getting into beekeeping seriously for 11 years. I’ve done pollinator conservation lectures for over 5000 bee lovers. During these times I have also been raising our two littles. When it comes to beekeeping, I have fallen in love with catching swarms! It’s always something new. Luckily I have always been able to get swarms or swarm calls from people who have bee clusters at shoulder height. Today was my 1st up in the tree. I’ve listened to my father who has worked with bees since the 70s, however when Father isn’t around to make things look like flowing poetry, you do what you got to do!!!

The majority of the swarm was collected. I noticed a cluster still up on the other side that was getting thick again. I rigged my ladders & situations. I was able to successfully get the swarm. When my father came over to check on me, he and my husband were laughing & making fun of my rig (insert eye roll on my behalf). I have been banned in the past from using bungees from my husband but ya know what!? He wasn’t there today.😆 Yes I bungeed a chair to ladders to  hold my frames and myself but I got the job done!!! As an old gymnast my thought process was, if it all fell, I would dive roll off the ladder chair rig!!!

Important part: Bees saved, I provided comical relief, and no dive rolls were performed!

Beekeeping Gymnast
aka Erin Wigger