When I thought of raising bees, I though many things about how the experience would be. I thought the bees might be a bit scary(yes, sometimes) and wondered how I would ever find the queen in all those bees.(still wondering) However I never, ever thought the hardest thing about bee keeping would be keeping the smoker going! For those of you who are bee keepers/whisperers and see no need for a smoker, I hate you. Let’s just throw that out there and get it over with, shall we. There might be the slim possibility that the bees I am managing are just slightly more aggressive than some? Then again, how would I know? “Blondie and the Girls” definitely have their defensive maneuvers on! My son says the bees can sense that I am freaked out. Well ,yeah duh! I don’t really know how to change that fact. Not all of us can relish risk taking adventure like my son. He wants his first job to be cleaning windows on a sky scraper. I know! If It were not for the fact that I birthed him myself I would think we were not even remotely related. He probably thinks the same thing. He probably says to himself daily, “Please let it be a huge secret that I am truly adopted.” He is hoping for the day that we come to him and say “Son, you are not genetically related to us at all.” Not going to happen. I was there. It hurt. When you have kids you think the hurt is going to be over after the birthing process. Let me tell you when they get to be teenagers it is going to hurt again, badly. Do it anyway though, it is worth it! My good friend says that some day he will realize that I am the coolest mom ever. I am thinking that might be a long wait. Enough about teenagers.
Everything about this bee thing is a mind trip. Meaning everything in your survival instincts hears the buzzing, sees the bees flying around your head and says; ” Danger! Run for your life! What is coming next is going to hurt a lot!” You have to rely on your mind to tell you the truth about the situation. Your mind tries to talk sense into the situation; “You have a bee suit on. You are very well protected.” Isn’t that the same in life. You strongly feel one way and you have to rely on your mind to tell you the truth. Sometimes you have to rely on your Father in Heaven to tell you the truth.
When you are in that bee suit sweating buckets and your glasses are slipping down your nose, in fact, the glasses aren’t the only thing slipping and you reach for your smoker, you want smoke, lots and lots of smoke right that very second. Not for you ,but for the bees. Although, ANYTHING calming might be welcomed, kidding! I am always searching the net for insect pest solutions. It is then that I am reminded that pot is a cash crop for a good part of our nation. Wow, how things have changed!
So when bees sense smoke they naturally think there is a fire nearby, maybe it is moving toward their house? They automatically go into the hive and start gulping down honey. After all, if it is all going to go up in flames, why not drink it all? Of course they are programmed that way to help them survive and all that. Miracles from our Father, right? If you can take a long look at bees and claim there is not a creator than you are stubborn indeed, or maybe just a bit dense?
In comes George, my bee friend, to save the day. He says burlap is the key to starting the smoker. First of all, I love having friends who actually know what they are doing with bees! Second, I love simple solutions. Being who I am, I can’t really have a truly simple solution to anything. So I used his tip about burlap to make some fire starters. First I got card board egg cartons from my neighbor. Then I filled them with dryer lint, which for some strange reason, I have stored copious amounts of. I wrapped the whole thing in burlap, which I picked up at the fabric store. Tying a bit of cotton string around the top finished the whole thing off. Put a few leaves and twigs above this, light it up and you have smoke, lots of blessedly cool smoke. Better still you have busy bees. Busy sucking up the honey instead of defending the hive that is! Thank you, George! You have no idea how you have made my bee experience so much sweeter!