Main Street Buzz in Davidson: Recalcitrant Queen Gives Up Crib in Nick of Time

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Split gnarly tree with stinky towel and tubular bee condo.

Last Friday, a sweet story fell very nearly right onto my college newsroom desk in the Julia Johnston on Main Street in Davidson, no Internet research or crafty phone calls required. A microburst-style (helluva) storm that came roaring across Lake Norman around six that evening split a big ol’ gnarly tree (Arboricus gnarlicus) wide open in the backyard, exposing a beehive inside. Take that, Buzzfeed!

Quick as a wink, the Eco House students next door sprang into action, with help from beekeeping experts from around campus.

For the bees’ welfare, the good folks in Groundskeeping agreed to leave the part of the tree still standing up for a week or so to allow for relocation efforts. Come to think of it, bee relocation was also in the interest of Groundskeeping, too. A win-win!

Tubular bee condo in early stages of inspection as a potential new hive: “We’re just looking.”

The hive was in the traditional Winnie-the-Pooh style of the Time Immemorial Era. Soon, an early 21st-century, Hurricane Katrina-mobile-home hive was rigged of paper tubing and hung directly next to it, according to proper beekeeping protocol.

At first, nothing much happened.

Then, yesterday morning, Dodger and I noticed that it stank. At lunchtime that day, my pal Mike Goode of the Davidson Outdoors was out there to inspect the property. Mike explained that the smell was a repellent to encourage the bees to move before… well, timber-r-r-r! Now, it was all dependent on the queen. “Hey, girl, hey,” I thought, “time to bounce!”

Mike explained that it was clear from the traffic in and out of the tree that the old girl was still in the old hive. But at five o’clock, Dodger and I noticed that traffic into the tree hive had stopped and the bottom of the tube hive swarmed with a thick carpet of bees. The hive has now been relocated by Mike and Keyne Cheshire of Classics, who, I learned today, teaches about classical beekeeping as a classroom agriculture topic and has presented on the subject professionally.

Stay tuned. What beekeeping secrets can we learn from the ancient Greeks and Romans? Will the hive survive? Next Daybook Davidson.

 

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