Who ARE these bees?

And why are they worth saving alive?

  • You have probably heard that “bees are endangered”
    • It’s true. Many factors are combining to wreak havoc on many types of bees, including honey bees.
    • Whether the cause of honey bee decline is pesticides or disease or parasites or shrinking habitat, it’s true: bees are struggling.
  • Probably every “bee development” or “bee breeding” effort in the USA is focused on selecting “survivor” bees as the “bee of the future.” We applaud the approach, but in virtually every case, the bees from which the “best bees” are being selected are those with hundreds of years of genetic weaknesses hiving been bred into them.
  • American Bee Control, on the other hand, takes in all hives of honey bees. We are breeding the bees of the future, but we aren’t starting with the bees inherited from our forefathers. With your help, we collect the whole bee colony alive. We never kill the bees. We keep them and see how they behave after they are established in their own wooden beehive box.
  • What do we do with the bees? We keep them in bee yards (apiaries) throughout Southern Arizona. Our wholly-owned sister company, Wagon Wheel Ranch of Arizona carefully watches over them. They are kept safe from predators (including bears) and poisoning. Unlike many large beekeeping operations, we resist the temptation to rent the bees out to commercial agriculture. We aren’t opposed to bees performing pollination services for farmers. But we DO NEED to keep our bees free from the harmful effects of modern agricultural chemicals. Similarly, we like to avoid having our beehives return to Arizona after having been infected by sickly bees that have fled their failing hives while occupying the same orchard in another state.
  • In the case of a beehive that behave very badly, we still don’t wipe them out. We simply replace their queen. By so doing, it’s only a matter of a few weeks until all the bees in the “hot” hive are the offspring of the new queen mother.
    • We are always looking for every possible opportunity to have place an all-star queen in an additional hive so we can shorten the cycle of when we can make our “naturally healthy, hardy bees” available to beekeepers all across the country.
    • Please visit the web page of Wagon Wheel Ranch to learn more about our internationally-renowned bee breeding program.

Preventing bees from colonizing your property

Prevention is nine tenths of the cure.

In Southern Arizona, there is almost never a week in which bees aren’t on the move, splitting their hive and colonizing a new spot.

The best way to prevent bees from colonizing a location is to prevent them from discovering places that suit the needs of homeless bees.

What are homeless bees looking for in a future beehive site? A cavity of about five gallons (about twenty liters) or bigger. Preferably, their home would have fairly constant temperature, rather than be exposed to direct sun. Examples of irresitable beehive habitats are a cabinet situated on a north-facing back porch. Likewise, an overturned, empty flowerpot deep in the shade of a large tree. The most common place from which American Bee Control relocates beehives is from underneath the floorboards of a backyard storage shed.

Some of the above-mentioned “irresistible locations” are easier to protect against than others. But in most cases, property owners can greatly reduce the chance of harboring a future beehive by simply denying bees what they are looking for in an habitable cavity. In the case of the overturned flowerpot, we recommend wadding up a sheet of landscape plastic (like a painter’s dropcloth plastic, if thick enough to remain lofted when stuffed inside.) This is an excellent deterrent because, during the processes of the advance scouting party, the scout bees determine that “there simply isn’t enough room for a family of our size,” (because the volume is taken up by the plastic wadding.)

In the case of bees that may become interested in moving their colony into an attic area, the little gaps that typically exist next to the roof rafters are prime opportunities for bees to find and colonize the space above the ceiling. Highest priority should be given to the areas where the temperature is most constant, such as where a tree overhangs the roof and provides shade. Similarly the eaves of the the building that may be shaded by a chimney or other structure will have far greater chance of hosting a beehive, compared to south-facing, fully exposed eaves.

American Bee Control offers complete “bee-deterrence” service where we survey the property from corner to corner and propose a level of protection most likely to eliminate any chance of bees moving in later. We are pleased to note that on several occasions after Tucsonans have hired big-name pest control companies to perform ‘beeproofing services” the homes have been colonized by beehives. It these cases, American Bee Control has not only relocated the hive alive, but also provided the comprehensive bee-deterrence service at a reasonable price. This goes to show that American Bee Control really knows bees and the things that bees do and don’t seek when considering a new home.

Aside from bee deterrence technologies, we also offer “swarm trapping,” a modern, high-tech method of the ancient practice of enticing homeless bees to choose a beehive box that we strategically place on your property. We trademarked the term Honey Bee Hotel, because it is so inviting that bees are eager to “check in” and stay indefinitely. This greatly improves the chances that the property owner will dodge the bullet of having unwanted bees nesting in a structure. This is particularly suited to structures located on large parcels of undeveloped land. This technology is offered as a service and priced as an annual lease. Pricing is based on the number of units appropriate to protect the property, the ease of access to the designated sites, and who it is that monitors the Honey Bee Hotel for evidence of newly-resident bees.

An excellent book on how bees choose the best future homesite from among multiple available cavities is 1 Comment