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Sunday, June 27, 2004

Keeping busy

Across the street from our house, hanging from a branch in the big tree that the neighbor kids love to climb, is the largest freestanding beehive I've ever seen. I've seen bees build their homes under eaves and along roofs, and of course I've seen the big boxes that professional beekeepers provide for them. But to see how it's done out in the wild is pretty impressive. The thing is straight out of "Winnie the Pooh," only real.

Here's a photo, which doesn't really do it justice. You'll forgive me for not getting closer. There's no way I wanted to disturb these little guys:

Comments (12)

I initially visualized a honey bee blob resting for the night on some migration to nowhere in particular. Then horror set in when I saw the picture of a hornets nest. If all creatures have a purpose what then is their reason for beeing?

Hornets, eh? See, to a guy from Newark they're all just bees.

That thing is chock full of pure 100% brimstone evil.

Hint, Nature Boy: Change "love" to loveD for your neighborhood tree-climbing kids!

The hornets don't seem interested in people nearby. But I wouldn't start climbing that tree.

Fortunately, the property owner has called professional help in, and the plan is to move the thing (or nuke it, or whatever they do) tomorrow. I plan to watch if I'm here -- from a screened window!

I grew up in Medford, and for years and years and years there was a funky old log cabin affair in upper Lithia Park in Ashland (before the Marin Country crowd took the town completely over) that had a bisected but active bee hive on display safely behind glass. It was mesmerizing.

Yep, them's not bees.

In an earlier life I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala in the 1980s, assigned to a beekeeping extension program. But as it happened, the Africanized bees were first sighted in Guatemala the month I arrived and by the time I left 2.5 years later there was nothing but Africanized bees and they had spread all the way to Central Mexico.

My counterpart and I actually spent more time eradicating wild swarms of African bees as we did working with beekeepers. We did this kind of thing on a daily basis. You want to get rid of those guys? Put some malathion or other insecticide in a garden sprayer and soak that hive at night when they are all inside. They are less likely to go after you at night. The next morning you can cut it down and dispose of it. Don't mess with fire or smoke or any other sort of stupidity.

As noted, those aren't bees. Watch yer behind. :-) I just took one of those down from the eaves of our house yesterday. Oh, that was all kinds of fun. Glad I didn't wait, though, when I saw how many baby nasties were inside.

I wouldn't touch that thing for $1000. I'd rather fix my plumbing and electrical wiring on the same day than wrangle with that beast.

Hornets are mean. Leave it to the pros.

Probably bald-faced hornets. Their sole purpose is to maim and destroy. In college I committed the (to them) unforgivable sin of walking under a nest of about that size. I never saw it. Instead, one buzzed down and delivered a sting to the back of my noggin that, no joke, felt like I had been hit with a bat. It hurt so much I was ready to tear my own head off to stop the pain.

I came back with a can of wasp killer with a 15' range on it, soaked it, cut down the nest and its branch, burned the whole schmiel with diesel, and stomped the remains. And I am normally a gentle man. But such is the power of the hornet, to arouse such base and destructive rage in the hearts of others.

what part of portland is this hive in? ive never seen anything like this here... :-)

The hive was in close-in NE Portland. It's been destroyed.

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