The Whisperer’s Apprentice

Just call me Michael. I’m the webmaster for TheBartlettBeeWhisperer.com. In the past, I’ve wondered what a day in the life of a Bee Whisperer is like… and a few days ago, I got to find out!

The Whisperer got a call to remove bees from a ceiling in a vacant apartment, and I got the call to go with him. As a person whose experiences with bees involve a lot of running and slapping, I was a little nervous about purposely entering the bees’ home. Did I get stung? Well, I’ll tell you…

We arrived on the scene about noon and unloaded the equipment. The first sign of bees was a foreboding bulge in the apartment’s ceiling.

Bulged ceiling from melted honey bee hive

I quickly donned the “relatively bee-proof” jacket and hat. “You’ll get hot in the jacket and start to sweat; where the jacket sticks to you is the danger zone.” The Whisperer’s warning caused me to sweat a little more.

The Whisperer wasted no time cutting into the ceiling to expose the hive. Abandoned comb had melted into the ceiling, causing the bulge, but newer comb was full of bees: about 40,000 I was told.

Honeybees in a ceiling

Piece by piece, the Whisperer removed the honeycomb and vacuumed the bees into a specially-designed bee container.

The Bartlett Bee Whisperer using his bee vacuum

The comb had very little usable honey, but we saved the comb to make wax. One piece of comb caught my eye because of the colorful pollen.

Colorful honeycomb

The camera’s flash exaggerates the color – but it was beautiful even without the flash!

“Grab the clip out of the top of the toolbox! Quick! See that bee? Catch it in the clip!” I caught the bee he was looking at. “That’s the queen! Russian, by the looks of the tail!” My friend the Bee Whisperer had been downcast for some time because of the lack of brood (eggs and babies), but was so excited to have caught the queen! He said that having the queen would ensure the success of the hive once it was relocated. We took quite a few pictures of the queen and her attendants.

Queen bee with her attdendants

The queen is the larger one on the left.

Through all this, I had managed to not get stung. After pulling out the last of the combs, I took off my protective jacket in order to cool off. Then I realized I needed one last shot of the ceiling, with the hive now gone. Though some bees were still buzzing around, I was now comfortable enough to eeeeease over to the ladder and climb up to get a shot.

Ceiling after a honeybee hive removal

A few bees are straggling, but the hive is gone!

Climbing back down the ladder, I had a great sense of accomplishment! I’d just helped complete a honeybee removal for the first time! We’d collected a lot of comb to be used as wax, and caught a queen to make sure the captured bees would thrive in their new home. And I’d not been stung!

Then a bee landed on my shirt. “Don’t swat! That’s a drone, they don’t sting!”

That’s why he’s called the Bee Whisperer.