Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

July 8, 2013

Bee mine

Local beekeeper collects hive

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — It was a report of a large bunch of bees in a tree just off Call Avenue that sent Ken Frost buzzing over there Monday afternoon.

The swarm, about two feet long, and 15-inches wide at the middle, clung to a tree about mid-way up the block between 19th and 20th Streets. As he peered up at them through the leaves, Frost estimated there were about 30,000 insects in the group.

“We need the bees,” he said, referring to a worldwide shortage of bees. Bees are in decline through colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon where the worker bees suddenly disappear, that has been attributed to everything from insecticides to parasites, viruses and even modern beekeeping methods. Colony collapse disorder is already wreaking havoc among farmers who rely on the bees for pollination of their crops.

As he suited up, Frost explained that he has two hives and room for a third.

“The main thing is you have to hope to get the queen, because if you don’t get the     queen they won’t stay,” he said, referring to the worker bees.

Climbing a 25-foot ladder laid precariously against a neighboring limb of the tree, Frost then hauled up what looked like a shop-vac on a bucket. It’s a special vacuum that will allow the bees to survive the process, he said.

Then, using sweeping motions he began to collect the bees, immediately inciting some angry commotion from the hive. And it turned out to be a hive, not a swarm, as first expected.

Taking off the outer coating of bees he revealed thick layers of honeycomb attached to the limb. He used a stick to break apart the comb, so he could collect more bees, and hopefully the queen, as well.

After about 15 minutes, he safely climbed back down and collected his bucket of bees.