Monday, August 18, 2008

My son Keith doing his "bee thing"

In the summertime, my youngest son Keith works part time for a medical laboratory that develops anti-venom serum against allergic reactions to bee stings. We've had two pretty large nests in our bushes, which unfortunately were discovered by the fellas who were trimming them. Sorry, Adam and Danny.

This is SO COOL to watch my son in action! He is completely sealed with his "bee suit" with a jacket, baseball hat, gloves, rubber bands, duct tape and safety glasses as extra safeguards. The bald-face hornets spray venom as they attack, and it's impossible not to breath it in through the netting of the head gear. Keith says it's disgusting and tastes like insect repellent. Without the safety glasses, the venom burns his eyes. When the hornets spray, it marks the "target" for the rest of the hive to attack.

This is our second summer to watch this process at our house. First thing that happens before Keith begins is Rod and I take our respective guard posts. We live on a corner lot and have many walkers and bicyclists out and about. Rod takes the upper side, and I take the lower side. I'm zooming the camera in to get the photo shots since I can't get too close.

Keith begins to cut around Nest #1. The goal is to get the entire nest undamaged into a heavy cardboard bag, which will then be placed into a cooler of dry ice. For now, he cuts it away and leaves it lying safely on the bushes so he can come back after dark and bag it. By then, the hornets will all be back into the hive.

The hornets are pretty stirred up. Rod said after Keith went to the second nest, he could actually see the bushes moving from all the swarming.

Nest #2 turns out to be much bigger than we thought. You can't see in the pictures, but the hornets are totally swarming Keith. We don't let anyone walk or bicycle past during this time, even making sure vehicles have their windows closed.

The hard part is over. Now all he has to do is come back after dark and bag them. They go into dry ice and the males are separated and sent to the lab. (Don't ask me how he figures that out!) He knows his bees.

The volleyball sized Nest #1 is detached and ready to bag. I took this picture through my screen door because they were still pretty angry and Keith was looking after his mama. DON'T GET CLOSE TO THEM, MOM! Nest #2 was bigger, but I couldn't get close enough to take a picture. Another successful bee removal. Thanks, Keefers! Now Adam and Danny can finish trimming the bushes.

The morning after update: Keith came at 5:30am this morning, stuffed cotton balls in the entrance to the nests and bagged them. He doesn't think he lost a single bee. Yeah!


Mo said...

How cool is that!?!? I never knew such things occurred. Way to go Keith.It sounds like he has an interesting job.

Neenee said...

You are very lucky that your son Keith knew exactly what to do and how to protect himself. Sure could have used him a couple years ago!! lol