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Adventures in the Woods - Bees and Such Yet Again

Honey bees are not faring well in the US and many people are not aware of this – or of the importance of bees as pollinators in the food chain.  Interesting to me is the fact that honey bees are not native to the United States.   In the last few years a weird phenomena has affected the U.S bee population called Colony Collapse Disorder which makes the discovery of a wild bee tree even more special.  I found a large bee tree here in Calvert, TX a few weeks ago and the owners were overjoyed.

The go to clearing machine - John Deere 650C

When we are clearing land  in this fashion it is very surgical.  We have to be able to see to get our elevations to define the area of the lake so the thick underbrush is cleared.  We take out the small trees as well — and the trash trees that are dead or have broken tops.  When I come across a really nice large tree, I clear all the smaller trees that have already been over topped by the larger tree’s canopy.  Now this all this is not happening in a really stable, conservative work environment.  I am crashing and bashing and twisting and turning — always in motion;  always looking to make sure I don’t have a tree come crashing down on me or run a limb through the vulnerable radiator.  It is pretty intense and drains me mentally by the end of the day.

So here I was last week doing the crashing and bashing thing and all of a sudden the air was filled with buzzing critters and I thought ” Holy Cats!  Ground Hornets”  so I threw that dozer in reverse ricky tick and crashed and bashed backwards in a hurry.

A Native Bee Tree

Well, by the time my heart quit racing and I did the “Sumbitch, am I stung???” inventory, I figured out it was just honey bees — albeit mighty pissed off. I crawled down off the dozer to find the source of the PO’d bees – hoping all the while I had not already crashed and bashed their little house down. It took a while to find the tree with the enlarged bole and small knothole close to the ground. Luckily it was still standing and I crouched down off to one side to study on it for a bit. Our rough surveying to date really looked like the new bee tree was going to be several feet deep in the new lake which was unfortunate. I got an orange surveyor’s flag off the dozer and stuck it the ground next to the bee tree. All these darned trees sorta start looking the same after awhile. Back to more crashing and bashing.

Just hanging out on the front porch of the bee tree

My bro reported the existence of the new bee tree to the owners and since they are the yuppie/greenie types they called a bee man to come capture them. Now I don’t know exactly how the bee man was going to accomplish this but I heard something about stuffing the entrance with rags and a chain saw. Whatever the plan, it was going to be worth standing off and watching — from a distance. Somebody was going to get stung.

Well, the week went by and we were able to define the area of the lake to a greater degree and we tweaked it a little bit and I’ll be damned if we weren’t able to lay out the lake so the new bee tree was going to be a few scant feet out of the water. The owners were overjoyed and canceled the services of the bee man. That was just a teeny bit disappointing because I was expecting a real show and you know we don’t get much in the way of excitement over here in that Calvert, TX.

End Note: Broke Down on the Brazos by Gov’t Mule from the By a Thread Album.   Gov’t Mule (pronounced Government Mule) is a Southern rock band formed in 1994 as an Allman Brothers Band side project by Warren Haynes and Allen Woody

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