We love honey! We were very excited to start the apiary on our new property last year because we had the space to increase the hive count. Once we set up a place under the pine trees to protect them from the 118-degree heat, we started offering free bee recovery services so we could capture feral hives. Very quickly the calls came in – lots of them! We started carrying our bee recovery vacuum and other equipment with us to our day jobs and recovered more than 30 hives in less than 10 months. Most of the recovered hives did not survive the heat or the stress of the move, but we ended up with six hives by the end of summer.
Recovery hive in a bucket
In November, I received a call inquiring about bees in general and after a few minutes of conversation, I asked if this was about a bee hive recovery. To my surprise, it was not. A director of a movie was looking for non-stinging honeybees (drones) to use in an upcoming Al Pacino movie. At first, I thought it might be a prank, but as it turned out, we ended up providing honeycomb props and drones for the film and got to meet Al Pacino in person. What a thrill!
We also ended up sharing some of our honey with the directors and with Al Pacino. We hope the scene doesn’t get cut from the film since Al was extremely brave around the robber bees that showed up to take some honey during the filming – I guess we’ll find out next year when the movie “Manglehorn” is released. I have to admit, we were overwhelmed by the friendliness and warmth of the directors and film crew. We also made friends with the animal-actors director too, who now knows where to go when looking for bee props in Austin, Texas! I wonder if they might need chickens or rabbits next time?
Yep, that's Al Pacino (in costume)
So, long story short, you just never know what role you will play when you keep bees. We are hopeful that our hives will yield delicious honey next spring and thankful for the wonderful experience they brought to our farm in a most unique situation.
Our next bee adventure will be teaching children about the importance of honeybees. One of the associations offers a beekeeping scholarship, and we have decided to do the same in our area. We will be providing free beekeeping classes to children under 12 and give them a hive, tools, and bee suit to get started. If they are successful after keeping the bees for one year, they get to keep all of it! Fingers crossed, we hope there is lots of interest!
Beekeeping is full of surprises!