The Sting Operation

Judy noticed a stream of bees going in and out of a crevice on our log home porch over the course of a week. No big deal, we thought, we do have wasps, bees, bats, spiders, and many other critters that we share our home with. Yet, after hearing a story recently about a honey bee infestation that collapsed someone’s kitchen ceiling, raining down honey and bees on its occupants, she decided to do a little investigation.

Greg and Ross, the Honey B Guys

Greg and Ross, the Honey B Guys

Now for other bee infestations, or wasp nests on the house, or even the dreaded carpenter bees that drill dime-sized holes in our log siding, we have resorted to anything from wasp spray to bad-mitten rackets to control the critters. But we live in one of the major fruit belts in the US, and honey bee help feed us and keep the fruit farmers in business. More and more reports these days point to an alarming reduction of honey bees due to parasites, fungus, or any number of other threats to honey bees. We wanted to relocate these bees rather than destroy them.

Honey B Guys

Honey B Guys

A phone call and a Google search led her to a local bee expert. He stopped by and broke the news that we have a good sized honey bee hive somewhere within the walls of our home (Thanks Mike!). He gave us the contact of the “Honey B Guys,” a contractor who also does honey bee swarm and bee hive removals. Why a contractor? Because part of our house would need to be deconstructed.

investigation

investigation

Ross and Greg use various tools to locate the bees, including a stethoscope and heat sensing devices, but it came down to removing logs and boards in this case to find the hive.

Finding the hive

Finding the hive

Sure enough, a couple pieces of logs and exterior board led them to the hive, which was located in a spot between the house roof and the porch roof. It was a huge relief to know the bees had not gone deeper into the house, so removing a wall or breaking through the drywall was not needed. What a relief!

THe hive

The hive

~15,000 bees!

~15,000 bees!

They quickly set up shop. They actually vacuum the bees into a box. The bees will be taken to join one of their hives so they can help pollinate an orchard.

The Sting Operation

The Sting Operation

The process of vacuuming out the bees was slow and gentle, so as not to hurt the bees. The actual honeycomb was rather small. The large “bump” of bees there were actually all stacked on top of each other. Ross used a pheromone that a queen bee would release in order to attract the bees to come to the hive rather than disperse. He told us that a queen bee’s pheromone can attract honey bees to her hive from up to 5 mile away!

Suck up the bees

Suck up the bees

You will notice that Ross was using bare hands. Apparently this particular hive was very docile compared to many they have worked with!

Sucking up bees

Sucking up bees

The queen bee lays eggs in the hive 24/7. She can fertilize the eggs, and/or, use drones for this purpose. A hive can have up to 60,000 worker bees. Their job is to feed the brood, receive nectar, clean the hive, guard duty, and foraging.

piece of honey comb

piece of honey comb

Ross

Ross

piece of honey comb

piece of honey comb

Ross sprayed some almond extract in the area the hive had been. This is a smell that bees hate, and would make it very likely the bees would not want to return to this spot again.

Almond Extract

Almond Extract

After removing the bees, Greg and Ross reassembled the logs taken off, and brought the bees back to join another hive.

Kelise looking over the bees

Kelise looking over the bees

The “Bee Sting Operation” was now complete–and no one got stung! If you want to check out more of The Honey B Guys hive removals, find them here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HoneyBGuys

Watch your backgrounds

I took this image of a purple tulip at Meijer Gardens in April. I received a lot of feedback, so I thought I would point out what technique I used to create it.

First, I chose an interesting flower with few imperfections that was lighted well. That became the flower I focused on. Next, I chose a wide open aperature setting (5.0) to put the background out of focus so it would not compete with the sharpness of the central tulip. Next, I moved around such that most of the background had some of the colors of the other tulips, and took care so that very little of the background was not filled with the tulips. Finally, I worked to bring out the detail of the main subject in post process using NIKs Color Effects Pro software.

All in all, I think the image turned out quite well.

Tulip Negrita

Tulip Negrita

 

Visual poetry


Afternoon shadows

Afternoon shadows

I’ve never been real big on poetry. But I think I’m starting to get it, and visual learner that I am–I think I have been doing it all along. My favorite type of images to make are those that incorporate identifiable items, and putting them in a context that asks the viewer to take a second look. I like to infuse my images with visuals that invite an emotional response at some level. I am reading a book called “Anatomy of the Soul” by Curt Thompson. The book explores the integration of neuroscience and attachment with Christian Spirituality. He makes a case of how you can “rewire” your brain such that you can experience God in a more real way. Yes, it is left brain and right brain  stuff, and it is a fascinating read. I just read a section about how poetry can help integrate the brain. It made a lot of sense to me, and I can relate to it in terms of how I like to approach photography.

Poetry is another powerful literary tool. It has several distinct features:

  • By activating our sense of rhythm, poetry accesses our right-mode operations and systems.
  • Reading poetry has the effect of catching us off guard. Our imaginations are invigorated when out usual linear expectations of prose (that one word will follow obediently behind another on the way to a predictable end) don’t apply. This can stimulate buried emotional states and layers of memory.
  • Finally, poetry not only appeals to right-mode processing, but to left mode as well, given its use of language. This makes it a powerful imaginative tool.”                Anatomy of the Soul, p. 150
rainy day

rainy day

What intrigued me is the incorporation of the expected and the unexpected. The photos in this post all have recognizable elements to it, be it patterns, lines, shapes, colors…or just the subject matter itself. But my intent is to catch the viewer off guard in the way the items are juxtaposed, layered, or framed in an unexpected way.

 

 

The description above provides a good understanding of what poetry can do, and it quite perfectly describes what I like to do with my images. It is all about engaging the viewers imagination and evoking an emotion or response from both sides of the brain.

man and nature

man and nature

I guess we can call that “visual poetry.”

Finding hope

finding hope

finding hope

These petunias are an impressive bunch. Growing out of a crack with concrete and asphalt surrounding them one has to wonder how they survive. Where do they get nourishment? And this in the middle of a heat wave right now!

I have some wonderful friends that remind me of these flowers. Right now the garden they are in is not one they chose. They have an adult daughter who recently became paralyzed from the waist down and has been having radiation treatments to treat a tumor on her spine. Their days are filled with waiting, meeting with doctors, and traveling between work and home and hospital. They spend as much time as possible with their daughter, taking care of her and emotional needs, trying to cheer her up and looking together with her for hope.

As the odds stack up, it seems like they are drawing all the hope they can through a crack in the concrete. But their faith runs deep, not just wide. Along with their pain right now they still smile and laugh–often through tears. And we hope and cry with them, because we are in this garden together.