Beekeeping in Phoenix

A Beekeeper at a resort

It is amazing how many bees traffic through the Arizona Country side.  Here in our city there are quite a bit of bees found, but particularly during the nice months out here from October through June when the temperatures are 70s-80s.  It is not difficult to see why they increase their movement throughout The Valley.  There is plenty of flowers for them to obtain nectar from, plenty of pools of water to drink from, and people are out and about.  The only connection to the people being out, is they tend to see bees while they are out.  Although bees are a lot like people they tend to go to bed at night, protect their babies, and store up food for the winter, when they tend to almost hibernate.  If you just Google search abellobees you will find one of the best beekeepers I have come across in Arizona.  Specifically in Phoenix AZ while vacationing up there, Derek the beekeeper was removing bees from one of the resorts I was staying at…My concern for the environment and curiosity for this bug led me to strike up a conversation with him.  He is a wealth of knowledge.  I couldn’t believe how much I learned from him.  He told me how he was a Biology Major at ASU 15 years ago in College and then recently moved off the grid about 7 years ago and started keeping bees and now runs a company as a beekeepers Phoenix.  His company is about 5 years old now, and has been removing bees from all over the Valley.

Bees in the Country

I have learned that it is so wonderful to watch the desert bloom in the spring, and enjoyable to watch in the fall.  Where the bees are, everything seems to be green a lush and fruitful.  The aromas are better, the fruits are more abundant and there is simply just more activity and life.  After talking to Derek I learned that bees just tend to find the most ideal place for them to start building their hive.  This typically is in a tree or in a house of homeowners.  “The reason why homes are so good for bees, is because they usually have a water source, and plenty of flowers for food.  Bees Don’t like to fly farther than in a 5 mile radius for these things so they will find a home to build their hive in, which protects them from the elements and allows them to keep the honey comb strong. ” Derek Said.  He went on to tell me that the bees tend to have their hive temperature regulated throughout the year so the temperature of the hive stays about 95 degrees year round.  Pretty incredible that the bees understand how to do this in such hot weather in Phoenix.  Bees in the country side tend to land in trees, hollow old trees, or even near creeks and lakes.

How to safely relocate them

Why wouldn’t someone just want to exterminate them if the cost is cheaper?  I asked Derek this question and he went on to inform me that in many cases it is not cheaper.  Not only does it introduce harmful chemicals to kill the bees, but it wastes the honey, is toxic to the environment, and sometimes doesn’t kill all the bees.  He went on to further say that the bees regulate the honey comb in the hive, so once they are dead the honey comb melts inside the structure and honey starts dripping out.  Some honey and comb can be hundreds of pounds.  Which is pretty incredible but also in the Phoenix Heat the bees will start to cool the hive, without them the hive instantly starts to melt.  It also can begin to stink “like a dead person” as some people have described the smell.  So in the long run it is more cost effective to just get the bees removed right the first time.  Especially since he also consults the owner on how to keep the bees from coming back in the future.  So to safely remove them and relocate them takes time and skill.  Not something an exterminator has, so beekeepers have to open up the area where the bees are to get the bees out alive, and relocate all of the honey and brood comb so it doesn’t melt and cause all the problems mentioned above.  There is also a considerable amount of time involved in having to transport the bees to their new location and relocate all the cut out comb to a new hive box with frames.