Bees are not often welcome at outdoor gatherings.
But, they had a place of honor on Friday at Cub Scout Camp.
Beekeeper Jacob Devereaux, also an Eagle Scout, brought his glass-walled observation hive and various beekeeping equipment to show the Scouts.
“We are talking about beekeeping and the importance of bees”, said Devereaux. “I care about bees a lot. They represent a third of our food production.
Human impacts cause problems for bees.
“Because of pesticides … bee populations are declining”, said Devereaux.
He spoke with the pesticide scouts – “do not use them during flowering plants.”
The observation hive was the main attraction for the young people. They could see some of the over 10,000 bees inside doing their jobs.
The bees were temporarily trapped in the hive, for demonstration purposes only.
He had a picture of a queen bee, which he had to show when requested by the Boy Scouts. The queen remained in the center of the hive, out of sight, but doing her job.
Devereaux also had a bee vacuum that he planned to use to help him turn a wild swarm into a new colony.
The swarms are generally not angry, he said. Because they left their hive, they have their valuables – honey – with them in their stomachs. They don’t have to defend it.
Spraying a swarm will make him angry, he said. Instead, people who find a swarm should call a beekeeper. Local beekeepers share information on the Warren County PA Beekeepers Facebook page.
Devereaux explained to the Boy Scouts why the smoke makes the bees calmer. he uses pine wood litter in his smokehouse – the beehives are pine. When the bees smell the smoke, “they think their house is on fire”, he said. Therefore, “they come in and eat the honey.”
Once their valuables are safely devoured, the bees are calm.
Angry swarms and beehives smell slightly of bananas, he said. A queen, when the hive is not angry, usually smells of lemon.
Beekeeping is a hobby for Devereaux. It is not a profitable business. “It’s a hobby that allows you to reach the breakeven point” he said.
It can also be painful. It has only been bitten twice this year. “On my worst day, I got bitten 15 times. “