Testimonial from St. Barnabas Church (written by rector to the congregation)
"Summertime and the livin' is easy..."
Just when our livin' ought to be easy, August in Greenwich in the back country, we had quite an exciting time here on our lovely hilltop campus this week when an insect infestation turned out to be honey bees (Apis mellifera). Don't worry, I didn't have the Latin name for honey bees at the tip of my tongue. The beekeeper who came and removed and relocated the colony from the eave at the end of the narthex mentioned it in an e-mail.
There is a bit of a back story that led up to the visit by the beekeeper these last couple of days. It most definitely contributed to a rise in my personal frustration with the inactivity of a pest control company. An observant parish member who was doing some work in the cemetery a month ago reported the presence of some flying insects in the eave by the narthex. We called the pest control company and I departed for vacation with the assumption that all would be well upon return.
Wrong! I noticed that the insects were still swarming around when I returned to the church. The pest control company returned last week. Only God knows what the service person did but it did not remedy the situation. This past Sunday afternoon, as our organist was rehearsing on Opus I; he noticed a lot of insects flying around INSIDE the narthex! By Monday morning it was like a scene from a science fiction movie in the narthex. You could hear the hum of the insects as they flew crazily around. Closed the doors into the church and opened the outside doors with hopes that the insects might dissipate. The Rector's blood pressure continued to escalate.
Another call to the pest control company and a meeting with a service person on Tuesday morning. The service person with whom I met was knowledgeable and in a confident matter of fact manner he identified the flying insects as honey bees. Then he reported that he could do nothing about them because of their importance in pollination and the stress that the species is undergoing. Of course, if they endangered people inside a building then an exception could be made.
I told him that I have been to one of my wife's garden club Pollinator Pot Luck suppers - with the topic of discussion being honey bees - and that there is no way I wanted to see the bees harmed any more than they already have been. The service person, in his matter of fact manner, said we need a beekeeper. Oh gee. I bet that's easy to do. I called Audubon, Greenwich and thankfully received several local beekeepers to contact. It was quite fascinating to see the beekeeper network in action. They take summer vacations just like the rest of us.
Enter Monkey's Pocket Apiary from Fairfield, CT and its proprietor Chris Wengenroth and his son on Wednesday morning. They sized up the situation, donned their protective bee gear, fired up a smoke machine and went to work. After they disassembled our structure to give them more access to the bees, this is what it looked like before their removal. They successfully removed the honey bee colony from the eave and left a "nuc" (short for "nucleus") honey bee box behind for stragglers to return to overnight (see below).
One has to love a person with a good sense of humor. The beekeeper sent the following in an e-mail to me after their good work (along with the top picture of the colony before its removal);
"This is the colony of Apis mellifera (honey bees) that you earmarked for re-location housing. They are currently in a re-settlement program being debriefed and one on one counseling is being offered to sooth their transition and lower their anxiety."
It went a very long way to greatly reducing my own level of anxiety and frustration about the whole matter. I found myself humming the tune and recalling the words from the fantastic musical "Godspell";
Day by day
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day
And all was well.
God grant us strength in our earthly voyage,
The Rev. Ted Pardoe, Rector
St. Barnabas Episcopal Church
954 Lake Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06831
From: Pam S*****
Subject: Thank you
Date: August 25, 2016 at 6:48:42 PM EDT
To: Chris Beekeeper <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Chris, I want to thank you for helping assist our guys today with the extraction of the honeybees. I am absolutely shocked at the amount of the combs and bees that were hiding out in our roof. I am glad that you were able to save them all and that you were on top of this issue as quickly as you were. I will happily recommend you to anyone experiencing this problem in the future and again many thanks for your attention to this matter.
Our services regarding Hives is strictly limited to Langstroth configurations.
Sorry, No Top Bar, Warré, Skep or Sterling Hives or Colonies.