Author: charles_agar@yahoo.com

CharlieBee on KSAT 12 San Antonio

Check out Charlie with Fiona Gorostiza on KSAT-12’s SA Live talking about the upcoming show on Austin PBS in the fall. Click the image from the show to watch the segment.

Charlie Bee Company is a 9-episode reality series about bee removal and beekeeping in and around New Braunfels, Texas. Charlie Agar and his compadres Al Friedle and George Thomas find all kinds of adventures and learn from other removal pros and experts about all things bees and beekeeping.

Stay tuned for announcements of the show kicking off!

Four Hive Removals in One Day

An exciting day of bee removal at a game ranch in Encinal, Texas – not far from the border with Mexico.

This 400-acre deer lease had a long-derelict trailer home that had been just taken over by bees in recent years.

The ranch manager had been planning to just burn the trailer down because the bees were so feisty they couldn’t even get close to the structure at all. In the meantime, they had just been keeping their distance from the structure and not doing any mowing.

When the bees moved into a new trailer on the property, I got the call and despite the long drive decided to take it on.

Alas, I forgot my CD case as I loaded up to leave New Braunfels, and once I got a ways south of San Antonio could only find one radio station – all Tejano all the time! But I found myself even singing along by the end of the trip.

The first three hives were pretty standard removals. One – the more recently developed hive under the new trailer. That hive was too close for comfort and the tipping point that got them to call me.

Then I jumped into the three soffit removals from the deserted trailer. The front door of the derelict building was locked, so I had to slide into the structure through a large hole in a bathroom wall. The interior looked untouched for years, with old deer heads and man-camp accoutrement and décor.

I searched the structure with my thermal camera and only came up with one heat signature – a 94-degree Fahrenheit reading that indicates the presence of bees. Only one colony had built at all into the interior; the others were in the overhang outside.

The second and third removals were pretty standard soffit jobs, although large hives with old dark comb – an indicator that there’d been bees there for years. Lots of work to cut out all the comb and vacuum up the bees.

Then the last hive was a doozy. My GoPro ran out of battery so I just went at it without recording. And of course, this was the mother of all hives!

The bees poured out of the open like an angry leak in a water-tower, and the further I dug into the hive the more comb and honey I found and dripped down on my face and all over my bee suit – not to mention being covered by some very angry bees and getting a few stings through my veil. Ouch!

I ended up having to get inside and cut the trailer ceiling to get at the bulk of the honey and vacuum up a big ball of bees.

Once finished, I visited with the clients over some delicious deer sausage sandwiches before the long drive back to New Braunfels where I hived the bees up.

As of this morning, the transplanted bees are getting situated in their new boxes and I’ll know how they’ll fare or if they need queens in coming days.

All in all a very long and tiring day but definitely worth it. Heck, what else can I do with my time during a dang pandemic?!

If you have bee troubles, please don’t hesitate to reach out – 830.708.8797. A short phone conversation is all it will take to begin the diagnosis of your situation and come up with a plan of action.

If I don’t have the resources to help, I’ll gladly point you in the right direction.

And an important note: I practice careful social distancing in these COVID-19 days. In fact, with or without a nasty virus going around, I make sure the area is clear of people and pets before I start work for safety.

If you find bees, stay away, don’t spray, and call me today!

Bee Removal in Marion, Texas

Got a call from a homeowner about bees they’d had in a pallet for some time. They’d bought a hive body (deep box) with a bottom board, inner cover, and telescoping cover, and set that near the hive in the hopes the bees would migrate there. They did (either swarmed or moved) and filled the box, unfortunately cross-combing the near-empty box with natural comb.

And these bees were feisty!

The property had just sold and the folks wanted to make sure the new owner didn’t have to deal with bee troubles.

We first assessed the bees in the box. A healthy, queen-right, and very defensive colony. Not a problem! We’d just whisk them away to the “Beehab” and work with them (likely divide and requeen).

Next we removed the original hive from the pallet, cleaned it all up and were on our way.

Happy to be able to help folks with complicated bee problems, and ensure that the bees can carry on doing their work somewhere safe and away from people.

“If you got bees in your eaves, that’s when we roll up our sleeves!” Just call Charlie at 830.708.8797.

Screen Shot of Charlie Bee YouTube Frame - a Video about Bees that Attacked a dog in Pleasonton, Texas

Texas Bees Can Be Deadly! Stay Safe, Y’all!

New Braunfels, TX — When I got the call from a family in Pleasonton, Texas that bees had attacked and killed a family pet, we hurried down to help them out. So sad to hear when a nuisance hive situation becomes a tragedy!

We were able to quickly cut the floor of the shed to get access to the hive and get the bees out – using lots of smoke as we worked to keep the hive confused and calm. The removal was pretty standard for us, really, only the hive was rapidly building up for spring and had a volume of bees. That’s likely the reason for their extreme defensiveness.

We were able to remove these bees safely and take them to a “Bee Rehab” yard where we can get them situated in a hive box, monitor their behavior, and re-queen them with a gentle queen.

We’ve had Africanized Bees in Central Texas since the 1990s, and you can bet that most feral colonies you encounter have some strain of “Apis Mellifera Scutellata,” or the Africanized variety, which are much more defensive and dangerously persistent once they attack.

If you see bees, DO NOT SPRAY THEM WITH ANYTHING! That just makes them mad! Stay clear of the hive entrance and call a beekeeper or your local extension office for recommendations.

If you are stung, get inside … a building, a car, anything. Africanized bees will follow you for miles and won’t quit. Best to get inside a safe space, away from the hive, and remove any bees from your person.

Always seek medical attention with a major sting incident. Stay safe out there, y’all!

If you have troubles with bees anywhere along the I-35 corridor in and around New Braunfels, Texas, visit CharlieBee.com or call Charlie at 830.708.8797.

We’re on TV!

The Charlie Bee Company TV pilot is live on Amazon Prime. Simply search “Charlie Bee” at Amazon.com or click the graphic below.

It’s $1.99 to rent or $5 to buy the 22-minute episode. On December 24, the show will be free to Amazon Prime members — Merry Christmas!

This is a chance to get a glimpse into this fun reality series. Please take a minute to give feedback on Amazon in the form of a star-rating and/or review. Means a lot!

We’re currently looking for additional private or corporate underwriters to complete this first season and go live on broadcast. If you are that underwriter or know someone who wants to get on board with CharlieBee, contact us at takethesebees@gmail.com.

Why did the bees choose me?

It’s not you! Really!

So often when I arrive at a home where there’s a nuisance bee hive, folks are somehow embarrassed by the bees in their eaves, tree, or in a crawl space. Let it go!

Bees reproduce by casting off a swarm (usually in springtime) and search out new places to build their hives. And they’ll pick the darndest places to do it. I’ve removed hives from just about anywhere, even the bilge of a boat once.

Once the bees move in, they’ll just do their work quietly and build up their colony. You’ll only notice them when the hive is strong enough that they start defending their resources — which often means a few stings when you’re running your mower or weed whacker. But by then the bees have probably been there for a while.

Sure, it’s not a bad idea to seal up openings in walls and eaves or even fill in a big tree cavity, but bees are opportunists and if they find a nice, weather-protected area on your property they just might move in.

So it’s not you! Just call a local beekeeper!

We go anywhere for bees!

We’ll go just about anywhere to remove bees, and on this job my mentor Al Friedle and I had the extra help of a mechanical lift to get us up into the trees to take down a hive that had taken up in an owl box.

Nothing is more fun than going up high in a lift, and while I keep telling my wife that we really need to invest one for the bee business, she has run the numbers and is not quite convinced.

First thing on the job we got all suited up, including Roberto the lift operator. Safety is our main priority and we want to make sure everyone on the site is protected and knows what they might expect (even the cameraman).

We lit our bee smoker to calm the bees as we worked them, then headed up into the tree.

Once in front of the hive, I started vacuuming bees off of the exterior of a hive. I use a low-pressure bee vacuum that pulls the bees safely into a wire chamber so we can relocate them.

Vacuuming the outside reduces the hives numbers right away, particularly the “guard bees” whose job it is to protect the colony.

Once I had removed a lot of bees, I was able to just stuff the main hive opening closed, then remove the box from the trunk of the tree and take it to the ground where I covered it with a transport net to keep the bees in their place.

Of course, lots of bees got loose in the process so I went back up into the tree to vacuum up any returning foragers.

After I’d captured as many as I could (and likely the queen inside the netted box), we took the bees to our bee yard a few miles away, dismantled the box, and introduced the bees to their new home.

Hive saved, happy client, happy beekeepers! What could be better?