JUNE 23, 2017 - JULY 6, 2017

The first memory I have of honey bees is watching my grandfather work with his bees. I was only 5 years old, and he put on a hat with a veil (no gloves), took off the tops of the hives and got the honey. I wasn’t close enough to actually see how he did it, but I sure did love the honey that he gave to my family. To be honest, I was afraid of the bees, but I had a good reason. During my childhood I was taken to the emergency room on two different occasions because of an allergic reaction to a bee sting. It’s a terrifying feeling when your tongue and throat swell up and you can’t breath. However, one needle full of medicine fixed me up both times, and I lived to tell the tale. I have been told that you can outgrow allergic reactions to bee stings, and I hope that is the truth, because I have been keeping bees for over fifteen years. These past few years have been difficult for beekeepers, because of some mysterious plague that has caused honey bees to vanish or the hives to die. I have lost several hives over the years, but I also seem to keep a couple alive and well.

There are a couple of ways a beekeeper can get more bees. The first way is to buy them from another beekeeper. This way is expensive and risky, because you don’t know how old the queen is, or if the hive has an illness, but you have bees to play with and look after throughout the summer. The second way to get honey bees is to catch a swarm. A swarm of honey bees comes about when a hive develops two queens and they split. The older queen will take the younger worker bees while the new queen stays home with the older worker bees. I received a phone call last week about a man who had a swarm of bees in his backyard and he wanted me to come and get them. I was extremely excited because first, they were free, and second, well…they were free. It’s not that easy to find swarms, and when you get the chance to get one, don’t pass it up! A swarm of bees can land on a bush, a cement statue, or even at the top of a 30 foot tree. If they are too high in a tree, I leave them alone because it is not worth the risk, even if they are free.

Something happened to me a few years ago when I lived in my former home that brought beekeeping to a whole new level. It was Sunday morning after church and I was walking home and noticed thousands of honey bees flying around my garage. I remembered that I had taken out some racks that had some honey in them out of a super and left them in the garage. I figured some honey bees had stumbled on to my mistake and had come to claim the honey. I walked into the middle of thousands of honey bees and watched them come and go from my garage. It was an awesome scene! I had to leave for a few hours, but when I returned I went back to my garage to see if the honey bees had gone back home. To my surprise, they had found a new home, inside one of my unused supers in my garage! For years I have searched high and low for swarms of honey bees, but this was the first time a swarm had found me! Does this make me the “Bee Charmer?” I’m not sure, but it does make me one happy bee keeper. I realize that some people would see thousands of bees in their garage as a curse, but I see it as a blessing. I can honestly say that blessings can come in all sorts of ways and at all times. If you look hard enough, you will find countless blessings God has placed in your life.

Ephesians 1:3 tells us, ”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Take a few moments today and consider all the wonderful gifts God have blessed you with throughout your life, and if you are a believer, consider all the blessings He has in store for you in eternity.

Remember, Don’t Give Into Sin, Think About It!

Dr. Vincent Hefner

First Baptist Church

of Cherryville