Thanks to a horde of bees and a little greed from yours truly, I’m pretty sure my neighbors now hate me. That’s what happens when you take your own sweet time calling a beekeeper to relocate honeybees from your garage. By which I mean, I let the hive grow untouched for three months once I noticed the busy little guys flying in and out of the top left corner of my garage door. I’d have let my minions stew longer to make more honey but the neighbors threatened to call the authorities if I didn’t get rid of them. Fine. No honey for you, neighbors.
Which just meant more honey for me. With the U.S. facing chronic honeybee die-off’s, there was no way I was going to call in an exterminator. I turned to that all-knowing source for cheap local services, Craigslist, to find a beekeeper willing to give my bees a new home where they’d be appreciated and not subject to the imagined fears of the Renn faire pirate living next door. No, really. I’m not kidding. My crazy neighbor is a pirate impersonator for his day job. You’d think anyone who owns working flintlocks, cutlasses, and a bloody cannon that fires wouldn’t get his pantaloons in a bunch over a few bees. Maybe one looked like a British admiral. We’ll never know.
What we do know is, a hundred bucks gets you bee removal and a lot of honey. Mike Bee, the guy I called to handle the move, told me the job would take about 45 minutes. He’d pump in pine needle smoke to mask the alarm pheromone the bees give off when the hive is threatened in order to keep them calm, then close himself off in the garage and vaccum all the bees into a special box with mesh on the sides so the bees would be okay until transplanted to their new apiary up in the San Fernando Valley.
The job took three hours.
It seems I didn’t have lazy bees. They made a pretty sizable honeycomb and there were a lot more than we thought. But don’t take my word for it. Check out the video on our Facebook page.
The Home Depot bucket on the left holds the yummy. When Mike started, he said there should be enough honey for a Tupperware container. In the end, he just let me keep the 5-gallon bucket (which was roughly 3-gallons full of comb to be mined). If you’ve never harvested organic honey from the comb, it’s a simple matter of straining it through cheese cloth or a wire strainer overnight into some sort of container, then transferring it to jars. At one point, I was up to my elbows in honey in the literal sense. You’ll want to pick any stray bees out of the comb with a paper towel first, of course. If you want to live dangerously and risk getting stung, you could pick them out with your bare hands. I don’t recommend that, but do what you have to do, Danger.
Anyway, the reason you’re reading about this on a spicy food blog is I thought it’d be cool to spike some of the honey with a little fire. Dave DeWitt recommended adding New Mexico chile powder a quarter teaspoon at a time until it reached the desired heat. Two was enough for the small jar I used–a nice balanced heat. Once I come up with some recipe ideas, I’ll share them. Until then, you’ll find me doing this:
Unlike the character I’m ripping off, you’ll note I’m wearing pants. You’re welcome.