The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 15, 2013

Saving honeybees, one hive at a time


The EPA is worried. The Department of Agriculture is worried. Scientists and bee farmers say honeybees help feed the world. If the bees die off, Brown said, we will eat nothing but lettuce and cereal and stringy free-range meat. Even the tender beef we eat comes indirectly from bees: They help pollinate the alfalfa that feeds cows.

Bees are part of God’s creation and deserve more respect, said Rocky Schmied, a Wichita beekeeper who admires Bill Vinduska.

“I am a Christian, and every time I see honeybees at work it is one more reason to believe in a creator,” he said. “There are so many flowers, all of whom produce nectar at different times of the day, and yet the bees know what flowers to go to when. They navigate back home from wherever they are. They communicate. They work together. I sit there watching sometimes and am amazed at what’s going on in those little tiny brains.”

Vinduska vacuumed hundreds of bees off the shingles, the vacuum hose leading into a containment box. He sheered shingles off with a nail-puller, shingles clattering down. Clubhouse people had called after seeing bees grouped on the roof.

“I wonder what the golfers would’ve thought if they’d known there’s thousands of bees just above their heads,” said Vinduska’s wife, Candy, while watching her husband at work.

There were about 40,000 wild bees in the roof seam. Sometimes, Bill Vinduska said, they find hives that big inside people’s houses. The last removal he and Candy had done before this one was in a west Wichita apartment — inside somebody’s closet.

Bees began circling Bill’s hooded head.

He cut a hole through plywood. Watching from below, Candy said she had no idea how angry Bill was about to make the bees. “Sometimes they’re nice,” he had said. “And sometimes not.”

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