Bee colonies have been dying at such alarming rate that even Honey Nut Cheerios has temporarily done away with their bee mascot Buzz in an effort to raise awareness.
So what to do? Jesse Adcock, aka JR Bees, is saving and relocating unwanted swarms. Over the past few weeks, in Ocean Beach alone, Adcock says he has saved over 100,000 bees.
Though currently focused on the Ocean Beach/Point Loma area, Adcock and Ron Miller, his partner, will go where needed.
“We will save bees anywhere in the county,” says Miller. ”Jesse just saved a swarm in Hillcrest which contained 50,000 bees.”
"This was probably the oddest hive removal,” says Adcock. “The bees had moved into a trash can that day which had been filled with lawn clippings and were already drawing comb from the lid, there was roughly 3.5 pounds of bees, which were easily vacuumed up with my bee vac. It was done at around 9 p.m., so the bees were home and docile, only took about 30 minutes to save them."
Prior to living in San Diego, Adcock spent over a year with his brother living in Kansas, where he learned the art of beekeeping.
“My brother and I became fascinated with beekeeping. We did tons of research, watched every video we could find, read a bunch of books on the subject, and eventually ordered a couple of bee hives of our own…. Soon enough we were getting a few calls here and there for live hive and swarm removals over in KC, and the number of hives we had steadily grew.”
After a year of self-teaching, Adcock relocated to San Diego but within six months was back to the beekeeping. “It took a few years until I was able to build up the materials, resources, and find a spot to start keeping bees here; all in all, I guess I have almost two years’ experience handling bees….
“When capturing bees from an established hive, I use my bee smoker with a page of good news from the newspaper to trick the bees I am capturing into thinking there is a fire, which causes them to gorge themselves with honey to bring with them. Gorged honey bees are not able to sting because they cannot bend their abdomens to release their stingers; therefore, the smoked bees are much easier to work with and far less dangerous to be around….”
“I starting a nonprofit that aims to help the honey-bee population and educate people on the importance of honey bees,” continues Adcock. “I currently offer live removal of honey bees’ hives and swarms at no cost and plan to work with special-needs children assembling bee hives once I have enough materials…. It teaches the kids not only cognitive skills, but educates them on the importance of bees….”