Author Archives: bigbear

What Should My Property Management Business Do About Bees?

I’m concerned bout bees moving into a property.

It’s a question I get asked pretty frequently.  Just about every Spring when swarm season starts.  The first thing you should do in the Fall of each Year and at the beginning of Spring is to make sure any and all cracks, holes, crevices, etc… in your buildings and structures are sealed.  Use caulk, replace siding or roofing, whatever needs to be done to close up any possible entry points that bees might use as an entrance into an open void space.

This does more for you than prevent bees from moving in.  It helps keep other pests out a well.  It also reduces heating and cooling bills.  It prevents structural damage from rain and snow getting inside of unprotected and difficult to access places in a building.  It;s in your best interests to have your building gone over with a fine tooth comb and sealed up at the beginning of Spring each year.  An ounce of prevention and all that.

Bees have already gotten in, now what?

It’s best if you can can arrange a professional live removal in the Spring and within a days to a couple of weeks of the bees moving in.  Hopefully before the bees can get a full nest established.  If caught early, a “trap-out” might be successful without the need to do structural work to remove the nest. 

Most pest control operators try very hard to not kill bees anymore unnecessarily.  It’s part of their efforts to use pesticides responsibly, keep bees alive and it doesn’t help the public image in today’s society to be killing bees unnecessarily.  

If the bees have been there awhile already, it will definitely require some inspection and very likely structural work to open the structure, remove the nest ( as the state of Nebraska requires) and repair the opening.

We didn’t notice the bees until July or later

It’s very difficult to get any beekeeper to do a live capture or removal after July because the likelihood that the bees won’t survive over the Winter increase with every week after the end of June.   If at all possible, it’s best to let the bees stay in place until the following Spring.  Either the bees will die over the Winter and all you need to have done is have the cavity opened up to remove the nest  or the bees live and Spring is the best chance to remove bees and keep them alive.

Some hobbyist beekeepers or clubs offer free removal, why pay a professional?

One of the main reasons businesses hire a professional is that their own insurance requires a professional contractor that is insured at the very least.  A professional is also more likely to have the proper professional tools and equipment to do the job right.  Also, a professional usually has a more open schedule to arrange service at the convenience of the client as opposed to the schedule of the hobbyist that often has a job, family and other obligations to consider.

Live removals do require insurance,  tools, equipment, experience, trained skills, knowledge of bees to prevent people from being unnecessarily stung and more.  All of these things cost the professional bee removal tech money and more.  Let’s turn the question around, do you go to work, doing your best professional work, for free?

What can happen if we don’t have the nest removed?

Honey bee nests still contain honey and pollen.  Without bees, should they have died one way or another, to maintain the environment inside, the wax of the nest may melt.  The honey can ferment and run down.  Left behind bee nests will draw other pests such as roaches, beetles, moths, spiders mice and more.

This can not just damage but cause environmental issues such as mold inside walls and ceilings.  Dripping, fermented honey can leak into drywall, plaster and wood, making the material smell virtually as though something died there, staining it beyond repair.

I offer professional live bee removal services for businesses and  property managers.

I carry business liability insurance and am a registered contractor with the state of Nebraska.  This is to assure my clients that they can get structural opening, bee nest removal and structural repair  to properly close the voidspace and prevent other pests from getting in and prevent future bee swarms from moving in to that same space.

I manage hives for area businesses and organizations and the bees are relocated to those more appropriate places so that everyone wins.


Linux is TLC for Laptops

Nobody sensible likes to be wasteful or throw away valuable tools.  Would you buy a new high end drill only to donate it or sell it in a yard sale a couple years later because it’s warranty ended or it needed a simple and inexpensive repair or maybe just needs a little love and proper cleanup?

Of course not.  That’s silly.  Ridiculous even.  So then why ditch an otherwise fine laptop computer just because the previous operating system on it went haywire or got clunky?  The machine itself is still very usable, it just needs a little love.

Linux is TLC for laptops.  It makes the bad things go away.  It takes the slow, the infected, the bloated and gives it’s innards a new lease on life.  You’d be amazed how fast and sleek that old laptop that wasn’t worth even turning on anymore will work with a fresh Linux install on it.

How many hundreds of dollars did you spend on that valuable piece of technology?  You just want to let it be wasted when all it needs is a trip to the Linux Spa to get lively again?

Depending on how much of your own time and effort you want to put into it, you can revive that old laptop and get years of continued usefulness from it for as little as the cost of an InstallDVD or USB.  That’s right, you’re talking maybe as low as maybe $5.00 to $20.00 dollar to make your several hundreds of dollars of laptop run seemingly like new again.

Heck, if you have the willingness and tech savvy, it could dang near be free entirely.  

I can do a professional install for you for a very reasonable cost if you’d rather just get it done right from the get go and use it right out the gate.

No matter how you go about it, don’t just lose value in an awesome piece of tech just because some proprietary, bloated, out of expensive warranty, software isn’t getting the job done anymore.  

Heck, I can even show you awesome ways to re-purpose those older laptops with their shiny, new Linux lease on life in ways that make your household and your lifestyle way more efficient and less tedious.

Don’t boot out those laptops, just show them some TLC and they will give you way more than you could have hoped for.

Updates for October 2017

Get Your Plans Ready

The Fall is cooling us down.   Hive inspections are getting to years end.  Now is a great time to lay out your beekeeping plans for 2018 so that preparation can begin.

Know what your goals and measurable objectives will be for next year.  Knowing that information now can help you figure out what to buy, make, save for, order, etc… ahead of time so your not missing things at the last minute.

One of the most frustrating things in beekeeping is to be in the midst of a situation during an inspection, removal, capture, etc… and realize that either you don’t know what to do next or you don’t have what you need right now.

Remember one of Big Bear’s main Rules; “It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”  Standing in the middle of a field or yard, geared up, in the thick of things and just stuck for what to do now is terribly stressful.

Apiarist Internships and Apprenticeships

As plans come together for 2018 here at BBE-Tech Apiary Services, more opportunities are opening up to provide professional training for a few beekeepers.

I currently have openings for up to six Interns and two Apprentices so far as plans are right now.  That may change as Apiary management contracts are developed over the next few months.

I am a contract manager of private apiaries for area businesses and organizations that want to use honey and wax especially for their various purposes.  They own the property, the hives and the bees.  I make them productive.

It’s a great way for these clients to have awesome resources to use to sell in or as products, to use for promotional and marketing purposes, and to use as gifts and rewards to their customers, guests, employees and associates.

I have to make sure these hives are productive, profitable and demonstrable.  My clients often like to have me do special presentations for guests who are fascinated with bees and appreciate these people’s and businesses commitment to bee conservation.

In that light, it is a great opportunity for me to bring on interns, apprentices, and journeymen to learn how to do this successfully.  As I grow, my goal is to be able to hire the people who become certified apiarists through this program to build this budding bee business even more.

More information on becoming an Intern or Apprentice for 2018 can be found at my Bee Smart beekeeping project website.

Beekeeping Classes

The beekeeping classes I am teaching at Metro Community College will be on hold over the Winter as they prepare a new location that will allow for more in person and hands-on applied skills opportunities.

The Basic Beekeeping classes will start back up at the new location in the Spring 2018 quarter.

You can always go to the MCC non credit online catalog to keep up to date with when new beekeeping classes will happen.  Look in the “Animals” section to find my classes.

Opening A New Apiary

If you’ve been following me on social media you probably already know that I am working on a collaborative Apiary project with Scatter Joy Acres non profit organization up in the Florence area of Omaha.

Scatter Joy Acres owns the apiary, just like my other clients as well as the property and the bees, etc…  I am going to manage the apiary there which I get to name and will be called, “Bee Joyful Apiary”.

Bee Joyful Apiary will serve as an educational project to provide guests at Scatter Joy Acres opportunities to be around bees in a positive environment and to learn about beekeeping.  I will be doing classes on-site as well as workshops and other activities as well in conjunction with Joy and her team.

Also yes, this will be one of the apiaries that my in terms, apprentices and journeymen will be learning with me at.


So, what is the thing here with Linux services anyway?

Anyone who knows me at all knows that at best, I can bee described as “Eclectic”.  Diverse really doesn’t give it justice.  I have many areas and depth of experience in multiple fields simply because I cannot tolerate boredom.  As a result, I have over the years become an accomplished computer network technician and network administrator, a Linux operating system specialist, a professional beekeeper, a truck driver (though I gave up my CDL) and an experienced warehouse manager and inventory freak (I get rather OCD about inventory)

Back on topic…

Linux as an operating system project has been a passion of mine since the mid to late 1990’s.  It represents to me freedom in doing the things I want to do in computing not what someone else thinks I should do and freedom of accessibility thereby making technology accessible to more people who might not otherwise be able to afford it.  I love the community nature of development in which otherwise total strangers living literally across the world from each other can share knowledge and  experience with each other in the pursuit of getting something out of their involvement that allows them to do more on their own.

That, my friends, is nothing short of awesome!

Over the years i have been hired by people to set up home and small business networked systems to help them achieve more with technology.  Linux is a GINORMOUS tool to that end.  Linux powers most of the World Wide web at this point.  Google and Android?  Here because of Linux, thank you very much.

As we step even deeper into the age of technological connectivity, Linux is poised to help anyone take those steps more affordably and more reliably.  Whether it’s having a home server to deliver multimedia content to home entertainment systems or private email servers to reduce prying eyes where they need not be.  Creating shared printing and storage systems, file sharing for the household, you name it, Linux can help us make it happen.  I can put that together for you.

Using GNU-Linux as a home laptop or PC operating system can extend or take most advantage of older or more limited resource computers.  extending their life and usefulness well beyond the warranty and thus increasing the overall return on investment of the equipment.

Not sure how to use Linux systems?  Afraid they might be too different from the system you’ve been using for so long?  Not to worry!  I teach classes on how to use Linux as a “regular” user  and as a “Power User”  in one-on-one private coaching.

I am also going to begin teaching those same Intro to Linux classes at Metro Community College next Spring as well so everyone can get to using and being productive with Linux systems lickety split.

Haven’t you ever wondered where the “Tech” in BBE-Tech came from?  That’s right, trained, qualified, certified Linux geek at your service.

Basic Beekeeping Classes Can Build Confidence

Hey folks, many of you know that I teach beekeeping classes at Metro Community College here in Omaha, NE.  Every quarter we start the series over again so that a new batch of potential beekeepers can get a start or current beekeepers can learn more about a specific beekeeping subject at their better opportunity.

If nothing else, taking an in-depth beekeeping class can help improve a person’s confidence going into beekeeping or continuing on.  Having knowledge of things like bee biology, behavior, hive management methods and more can help ease stress and frustration.  Allowing the beekeeper to remain more calm and focused on the tasks at hand.  By being more calm while working with bees, common mistakes, distractions, and errors can be reduced thereby reducing unnecessary distress on bees and making them less likely to become defensive or aggressively so.

Taking classes that go into more detail and offer more opportunities for discussion also allows people to ask questions that will help them be more successful in their own specific situation, meeting their own goals and objectives.

With some potential change opportunities coming for horticultural related classes, there will not be bee classes offered during the Winter quarter.  However, we still would love to see you at the remaining classes this Fall quarter.

You can register online for any of the current Fall classes at the MCC Continuing Education website here.  

Things have to change

Due to a variety of market influences priorities have to change as they always do.  For those who know me and have worked with me over the past few years, there is nothing more I love than working with bees and beekeeping on a full time basis as a career path.

Having said that, sometimes don’t go the way they are planned.  As a self-employed person, I have to keep working.  When there isn’t the demand for one kind of work, then another must be found.

Things that will continue to happen…

I will continue to teach bee and beekeeping classes at Metro Community College for the foreseeable future.

I will be teaching beeswax crafts classes at Mangelsen’s at least once per month for the foreseeable future.

I will continue to run the Bee Smart beekeeping project website and podcast.

Live bee removal and relocation.

Ongoing collaboration on beekeeping training as part of the Bee Smart beekeeping project at Scattered Joy Acres in Florence area.

Things that are no longer being offered…

Hive and Apiary inspections and certification.

Individual coaching.

Hive and Apiary management services.


On teaching beekeeping

As the beekeeping instructor and trainer at a few places around the Omaha metro area, I am always looking for new information, different methodologies, most current best practices and techniques.  It’s my job.  

The way I see it, by even putting myself out there as an instructor means that there will be people who see and read things in various books, magazines, videos and from other people and they are going to want more details about those things.  They often expect an instructor to be able to answer  at least most of those questions.

So I study apiculture every day of my life.  I am in many ways more a student of apiculture than an instructor because I am always seeking new and different information.

When I am in the instructor/trainer position, it is my goal to teach people how to be successful beekeepers and apiarists according to their goals, objectives, locality and means.  The very last thing I want to do is teach people to be the beekeeper that I am.  

If all I ever accomplish is having students answer beekeeping questions with, “That’s what my instructor/trainer/mentor told me to do.” then I have failed as an instructor.  I endeavor to have beekeepers I work with to be able to be self reliant.  To know what their own goals and objectives are and the general practices and techniques to reach those goals and objectives.

Beekeeping is not just local, it’s individual.  It’s local in that the locality greatly impacts the success of the hives.  Local environment, weather, forage availability, etc…   Beekeeping is individual because almost every about you as a person is part of your beekeeping experience.  Your personal, political, even religious beliefs can affect your beekeeping decisions.

Trying to teach you to be the beekeeper that I am and having you learn only to mimic what I do is robbing you of your best experience and potential for success such as you define success by your determined goals and objectives.  I can’t bring myself to do that.

Instead, I make the effort to present the facts and most common knowledge so that you can make your own, informed decisions.  I encourage students and trainees to always ask questions about how the information applies or what more specific information might apply to their own beekeeping.

Any one can read a book or watch a video and gain information.  People take classes so that they can ask questions and get first hand experience in a controlled environment where they aren’t going in alone.

So I continue to study and learn to answer your questions and I continue to work at beekeeping so that I am able to pass along experienced and informed information.

I don’t believe there is a universal right or wrong way to go about beekeeping.  I think there is usually a best way for each individual beekeeper and their bees.

BBE-Tech Apiary Services Teams Up with Scattered Joy Acres

It bee exciting news!

BBE-Tech Apiary Services has teamed up with Scattered Joy Acres in Florence to set up a teaching apiary in which beekeeping classes, workshops and Apprenticing opportunities will be available.

As part of the collaboration, Tony “Big Bear” Sandoval will operate and manage the growing apiary for Scattered Joy Acres providing training and apprenticing for Scattered Joy Acres staff and volunteers.  

Teaching new beekeepers what to look for to keep healthy hives.

Bees for the hive will be gotten from swarm captures and live bee removals from houses and properties that hire BBE-Tech Apiary Services for those captures and removals.  Colonies that are healthy enough and survive will be candidates for placement at that apiary location.

Honey from those hives operated at the Scattered Joy Acres Apiary will be used for fundraising and operational purposes by Scattered Joy Acres.

The Scattered Joy Acres Apiary will be the primary training and certification program offered by BBE-Tech Apiary Services.  Special hands-on classes, certification testing, workshops and training opportunities will be able to be conducted at that location.

All in all, this is a tremendous opportunity of collaboration between Scattered Joy Acres and BBE-Tech Apiary Services to provide unique self-reliance learning and values of stewardship to area residents.

Working Bees Up the Creek, in Honey Creek, IA

Sometimes a beekeeper just needs a hand from someone with more experience in a particular area.  Today I was assisting a first year beekeeper who has gotten a good start at beekeeping to check out his hives.

Floyd started with 2 hives this Spring and sound up giving 2 swarms since.  Last inspection, he bought one of his original 2 colonies had gone queenless.  Turns out, he was right.

Looking for evidence of a queen.

After determining that the colony was indeed queenless, we “borrowed” a frame of eggs from one of the other hives.  It’s still not too late to have the colony to raise a queen, though I did tell him to look around for a mated queen supplier just in case.

After that, we did a thorough check and cleanup of all the other hives.  We scraped burr and brave comb.  We removed excess propolis from frame rests, and we tidied up in general.

Clean up your act you messy bees!

We’ll do a follow up call with Floyd in a few days to see if there are queens being raised from the eggs we put in.  

For a cloudy day the bees were on their best behavior.  It had rained sometime before and the barometric pressure wasn’t too low so no stings for us.  Yay!

Lots of good little bees here.

This opportunity to bee of assistance to a local beekeeper was brought to you in part by the wonderful folks that support us at the Bee Smart Patreon page  You can bee part of the solution and help us help bees and beekeepers by becoming a Bee Smart supporter also.

Doing things differently

Several people, after reading my post yesterday of discontinuing coaching and residential live bee removal services, messaged me asking me to reconsider.  They appreciate my ability to offer professional apiarist advice and services, especially to those unable to find suitable (being insured, having appropriate experience, equipment, etc…).

So I thought “Let’s try something different”.  Many times hobby beekeepers really are unable to afford to pay for services.  This goes for residential homeowners as well.  Let’s see if we can build a group of supporters to chip in and contribute so that I can continue to make a living (family wants clothes, food, shelter, that kind of stuff.  I need insurance, tools, equipment and gas at the very minimum, all of which isn’t free).

So since we have the Bee Smart Patreon page already up and running and we can turn those into interesting media and content, let’s get a group of supporters to help contribute to making sure I can provide those services on an ongoing basis.

You don’t need to be a beekeeper or have any other interest in bees or beekeeping to help.  Just go to the Patreon page and sign up at any of the existing levels of support and we can make these services continue to happen for folks .