La Cruz marina has a bee swarm problem this winter. Over the summer the bees found comfy nests inside sails and sail covers and moved onto the boats with a vengeance. This has been an unpleasant surprise for boaters returning to their boats after the summer away.

So far I seem to have avoided bees living on my boat – but I am being hounded by bees from surrounding boats.

I tried to replace a large lazaret hatch that leaked while I was away. I managed to remove the hatch easily enough, and left the lazaret open for a few days to air. During that time the boat next door had a beekeeper come in to smoke his bees out. No one mentioned to the surrounding boats that this was being done and the first I knew was when I saw Mexican workers leaping off the docks into the water to evade the angry swarm.

And suddenly the bees were all over my boat too. I fled below and slammed all the hatches shut. It took some days for those bees that had been out foraging while their nest was being removed, to figure out that “home” was gone and that they were not welcome on other boats. The bees continued to harass us for days.

During that time I decided – quite stupidly in retrospect- to glue the hatch back in place. I got a tube of quick drying marine glue and set about running ridges of glue all around the opening. Then I dropped the hatch into place… and the first of a group of bees found me.

But I couldn’t stop work because the glue was quick drying. So I would quickly screw in a screw to hold the hatch in place, then bolt for my cabin with the bees chasing me. Then I would cautiously return, screw in the next screw and bolt for the cabin being chased by bees. I had about 20 screws I had to get in place before the quick acting glue hardened, so it was a race against the bees.

Eventually I was forced to just endure them swarming me as I tried to screw in the last of the screws, and bat off the angry bees. I managed to kill a few.
But of course I got stung a few times.
And of course I was not happy.

Then I moved from the marina out to the anchorage and anchored quite far offshore. Far enough out, I figured, to not be harassed by foraging bees.

I once watched a Discovery show on bees. This guy sat in a rowboat tied to shore, and had a plate of honey with him to attract bees. One bee found him and rushed back to the hive to tell the rest. It did that bee dance and a small swarm quickly arrived at the plate of honey on the boat.

Then the researcher untied from the shore and rowed 20 feet out into the lake and anchored. Once again a bee found the plate and rushed back to the hive to tell the others. Once again a small swarm arrived to gorge on the feast.

The third time the researcher moved the boat 100 feet out into the lake. And once again a foraging bee found the plate of honey. But this time when the bee rushed back to the hive to tell the others, they didn’t believe him! Apparently bees know that flowers don’t grow in the middle of a lake, so they ignored his Good News.

Well Mexican bees don’t seem to know that nothing grows 1/5 mile offshore in an anchorage.

Or maybe they do know that boats have sugar, and honey, and sodas, and candy?

I was trying to replace my old faded tattered Mexican flag with a nice new one, when my colorful clothes attracted bees. I hung that flag pronto and bolted downstairs leaving the bees to investigate the red color on the flag as a possible source of yummies.

In any event, wearing a yellow or red or purple T-shirt or shorts will quickly attract the attention of the bee hazard here in La Cruz this season.

The saving grace are the gorgeous sunsets every evening, when the bees are safely back in their hives, and I can sit outside drinking in the glory of purples and oranges and pinks in the sky as the sun sinks majestically behind the mountains.

As my brother would say…. Every silver lining has a cloud.







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