The Bees And The Poinciana Tree


IMG_0258We have a very old Poinciana Tree in our back yard. This time of year it is beautiful with bright red orchid-like blossoms. There are many of these trees in Key West; you can hardly turn a corner without seeing one. Unfortunately, they are also very messy trees most of the year, and this one hangs over our patio and back door. In the last hurricane, a very large branch broke off near the base, leaving a snare drum size hole going down into the bowels of the tree.


Now, the bees.   Ah, the bees. We first noticed them a few years ago in the All Spice tree just outside the porch. There was a huge swarm there.  By the next day, they had moved into the bowels of the Poinciana Tree. It was all kind of cool. We liked the bees. They fertilized the fruit trees and pretty much took care of themselves.

IMG_0261Then, last year we decided to cut down the Poinciana Tree. We called the tree removal guy, got a permit for six months, and hired a Beekeeper to relocate the bees to a man-made hive we would put in the far reaches of our back yard. He sealed the hive with a white concrete-like stuff and a little tunnel object which let the bees out, but not back in. That was last September. It took some time to get all the other paths into the hive plugged.

Now I am beginning to dislike the bees. In April, I had to e-mail the City Tree Removal Person asking for a six-month extension of the permit, saying that removal of the bees was proving more difficult than imagined.

Since then, the bees have been camping outdoors and it is now June and the whole apparatus for luring the Queen Bee out is collapsing. (I’m beginning to dislike her, particularly). We don’t know where she is, but the bees are still living outside supposedly not being able to get back in. The Queen is supposed to get distressed and come out and go into a little hive with sugar water bringing the bees with her and then the bees are removed and we can cut down the tree. Or, at least that was the plan.

Well, here it is June, and we are dealing with recalcitrant confused bees, and a messy, failing Poinciana tree and I don’t know how or when it’s going to end. In retrospect, we might have done things differently; but retrospect is so often irretrievable.

4 thoughts on “The Bees And The Poinciana Tree”

  1. I remember Peter talking about this problem ages ago. I’m so sorry this turned into such a headache. Hopefully, you’ll be able to solve it sooner rather than later.
    I love your blog…the photos and the writing. I loved the piece about your Dad–such great memories. Writing about growing up in Key West should give you lots of material.

  2. So…any honey involved to sweeten the situation? Or is it down in the tree hole – inaccessible? Saw the bees around when we visited y’all with Vintage Vocals. At least any honey that’s around won’t attract bears in Key West like it does in N. Ga. Enjoying your posts. Thanks!

  3. Great story and beautiful pictures….just looking at the first photo (of the tree) makes me understand why the bees picked it as a place of abode. I want to rig a hammock and join them — but then we’d have to coexist, which would be difficult.

  4. Sorry about the tardiness of this reply, esp., having told you that I would faithfully reply. The router on our system had to be replaced because it would start fibrillating and slow things down. So I turned a 15 minute job into a 4 day job – not unusual for me.

    Your bee problem took me back to pre high school time when my grandfather kept bees and let me help him. It was quite a learning experience. I especially enjoyed the honey. He kept his hives in the middle of a large patch of sweet clover. The honey was clear, light in color, and oh, so good, especially on bread, warm from the oven and spread with butter.

    Did the bees encourage you to remove the tree or was it just a messy tree? Speaking of messy trees, a pair of Cooper’s Hawks set up housekeeping in the top of one of the ponderosas in our front yard. There are half dollar sized splotches of white wash on the driveway and sidewalk. But we did see the young ones leave the nest and listened to mama bird scold anyone and anything that got too close to her territory. Enough for now because I’ve got another blog waiting for a reply.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *