“I’m going to cut here. And then here. Then I’m going to fold this down,” says Beekeeper Luis Slayton, “We already go honey on the blade. Wax, it’s a good sign.”
We were out an abandoned property in the outskirts of Edinburg towards McCook. This is me and my camera, we in a tight corridor between two vehicles, if these bees turn on us, there is no where we can go. I asked our expert to give me some thoughts on our beekeepers’ behavior.
Bee Expert Dr. William McKenna sates, “ I don’t know about taking off the shirt. Working around the bees un protected is. Also because they have the history of having so many stings that they are no bigger than small mosquito bites. A lot of them have become immune to the venom because they get stung so frequently.”
In regards to bee stings, Slayton says, “Yea, they hurt. They just don’t swell up anymore, they are always going to hurt.”
So how do you do that do you just stick your hand in there to scoop them out?
“Yea… watch… just like that,” says Slayton.
Bees crawl inside his Slayton’s shirt, he says, “So Idon’t get stung I takes my shirt off. People are like ‘you’re showing off.’ No, I’m not.”
It seems very counter intuitive. Why would you take your shirt off?
“They’re crawling on you and you accidentally move your shirt, they pinch themselves on you and thus they sting you,” says Slayton.
It takes a true professional to be around this many bees, shirtless, and then stick your hand in there. These bees are wild, and they can turn on us at any second.
While sticking his hand into the beehive Slayton says, “Until you start seeing this you say ‘all those could have stung me.’ All it takes is just that one. “
This man is a professional. By no means should you try to remove bees on your own. Most injuries occur when people try to spray chemicals or water without knowing the dangers within. Luis has been involved in this industry for decades.
“We were always extreme growing up. Surfing skateboarding, me and my brothers, snowboarding, anything we would think was extreme. So I started getting older and my body started wearing down and there is nothing more extreme. With this you get to play with fire everyday, with a smoker, you get to rip things up. That aren’t yours and not get in trouble for it, you get paid for it. And you get to help humanity saving the bees. And it’s always a rush cause you don’t know what you’re going to find,” says Slayton.
Most people don’t quite understand his situation. He has two masters’ degrees and is an education consultant for local districts, but for one reason or another he comes back to working with bees.
“My mom gets mad at me all the time. She says I should be wearing a suit and a tie every day. With my PhD I should be a superintendent somewhere,” says Slayton.
Regardless, Luis and his assistant go out to hives just like, or even more active than this. The assistant is Bryan Rodriguez, a high school student that does this as a part time job.
“It is pretty interesting and it is fun. Not everybody can do this and not everybody does it,” says Rodriguez.
Why do you guys want to document this?
“So people can see and they can be advised on what they are getting into. Instead of getting injured and going to the hospital,” says Rodriguez.
Although this is an important career, it is important to repeat that it looks easy because our beekeeper has been working on this for years.