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Bangor’s buzzing about Wee Free Bee House trend

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A Wee Free Bee House prototype, most recently placed near Chapin Park in the Tree Streets neighborhood of Bangor. A Wee Free Bee House prototype, most recently placed near Chapin Park in the Tree Streets neighborhood of Bangor. (photo courtesy Ken Tellepreau)

BANGOR – Move over Little Free Libraries – there’s a new streetside trend that’s setting the Queen City abuzz.

Inspired by the quaint delights elicited by the tiny lending libraries that have appeared in various Bangor neighborhoods in recent years, a handful of apiary enthusiasts are looking to spread their very specific hobby to the masses.

Wee Free Bee Houses have sprung up in a few locations around town – there are a couple in the Tree Streets and a few in Little City; Bangor Gardens and Fairmount have reported them as well.

But what is a Wee Free Bee House, you ask? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like.

In the vein of the sidewalk free libraries where passersby can borrow and/or swap books, a WFBH offers the same borrow/swap dynamic, only with bees. Through these exchanges, local apiarians can develop more robust colonies and expand their honeycomb horizons. There are massive potential pollination benefits as well.

“I just wanted to find a way to show more people how awesome beekeeping can be,” said Ken Tellepreau, founder of the Wee Free Bee House group. “It’s so much fun and super easy – my wife and I have been doing it for ages now and we love it.”

Beekeeping has long been an activity relegated to the fringe, an arena left to eccentrics and fictional detectives. In recent years, however, there’s been a significant uptick in urban apiaries. As far as Tellepreau is concerned, the introduction of sidewalk-based, utterly unmonitored bee colonies is the logical next step.

“Oh yeah, you don’t want to pry too deeply into the bees’ business,” he said. “We’ve found it’s best to just sort of let them do what they’re gonna do. They’re bees, so obviously they know how to be.”

While Tellepreau’s passion is admirable, this isn’t a goal without obstacles. There have been some questions with regards to the wisdom of placing bee-filled structures so close to pedestrian routes.

“AAAAAHHHHH! WHAT IS HAPPENING??? WHY ARE THERE SO MANY BEES? AAAAHHHHH!” said Payson Treble, a Little City resident who was out for a walk when he was set upon by a swarm of bees that had been agitated by a bored child poking a Wee Free Bee House with a stick.

“BEES! BEES! I’M COVERED IN BEES!” he continued.

Treble wasn’t the only area resident with some doubts about the project.

“THIS IS THE MOST TERRIBLE THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED!” said Antonia Johnson, a resident of the Tree Streets neighborhood who was swarmed when she reached into one of the Wee Free Bee Houses, mistaking it for a new Little Free Library. “I JUST WANTED A BOOK AND NOW I’M COVERED IN BEES!!!”

Bicholas Nonzey, a resident of the Fairmount neighborhood, also expressed some concerns with regards to the presence of the riled-up, unsupervised bee houses upon encountering one while out on a morning jog.

“WHAT KIND OF MONSTER WOULD DO THIS? THERE ARE BEES EVERYWHERE AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM! THERE IS NOWHERE TO GO! THERE IS NO ESCAPING THEM! I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA! I’M COVERED IN BEES!”

Tellepreau dismisses the doubters, however, saying that they’ll really love having the confused and constantly-irritated bees in their neighborhoods.

“It’s perfectly safe,” he said. “All you have to do is just put on all of your equipment – your heavy coveralls, your long gloves, your beekeeping veil – and bring your bee smoker and everything will be fine. It’s simple. And then there’s honey and wax and pollination and all kinds of wonderful things with absolutely no negative consequences whatsoever.”

Treble, however, took a contrary position, saying “BEEEEEEEEEEEES!!!”

(In case you haven’t already figured it out, this is our April Fools’ Day edition. As such, there will be stories that are completely and totally made up. This is one such story.)

Last modified on Wednesday, 27 March 2019 15:15

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