In 2001, I received a bee removal call from Randy Bobo, an apartment maintenance manager in Longview, Texas. Randy was looking for someone to remove bees from the wall above an apartment door. I could not go to Longview but did recognize the urgency of getting the bees out before a tenant was stung. I spent about a half hour on the phone, talking with Randy about the process of removing bees. Randy had a great deal of concern and reluctance to tackle the project. I finally said, “Randy, you can do this. Go to the bookstore and get a copy of Bookkeeping for Dummies. It will teach you a little bit about bees. I am sure you can safely remove those bees and protect your tenants.”
Two nights later, Randy phoned. He bought the book, read it, and removed the bees. He said, “There sure were a lot of bees in that wall. I removed them last night using a red light.”
Randy had his name added to the bee call list with the Longview police and fire departments. He has responded to around 150 calls a year for the last ten years, earning the nickname of “the man who catches the most bees in East Texas.” He developed a system of placing swarm boxes in areas prone to repeated swarms. Residents monitor the boxes and call him when a swarm arrives. Many of the successfully captured swarms are given to beekeepers in need of bees, particularly new or novice beekeepers.
Randy became a valued member of the East Texas Beekeepers Association, even serving in various leadership capacities.
He has grown to become a valued resource not only to the beekeeping community but also the community of Longview, Texas.