About Me

The Bee Wrangler & JoJo The Honeybear

My name is Mark Sopko and I'm known as The Bee Wrangler, because one of my jobs as a beekeeper is to capture honeybee swarms. "How does one become a Bee Wrangler "You might ask. Well, this is my story...

I captured my first honeybees when I was 15 years old. It wasn't a swarm, but an actual hive. While walking through the woods near my house I noticed a honeybee hive hanging on a branch of a tree. Honeybees usually tend to build their hives in more protected areas such as inside a hollow tree, this way they are able to keep their hive warm and survive through the winter. That was not the case with this hive. It was early November and I knew that something had to be done with this hive or as the cold weather set in, the bees would all soon die.

I sought the advice of a beekeeper, who suggested that the hive would have to be cut down and placed in a wooden box . This would protect them from the elements. Secondly, they would have to be fed sugar water so they would have enough food to get them through the winter. Armed with a ladder, branch cutter, and a cardboard box, my father and I headed into the woods to capture the hive. Luckily, it was a cool morning so the bees were not very active yet. We set up the ladder under the tree. From the top of the ladder I carefully maneuvered a cardboard box under the hive as dad cut the branch from the ground, with his long handled branch cutters. As the hive dropped into the box, I quickly closed the top. A few minutes later we were heading out of the woods with our box of bees.

Once we got home, we placed it into a custom built wooden box with entrance and exit holes and that was their new home. That was my first bee wrangling experience. I was stung by the "bee fever" that day and have had it ever since.