Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Prolific Bees!

New hive
Original Hive
When Joey went to investigate this bee job in Camp Meeker, there was a large hive going in between the frayed corner shingles on a second story deck.  Less than a week later, we came back to remove the hive and discovered dead bees sprinkling the deck.  On inspection, they were all drones.  The bees had swarmed into a new spot just five feet away and the dead drones were evidence of a young queen's mating flight.  Laying down our tarps, we opened up the new hive.  They were gentle and cooperative.  But the large hive.... we almost didn't do it.  This building is old and vacuous.  We were worried that the hive took up the entire north wall, which would require scaffolding on the outside of the building to access rather than our convenient deck location.  After a full day of collecting a full bait hive in the morning, working construction all day, then facing two hives instead of one, Joey was full of curses.   

Under the shingles, the bees peek
 out between the boards
Just 5 days of work!

Small Hive in new Home

     I took his hand,""This is our quality time, remember?  You love this."  Squeeze.
     "...and we don't have to do this right now if you're too tired."
  But we crossed our fingers and dug in.  Luckily, there was a bottom to their space and we were able to pull out all the comb.  There were multiple queen cells along several panels, indicating that they had more intentions of swarming.  As the sun faded, we left our two boxes in position for the bees to move in.

Original Hive exposed

Big box for plentiful bees
 But when Joey checked on them the next day, the large box was not fully cooperating.  Using cardboard and large yogurt containers, he scooped them into the box and commanded them to move in.
    Early next morning, returning to remove the hives, we discovered the problem.  Though the space they occupied was limited vertically, the bees had expanded horizontally under the floor of the deck.  As the majority of the bees were already in our box, we did a quick removal of this comb and population before the sun woke both boxes into further activity.  We left a bait hive behind for stragglers and took the rest home to our apiary.
Cleaned of bee debris, the space
is painted to mask any attractive
bee scent
    With the bees removed, Joey was able to repair our damage.
Joey fixed the frayed corner problem
Insulation fills the gaps to prevent
future invasion

 The bees are home now, bustling, and we're happy to wait a while for the next call of distress....