Monday, July 26, 2010

Hive 1

As soon as Mark started telling people about his new passion, people began calling with Bee Problems. The first happened to be some friends of ours, who had a colony of bees in a tree by their pond. Under most circumstances, this would be great, as they were growing a garden and bees are excellent pollinators. However, they have an adorable three year old son, and spending time by the pond was not possible due to the bees.
So, Mark researched methods of moving the bees from the tree to the hive. He talked to the professors who taught his 2-day course, to other bee keepers, and combed the internet for info. What resulted was the following sequence of events (which took place over the course of many days, to the chagrin of our friends):
1. Build a platform at a height that allows the bees' current entrance to be at the same height as the entrance of the super. Set up a super containing a sugar-water feeder on the platform.
2. Construct a cone of door screen, and staple it around the tree opening early in the morning before the bees are awake and ready to get outside for the day. Opening of cone should be near the super entrance. Yes, that's duct tape. While buying supplies, owner of hardware store tells you he has 2 colonies at his camp house he'd like removed.
3. Watch bees attempt to navigate their way out of cone, realize something is wrong, and die trying to get out of the cone. Feel badly about it.
4. Cut hole in top of cone to allow bees a small escape route.
5. Nap in the lawn chair while "watching" the bees fly around in confusion.
6. Return a few days later with a new queen in her special container (empty container pictured at right). Install her in the hive body and hope the bees adopt her as their new leader, as their queen is not expected to leave the tree. Add new jar of sugar water.
7. Return after several days to happily find the majority of the bees have relocated to the hive and are drawing wax on the foundation frames. Feed them again.
8. Return several days later to remove the feeder set-up and add the moving screen.
9. Return at night to add entrance closer, strap the hive down, load it in the truck, take down the stand, and drive the bees to the bee hill. (Which required me to stumble uphill over uneven terrain, in the dark carrying one end of the hive, hoping I wouldn't fall and become a news headline.)
10. Because the bees sound Very Agitated, return early in the morning wearing protective gear to remove entrance closer.

That's how Hive 1 began . . . The End. But really, just the beginning.

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