Monday, April 18, 2011

A Day of Calls

Mark has had a busy day of bee work, due in part to yesterday's editorial. We've heard from neighbors who have bees in the wall of their house, an older lady who had bees congregating on the back wall of her house, and one of the county supervisors who had a swarm in a tree in his yard.

When they got there, they saw immediately that there were *a lot* of bees, relatively high up.

The box containing the swarm of bees.
Andrew is not fond of bees. Thus, there aren't any pictures of the process of capturing the swarm. Mark said he tried his best, but wasn't able to get all of the bees.  Even so, he thinks the swarm likely weighed five pounds total, and he got a majority of them.

Mark called me to talk through what to do, and we decided to try to combine this vast new swarm with Hive 4, which has struggled for a while. We've been unable to locate a queen close enough to the route Mark plans to take to pick up equipment, so this will -- if he was able to capture the queen -- get Hive 4 up and going again. To learn about combining hives using the newspaper method and bees' ability to shape wood, visit The Peace Bee Farmer.

Don't let this small number of bees fool you.

The box is full of them.

Mark sprayed them with sugar water to prevent them from flying off and ease their transition into the hive body. Obviously a few escaped!

Here is the final shot of the super.  "There were bees filling up half of the cavity where the frames go, they were so deep," Mark said.

As for the other calls, Mark said he and Andrew arrived in time to hear such loud buzzing he figured the entire backyard was filled with bees. When they got around the house, the air was full of bees in flight, swirling around a fruit tree. Then they began flying toward the woods. "The scout bees had decided on the colony's new home. We saw bees in a stream a quarter of a mile long, across the pasture. If we'd been there thirty minutes earlier we would have had a second swarm," Mark said.

He also looked at the hives at Barhams' Bee Yard.  The Kudoz bees (BB2) are doing well, though their population is small.  He saw the queen and eggs, so they'll be fine.  BB3, from the white oak tree, is queenless. No eggs. BB1 has filled the medium we added, and we need to add another super.

Tonight we're going to move the bees who have been on the porch.  Bees have to be moved at night when they've all come home, so that you have the entire colony. They came from a peach tree in Brooksville and have done very well. They'll be the first bees in our third bee yard, at the home of the Barhams' friend Mr. Harley.

Mark mixed up some bee tea, and soon we'll hit the road. Interestingly, he's on the phone with a gentleman who has built a top-bar hive he's interested in showing us. I've wanted to try a top-bar hive out by the garden, so we'll see if we try this free-form comb approach.

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