Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Swarm Makes a Home in Steens

A week ago tonight Mark and I drove to the home of some friends in Steens who had graciously allowed us to hang a swarm trap in their tree last year. When we arrived, Sol was mowing. Don had no idea we were coming or that there were bees in the trap, which made me feel much better about the state of communication in my marriage. ;-)

Retrieving the trap went smoothly, even when the lid started to fall off and Mark caught it with his ungloved hand. A couple of nights ago, Mark inspected the box and determined the bees were not making use of the frames above them but continuing to build in the trap, so he conducted a relocation project. He said they're very docile bees (they must take after Troy) and nice to work with after the Delta bees.

Photo highlights:

We put the entire trap inside 2 deep boxes for transport.

This swarm went to the back yard for now.
If you're a beekeeper and you're thinking about getting this type of trap, it's important to understand that they're not easy to use, in terms of getting bees and comb out once they've settled in. Mark will likely be making his own traps from now on.

Do pesticides impact pollen and bees?

On Friday, May the 4th, these two light saber- vacuum-wielding grad students came to Prairie Blossom Bee Farm to harvest some bees from our hives -- about 100 bees total. They set up a piece of screen to increase their chances of capturing bees before they slipped into the hive with their baskets full of pollen.

Nice bee vacuum!

I wonder how they found us?

Thanks, Harry & Angus! ;-)
 My understanding is that they are going to test the pollen our bees gather now, and then test again later in the summer, to check the pesticide load in the pollen.

I'm excited that MSU is conducting research on this important topic. Hopefully their findings will help bee colonies all over America thrive.