Thursday, June 24, 2010
Bee Day Is Here!
Here are the BaBees! 2 pounds 15 ounces!
After driving around with a full swarm-catching-kit in the back of my car for a couple weeks I got THE CALL to let me know the bees had swarmed. Not only had they swarmed, but the hive had sent out not one but two swarms! I think that is pretty unusual- twin swarms.
Buck and I got our light colored clothes on and high tailed it out the door. When we got there, Bee Mom and Bee Dad pointed out the swarms. One was in a Magnolia tree above the roof of their house and one was in a Conifer in the front yard.
We started with the Magnolia swarm because it looked the easiest AND the roofers were due any minute. You can see all of this captured on the beautiful video that Buck very deftly filmed and edited together.
The Conifer swarm was a little trickier. One limb needed to be cut to clear the area.
Nice Neighbor invented a fabulous "box on a stick" to catch the Conifer swarm. Bee Mom (wearing a full bee suit) stood at the top of a small step ladder while I steadied it. She held the box up high on the stick. Nice Neighbor shook the limb and voila, the second swarm came raining down- mostly into the box, but a lot fell out too. We closed the box and waited.... YES we got the Queen! Little bees were fanning their pheromones into the air at the entrance. They do that to let the other bees that are still flying around know that the Queen is inside the box.
We set the box in the shade nearby so the rest of the bees could find their way into the box.
It was a beautiful day and although both swarms were high off the ground we captured them both with only a little fuss and only one sting- Buck got it on the arm when a bee stung on impact from such a long and sudden fall out of the Conifer.
The whole experience was crazily wild in concept and oddly calming. Buck and I took home the Magnolia swarm and Bee Mom kept the Conifer swarm. She emailed me later and said that after we left yesterday afternoon, she got her car out of the shop, raced to the bee supply and bought a second hive. Upon her return, her husband assembled the hive while she and Nice Neighbor went and got paint.
She painted the new hive and then, since the cardboard box (built on the fly since she had only built ONE box in anticipation of ONE swarm), didn't look like it was going to hold out, she dumped the bees into their new home at 9PM last night. Whew. I felt like my day was pretty low key next to that.
When Buck and I got home it was pretty hot out and so I set the bee box in the middle of the living room and just kept squirting sugar syrup in the screened windows.
You could tell when they were done eating each serving because they would start humming super loud and would get quiet when I squirted more in. Three sneaky bees got out and I caught them in a glass jar and took them with the box.
When it cooled off outside we took the box-o-bees to the hive and I just winged putting them into the hive from what I had read in books and online. You'll see in the video "Rehiveing" that I whack the box a couple times before I unceremoniously dump them into the new hive. That's because you need to get them into a clump so most of them will land in the hive, increasing the chances that the Queen will land in the hive too.
Because, if the Queen is left in the box as a straggler and she up and flies away... sooolong swarm! All the bees will just pour right back out of the hive and fly off to follow their Queen.
But I got her in and she apparently approves, since the workers were happily buzzing in and out getting supplies for housekeeping this morning!
When I went to bed last night I kept hearing bees buzzing for some strange reason. It was as if their buzz had imprinted on my brain.
I had a hard time going to sleep.