Archive for May, 2012

Swarm Capture – Take Two

Monday, May 14th, 2012

My last blog post about capturing a swarm that took up residence in our old cabin shed ended with Si and Bernie leaving the box of bees there, in the hopes that they queen was in the box and the rest of the swarm would join her.

Later that same evening, Bernie and I went back down to check on the progress.

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And when we went inside the shed and looked on the wall, we saw that bees had left the box and gone back to the wall.

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Dangit!

We talked with Si and decided to go to Plan B. Just as soon as we figured out what Plan B was…..

The next evening Si and Mary Ann went back to check on the bees and when they opened the shed door, the bees were gone.

Dangit again!

But, as they were driving out the bottom gate, Si spotted the swarm on a cedar tree branch! And, just to prove that miracles do indeed exist, the bees were within reaching distance from the ground, and not 40 feet up in a tree.

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Hallelujah!

Mary Ann gave us a call and Bernie and I rushed down to meet them there. Bernie brought his trusty smoker.

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And the men folk quickly got busy removing branches for easier access to the bees.

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There were a few small clumps of bees that they cut away first. Bernie put them in the box Si had brought for them.

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And then they went after the large clump.

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And those bees were not terribly happy with any of that.

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But Si got them in the box.

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And Bernie spent some time tucking them safely inside.

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I would say they looked nice and cozy in there, but basically they looked mad and unhappy.

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Just a couple of small clumps remained.

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But they were quickly removed.

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And then Si put the lid on the box.

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And placed it in the bed of his truck.

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And then Si had a little chat with the girls about what was going to be expected of them.

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And they knew better than to argue with Si.

And today they are living happily ever after in Si’s apiary.

The end.

I Think We Captured Swarm

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Remember I told you spring came early up here? And remember I told you we’ve had swarms?

Well it did, and we have!

And recently we saw a bunch of bees going into the old shed next to the old cabin we have at the front of our property. When we went into the old shed, the first thing we noticed was that there were bee hives in there!

Dangit! We completely forgot about those bee hives. They’ve been in there five years. Five whole years. And they were a complete mess.

Five years ago the last of our six hives died off. We were so heartbroken and disgusted we put those hives in the old shed, with the intention of moving them into the sea container when we made some room for them.

Only we forgot about them. Completely forgot about them.

It’s dark in there, and we removed the top boxes on each hive and didn’t see any bees – so we decided the bees we saw going into the old shed must have smelled the small amount of wax left and come in to check it out.

Only a few days later Bernie noticed that the bees going into the old shed had full pollen baskets. And those pollen baskets were “glowing with pollen”. That’s exactly how he described it….. “glowing with pollen”.

So Bernie casually mentioned to our Bee Guru, Si, what he had seen. And he told Si that he was going to go into that shed and find those bees. And Si, being our local Bee Guru said “What do you plan to do with them when you find them?” And Bernie said “Give them to you.” And Si said “Let me know when you do that. I’ll be there.”

Well, today was the day that Bernie decided to do that. I had to work, but Bernie took my old camera.

And when he and Si went into the old shed, this is what they saw:

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There are a couple of things about that picture that I should mention……

To the left is a stack of old bee hives. And notice the snake skin hanging above where they decided to build their hive. And finally, they chose an old lawn chair hanging on the wall to build their hive around.

Aren’t honey bees just the most awesome things ever? They don’t care anything about following rules or being scared of stuff. They just do what honey bees do.

Lordy, how can you not love honey bees????

So, anyhoo, these girls built their hive ALL around a lawn chair. A simple, redneck lawn chair.

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We raise up our honey bees right around here, ya’ll.

They appreciate the simple life.

Just look at that beautiful comb.

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Those clever little girls.

There was brood, pollen, and honey in that comb, too.

Si gently removed the lawn chair.

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And he was gonna put it in this box.

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Only he quickly realized that box wasn’t big enough. So he got a brooder box – only Bernie didn’t get a picture of that. So just imagine a much bigger box. Because it was. And he put them in there.

Oh, and please notice something else. To the left is the cabin porch. And on that porch we needed some seating. So our buddy Tex supplied us with seats out of an old van. Complete with seat belts. If you look closely you’ll see one of them.

Don’t let anyone tell you we don’t know how to party around here.

Because we do. And we’ll even strap you in when the riding gets rough.

That’s just how we roll on this homestead.

When we’re not catching bees. Which we are right now. So…… Si went back and got the comb that was stuck to the wall.

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In this picture you can even see the uncapped honey at the top of the hive.

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And then Bernie and Si put a lid on the brooder box and left it inside the shed. In the hopes that they actually got the queen and the remaining honey bees will join the hive in that brooder box by nightfall. By which time Si will be back down at the shed to see if he can seal up the brooder box and take it home with him.

So…. I *think* we caught a swarm.

I sure hope we did.

I’ll let you know…….