Monday, August 31, 2009

A Wee Bit More

When I collected the Wee Swarm last week there was another cluster of bees on a second garbage can. The two cans had been next to each other until the larger swarm can was moved out to the street. I had enough to do with the big swarm and just figured the others would fly away since there was no queen. They did not and just hung there on the side of the garbage can. According to Kirk that is the spot they had become accustomed to and there was no place else to go so they would stay there until they died.

I got an E-mail from Terra asking if I could save them, some of the locals wanted to kill them. They were not anti-bee but with tales of all those Africanized Bees around and needing to use that garbage can, some of them were concerned and wanted the bees gone.

I did not know what to use to capture them, they would not be where a simple shake would get them into a hive box and there was no queen for them to follow. I kept thinking of boxes with screen lids and such until I happened to spot the answer in my recycle box. A large empty tonic bottle, make a cut 3/4 around the liter soda bottle, add some air holes and bring along some tape.. one bee collector! I had some old comb handy so I tossed a bit into the bottle also.

This is the cluster from the original swarm. Maximum size was about two closed fists. I put on the veil to keep any strays out of my hair but I was in shorts and sandals. I did not expect any aggressive activity from these bees. The scoop collector worked very well. I gently slipped it up under the bees and most of the went right inside. I capped it off very quickly but there were a few bees up under the lip that I could not reach.

A little help from a bystander and it was sealed shut. The talk of Africanized bees stopped when I took my bare finger and gently eased a bee the rest of the way into the bottle. They were very docile. There were a few more bees coming back to the spot which had a few specks of beginning comb on it. I did not have another big bottle but I got a small water bottle from the trash, made another collector and got some of the stragglers.

Here there are at their new home. I could use this kind of collector this since I lived close to the swarm site and they bees would not be in there very long. With the local heat wave I wanted to limit that time as much as possible. I would not recommend keeping them this way for a long drive or extreme weather. I had rinsed the soda bottle so there was some water in there if they got thirsty. You cannot see it but they were festooning inside the bottle.

The hive has medium frames in a standard nuc so there was plenty of space to just lay the bottles in and remove the caps. The bees can come out when they are ready. Since these should all be sister bees there should not be any problems but I have been wrong about bees before.

More bees to this little hive is a very good thing it will not be growing very quickly. At the club meeting yesterday one of the women mentioned having these very tiny bees that were not aggressive. I just noticed how small these guys are. I suspect these are the same kind, they are very small. Perfect for Kirkobeeo small cell comb!!

Yesterday at the peak heat time of the day, some of the Wee Hive were outside cooling off. This is the massive bearding of the Wee Hive. I have taped a ruler next to the main hive entrance just to the left side of the opening. It is warm again today so later on they should be back out bearding and I will try to get a shot next to the ruler and see how big or little they really are.

I went back out later and checked on the bees. The new kids seemed to be setting up house inside the large bottle. This is not what I planned. I pulled the tape back and opened the end. They were no happy, not vicious but not happy with many flying about. I put the nuc lid back and cracked it so they new kids could still find home and left.

A couple hours later I went back with a pair of scissor, veil and the smoker. I put some smoke in which did not thrill them, let them rest, added more and removed the nuc lid. The were not leaving the plastic bottle so I cut it into two pieces and smoked them out. They few, they buzzed me but it was done and the nuc lid was replaced. After flying about they started to settle and beard on the front of the nuc by the entry. Some even went inside, I expect the others to follow soon.

You can now see the ruler and see how small these bees are. This was right after I tossed them out of the plastic bottle house. 15 minutes later there only a few left out.

Home Sweet Home for the Wee Swarm (I hope).

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