Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Bee-utiful Morning

The mountains around LA have been burning for over a week and the temps have been very high. It has been over 80 and often over 90 all of that time, not very pleasant in The Dale but today things were to change and I was about to get more bees.

Recently Kirk transported a nuc when then temps were high and lost all of the bees in the heat. He told me to make a screened air slot on the nuc lid and to bring the Wee Hive to one of his hive sites at Solano Gardens. The bees made the trip very well.

But once Kirk got a good look at my Wee Hive he determined it was too small to survive. After opening the nuc for a full inspection, It was obvious this was a rather pathetic looking hive compared to a normal hive. There was not enough bees for a single frame much less a hive, even in a nuc. There were just not enough bees to make comb and fill it. There was no brood in the comb, it is likely this was just a fragment of a hive that had swarmed. There was no queen and not enough bees to do everything else and make a new queen. They were released into the garden.

This is Kirk laying out the plan of action. He is the one in the dirty working beekeeper jacket, not like us neophytes in our lily whites. We listened. There was Kirk explaining things, Maurice learning things, Mark and I looking for bees and Sebastian taking pictures and helping out. Solano Gardens is his home hive site along with Kirk who has them all over LA.

Time for a commercial plug, not that I get anything for it but this fine bee suit is from Brushy Mountain and sports the attached veil & hat. I was asked at the Bee meeting last week what it cost. I paid about $130 for it but that includes three pieces, jacket, pants and hat w/veil and then the XXL size pop also. You can get any of the three pieces separately and with a different veil and save a few dollars. I have the separate pieces because I live in the beach area and I am in shorts all the time. If I was in jeans I would not bother with the pants unless I had a lot of hives to tend and that is not likely to happen.

After deciding that I needed more than two frames of bees Kirk inspected a hive and made sure he knew where the queen was. She needed to come along. He found her much quicker than I thought possible. That stuff hanging down is a weed the sneaked in to the picture, not some growth on the frame. This particular hive had been under attack by ants. Kirk would pull five full frames for me and move the rest to supplement a weaker hive.

More bees for the Dale

Kirk putting the bees into my nuc (once he told me how to set it up properly). It only looks like I am weeping but I was very very happy.

Mark is securing this hive after placing a screen on the top. Once all the holes are sealed off and the bottom and top strapped on the whole hive will be moving to his house. Did you notice the smile? That happens every time someone gets bees.
Mark and his wife had hosted the Bee Meeting last Sunday. He had found Kirk when he discovered bees in the roof of his home. Kirk plugged all the holes and did a trap-out. He put those bees into a hive in Mark's back yard. By the time of the meeting the bees in the hive were gone but the bees in the roof were still there. It was obvious that the bees had a second entrance into the roof and preferred that to the hive. To fix this Kirk is continuing the trap-out but he is giving Mark some Bees from Solano. They will not know about the roof and this is hive box is already their home. They are not likely to leave the hive for the roof. Those bees already there will put up a fight if they try. When the trap-out is done those roof bees will be moved miles away and not be coming back to Mark's roof.

When I got home I removed the empty hive and checked things. A few of the ants had found a way past the bottom layer of Tanglefoot. I put on my plastic gloves and applied another defensive ring on the top of the blocks and also on the interior ring. I believe they got in by going under the tape around the bottom of the blocks which has Tanglefoot on it. This should work, if not I will get a stand with legs and put the leg ends into tins of oil. (That works well until a weed or something falls across the tin can.)

The hive in place with room for five frames.

On the way home the bees rode inside with me and the air conditioning... after I made sure the nuc was well sealed. I still drove with the hat & veil on the back of my head just in case. (I have heard stories about loose bees in cars.)

Five full frames ready for relocation.

This is the last frame slipping into place. I forgot to bring out the frame holder to get a good picture of the frame buy that will happen later on.

The bees have settled in and they are cleaning off some old dried sugar water on the porch.
This is a dearth time around here so they will be fed sugar water for a while but nothing else.

Big thanks to Kirk and crew and a mention must be made of the Wee Hive that helped me transition between full hives. Bless the bees of So Redondo.

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