Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bees and Trees and Bee Dancing

Linda's Bee Blog has some items about trees and bees she has been dealing with. These have been interesting reading and then suddenly bees in trees seemed to be everywhere

Friends of mine run on the horse trails/bridal paths in the Palos Verdes area. Once my "bee skills" were revealed they told me about bees in a tree along one trail that were bothering horses, riders and joggers. My services were requested, such as they are

This stump is 4-5 feet tall and about 10 feet off the trail

I did not have my bee suit so I did not get too close to the stump. The bees did not seem interested in me and their flight path did not seem to be over the horse trail. That made me wonder if the problem is nervous people rather than nasty bees.
Then there was the "Private Property No Trespassing" sign close to the stump. There is also a sign saying "Danger Bees" near the trail. Without permission and log cutting tools, this hive will be staying right were it is. Some bees are meant to be free and wild.

The next bee tree had a different story which can be see on the Backwards Beekeepers Blog but that is not the full story. Yesterday was the monthly meeting of the Backwards Beekeepers at Farmlab. The is located near downtown LA in an old industrial area right next to the train tracks and the LA River. The outside area where we meet is mainly under a bridge but there are lots of plants in containers that were recovered from a community garden which had been shut down a few years ago. Farmlab has some experiments going with hydroponic gardening and capturing rain water.
Our meeting space is free and they give us coffee a treats just for showing up. To return the favor Kirk, our bee leader, has installed one of his captured swarms in a hive out among their plants.

Kirk decided they could use a hive of bees in a natural hive so he brought along the bee tree he had picked up the day before.

The bees were well screened but there were always 4-5 of them on the outside of the screen. No telling where they came from. it is hard to believe they have been hanging around the tree as Kirk drove around with the stump in his truck.

I did notice something kind of special. I used my camera for the video so it is not the best presentation. Watch the bees closely. Near the end of the short sequence and you will see the bees apparently doing the bee dance. This is how bees tell each other where the good flowers are. What are they telling each other this time? It does not look like random movement to me.

Kirk taking the bee tree to set up in a far corner.

This was a very cramped space to try and shoot. You can see Kirk's glasses as he is starting to cut the screen loose. At this point things happened fast. "Boy those bees are pissed off" was the first comment. The three or four of us who were close by fled quickly. We retreated thirty yards away back under the bridge but one or two of the annoyed bees came along too and let us know what they thought. The meeting was officially over at this point.
No one got stung and we hope the bees will stay with their home in the new site. Some time later Kirk will show up with a bee hat and smoker to remove the rest of the tape and screen.

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