Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Max's Work At Work

Max Wong has been on local television and also written for her local newspaper.  Her hard work is already starting to pay off.  This morning the Bee Rescue Hotline had a message from Steve in Carson.  Finally something in my area and I was off on my mission.
Steve's family has a commercial garden next to Cal State Dominguez Hills.  He had a bee problem and had caught Max on KABC-TV.  Being a gardener he was not interested in terminating his bees but in saving them.    He said the bees were in a shed and I had visions of a small rubberized thing from Home Depot and a simple heroic bee rescue.  Hah!

The shed turned out to be an ancient wooden trailer like they used to haul to construction sites. It is not stable enough for any major deconstruction..  It was used by Steve's dad as tool shed and the bees inside had become a concern for Steve when Dad wanted to do a little work now and then.

The bees had full access from an opening on the West side of the building and were very active.  They were not aggressive to us but were active.  Click on the picture and you can see columns of comb on the right side.  Steve did not thing the opening was much deeper than the size of the hole and had no idea how far back it went.   Apparently in the past bees were at the other end of the shed and had been terminated.  That was not the plan for today.
 Over the years the bees had swarmed often, usually to the adjacent tree. Steve has seen them many times in the tree..  Steve wanted to protect his dad but did not want to destroy the trailer.  Given it's age and condition I did not believe a cut out would work.
 That left a trap-out.  Once we went inside there were a few bees around a couple of the windows and all of the windows were heavily stained with yellow bee poop.  The end of the shed under the hive was littered with thousands of dead bees.  There was a circle at least two feet across of dead bees. The morticians had found a place to dump the bodies.  They had obviously come for a single spot but I did not identify it.   There were a number of holes in the interior roof but I did not see any being used while we were there.  There were less than 10 bees inside at that time.

After some discussion I decided a trap-out was impossible with the holes to the interior of the shed.  Those holes had to be sealed shut first and that does not deal with the exterior roof.   It is covered with old wooden shingles and is probably full of holes too.   There were wasps flying under the roof on the other end.  Just what I needed a turf war. LOL.
 No cut-out due to the age of the trailer they did not want destroyed and no trap-out because of the many holes at yet not located.  The main thing was to protect Dad.   Steve will get some space filling foam and try to fill any holes inside and see if he can keep the bees out so Dad can work in safety.

Then we will see if he can use the hive as a swarm source.  Using what I brought along, I sprayed a nuc with Lemon Pledge and placed it next to the hive.  This hive is so active they must swarm several times a year.  That will do for now, until the interior hole patching is done.  If  the hole patch does not work more drastic measures may be the only option but that will wait.

On the good side, Steve is a gardener with a huge property loaded with plants and some weeds. He would love to have hives permanently located on the property.  Before going on this mission I checked the Carson Municipal Code and found no mention of bees or apiaries.  It may be quite legal for him to keep them on site.  And Backwards may have found a friendly site for those of us who end up with evicted bees looking for a home.
After the patch work is done I may be going to LA Honey with Steve for his own hives and he is interested in our meeting at the end of the month..  All good things that started with Max doing her bit on the tellie.

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