Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sticky Bees in The Morning

 Late last night I got a call from Ed Garcia.  In December 2009 I had helped Steve Rosales collect a hive out of a tree.  Those bees found their way to Ed's house and late yesterday they had swarmed.  It was starting to get dark so we decided to wait until this morning to collect them.  It has been very cold for So Cal and the bees would not be moving early.
The bees were in a swarm cluster about seven feet up In a quince tree.  It was still slightly overcast at 9:30am, still on the cool side and the cluster did not have many active bees.
Below the cluster there were a lot of bees that had fallen off the cluster.  Some were moving and probably will come back to life when the sun warms them up.

The bees were almost out of reach but Ed clipped the branches and I collected the bees as best I could.
The bees were still not very active and some clumps fell to the ground but the bees would come to the queen in time.

The branches were dropped directly into  the nuc until they were all cut down, then I removed the vegetation for the nuc.  The nuc was deliberately placed near the bees on the ground in case they recovered.
A few small clusters remained in the tree for now but they would find the queen if she was in the nuc as I hoped.
The bees were not extremely active or aggressive but they did encourage Ed to move away.  I had some thin trousers on instead of my bee suit pants and had a couple bee reminders before we were done. That the price of playing with bees and maybe my sore knees will feel better now.
When bees are cold they are sticky, very sticky, clinging onto almost anything including the beek.
They loved my hat and remained in clumps where ever they landed but the hat seems a very special place to them. Could it be a fat head provides a bigger better landing area?.
Main work done, waiting for the bees to move in.
Some of the bees were climbing up the side of the nuc looking for the queen. Most of the bees were in the nuc which will remain in place the rest of the day.  Later in the evening Ed will put the lid on the nuc and move the bees next door.  He already has a a base ready for the nuc and can replace that with a super in a couple of weeks.
These girls will find the queen when they are a little warmer.
Even after getting Ed to brush me down before I left there still was one small cluster of sticky bees that was not quite ready to fly yet

This was a nice way to start the day and my first swarm capture of the year.  Ed will expand his apiary with bees he already knows.   They were not aggressive back on 2009 and still seem to be the same now.  I looked at his other hive.  It has an empty super on the top, Ed added it a few weeks ago but unknown to him the bees had already decided to swarm.  His added  box would not have any effect on the swarm plans.   In a few days Ed will take the empty super off the top of the hive and move it to the bottom.   Sometimes the bees will go down easier than go up and this may prevent another swarm.  
Ed gave me a video he shot of the hive capture back in 2009.  I will have to find a way to edit it down.  It was a fun job and I learned a lot but no one I knows needs to watch a video of the length it is now.  I already bore them with bee stories, a bee video might be too much.
I could have used the Mighty Bee Vac this time but  it is better suited for a cut-out.  The Bee Vac needs to go to work, Soon.

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