Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ceebs Water Meter Bees

Over the Easter Weekend there was a call to pick up bees from a water meter in Lakewood.  I was doing other things and did not make the call.  One of the other Backwards Beekeepers, Ceebs, knew the person who called and said she would collect them on Monday.  I let her know I would show up to assist in the removal.

Put on a bee suit and every one hides or everyone shows up.  The entire neighborhood was there, including a few of the boys who got a short lecture about throwing things at bee hives.  I had to remove a few stones and newspapers off the water meter when I arrived.  It was all done in a gentle way.  That is Michelle in the bee hat, she made the original call to Bee Rescue and is a friend of Ceebs.
And here comes Ceebs.  We were lucky, these were extremely calm bees and no one got stung even though some spectators were very close. The home owner is on the left.  She took a lot of pictures for school.
There were only three small combs on the concrete lid.  I held it while Ceebs cut them off and dropped them directly into the hive box along with any bees.  A couple big thumps on the concrete and most of the bees were in the hive.  The young locals are checking one of the pieces of comb,they were very good students.  That piece went to the home owner who is a 2nd grade teacher and will have a tale to tell.  Ceebs is also getting someone to make a presentation to the class.

Ceebs smoking the bees still in the meter box.  She had scrapped out all of the comb pieces but some bees still stayed there not wanting to leave. . Later she used a bit of plastic to scoop many of the the bees up and encourage them to go into the hive.
Much of the time was just waiting for the bees to move in so we moved the hive right next to the meter.  One at a time many of them came to their new home.
This how we know the queen was in the hive box.  These bees are "nasonoving", tilting their abdomens up, releasing a special pheromones that say "The Queen Is Here!"  and fanning their wings very fast.  This occurred in any of the exposed areas of the box.  .
At this point the work is done,Ceebs replaced the hard top cover with a screen for ventilation,,She had included a couple frames with old comb on them which the bees seemed to like very much.  Before we left she put in the other empty frames so the frames would not be sliding around in transit.   Every thing was strapped together and then covered with a sheet.  There were a number of bees still trying to get into the hive but time was running out. 
The bees should be in their new home today and I hope they stay, these are very gentle bees.  We might have been able to do the entire operation without the bee suit but then we would not have had the crowd.    This was a nice small job that ended up being very educational for a neighborhood.

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