Monday, April 11, 2011

A Second Chance

The other day I had responded to a call about some bees on an old lamp post.  By the time I arrived the bees had swarmed.   I talked to the owner a while and found out he was going to have some landscaping done near the post. The bee access holes would have to be sealed up but it looked like they also had egress further up the pole.  It looks like the hive in the lamp post could survive and not bother any one.  I went back home, bee-less.

I had a call on Sunday afternoon, the swarm had apparently decided they liked their lamp post better than some tree limb.   They had returned to their original jumping off point on the base of the lamp post.   Fortunately I had left a Backwards Beekeeper business card with my name and number on it.  I had been watching the Masters Golf Tournament which was far from settled at that point., I had plenty of time to deal with these bees..

I sprayed the bees with sugar water and used my handy milk jug scoop to collect the bees and pour them into a nuc.  The bees were very calm and none tried to sting me or Tom, the home owner who did not have a bee suit or hat.  The scoop worked very well, better than some of my expensive equipment.
I gradually got the majority into the nuc.  The white nodules on the lamp post are bees wax.  These girls were in a major comb making mode.
I never saw the actual queen but I did spot some bees fanning on top of the frames, a good sign that she was inside.

After I had as many bees as I could scoop in the nuc I laid it on the side so more could crawl inside.  This was very effective and we got a lot of them.
The only problem was activity of the bees in the nuc indicated the queen was in the space between the nuc wall and the strip of cardboard that holds up  the frames.  Aside from dissembling the nuc there was no easy fix to the problem on site.   I put a lid on the nuc and closed it carefully to not threaten the queen.  
When I got home I called one of the club members on the "need bees" list and made contact with Kristie in San Pedro.  She came by later and picked them up.  I explained about where I thought the queen was.  She would be putting the bees in a top-bar hive and would not be using the frames any way so the problem should be resolved. 
I got a call from Kristie this morning, she had already been out to do her own swarm collection .  She would be passing those bees on to someone else.  
It is a good thing to share the bees...

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