Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mission Accomplished (Revised)

DAY ONE  of removing the bees at San Gabriel Mission with only a two man crew.  That sounded reasonable until Randy climbed up for his inspection.

The bees definitely had  Room With A View

Randy did all of the work up high, cutting comb and lowering it to me to store or put into frames.
This is what Randy found inside.  11 combs about three feet long.  Sweeet. But it turned out to be more than our two man crew could handle in the time we had.
With only the two of us to do the job,Randy kept it simple and cut the bottom off many of the combs. We collected the honey and filled some frames in a super.

I got to do the ground level work, filling frames with comb. This turned out to be a waste of resources. We left the super on site and the ants infested the comb. We worked three and a half hours until it became clear we needed more bodies and equipment to do the job.  The garden area was opening for public tours so we called it a day and I went home to look for help.  There was too much going on at the Mission on Sunday so we made plans for another try on Monday.
DAY TWO  and we had a full crew.  Randy and I were joined by James &; Yuka Lui, Ed Garcia and Josip.  This time we had enough people to deal with the bees.
In the time since Randy cut the original comb down the bees had sealed all the comb ends.

James brought his small bee vac which was perfect in the limited space.  His blue container and hoist got a good work out and were more efficient that the bucket on a rope that Randy and I had used.
Randy is doing the vacuuming with James on the hose.
Yuka watching James on the high board.

Yuka while she waits for honey and comb to come down to us and start filling frames..
While we waited for the first comb to come down, Ed was taking atmosphere shots to prove we were really at the Mission
Josip under the 200 year old grape vine in the garden.

Josip and the 200 year old grape vine.
Josip learns the history of San Gabriel wine from our host Chuck Lyons of the Mission staff,

Josip , Dennis and James
The bulk of the bees were captured when the comb was removed but there was a large mass hanging out above the original entry point.   James went up and vacuumed them up too.

We had fifteen frames of comb with brood, pollen and some honey when we were done.  No one saw the queen but the bees seemed want to stay with their new home.  These on the outside would be vacuumed up before transport and added later.

Ed and Randy playing with the bees.  Once again the bees  were remarkably calm for having their home destroyed. This was sort of like Hurricane Katrina and we were FEMA, a good friendly FEMA.
While we were working the bees, Jose, maintenance man for the Mission, fashioned a table for the hive that will help keep ants out of the hive once the legs are set in oil.
Bees on the move as we take them to their new home site

The old pathways were rough on the cart but it beat having to carry a hive of bees around the grounds.,

Fr Serra will keep an eye on his winged charges across this part of the old water system at the Mission.
This small fenced area will be well away from Mission visitors.  The hive faces the wall so the bees should fly up and over the roof of the  gift shop.  It is under a big avocado tree, along with the normal garden plants there will be plenty sources for nectar and pollen. 
We still had that last bunch of bees from over the door to add to the hive
Randy added an empty super to help contain them and dumped the bees in.  He will remove the hive next weekend.
The hive in its new location.  Here's hoping they elect to stay and not go back to their old haunts.  When he has time Jose will go up there and power wash all the old honey and comb pieces before sealing the old entry ways to room on the church wall. 
This was another fine example of work done by the Backwards Beekeepers and LA Bee Rescue.  Big thanks to Ed, James, Yuka and Josip for making it much easier.  A special thanks to Randy who was there both days and did most of the high work.  For now it looks like I will be the de facto Official Beekeeper for San Gabriel Mission.  It is a long drive from my house to the Mission, if anyone closer to the Mission  would like to take up the Mantle of Official Beek, please let me know.  Your pay will be in honey, indulgences and novenas.


Unknown said...

Alas - 3 days later, the bees have swarmed with the queen to a small area of the lawn nearby (by the water fountain). Trip back out to move 'em again! (Sometimes nature is stubborn...)

Dennis In The Dale said...

The bees are fine and the hive is active. The bees in the tree were stragglers and they moved back on the ground. I left a nuc next to them this morning and they are moving in. I scooped most of them into the nuc and left it for the rest to join in. later today the nuc will be placed on the new hive lid and the bees can get back together inside.