Thursday, April 26, 2012


Earthday took up an entire weekend.   The first stop on Friday was at the LA Zoo Magnet school with Ruth Askern(in front of the screen) and Summer (off to the left).  This is a small school buried between the Autry Western Museum and LA Zoo.  If no one told you it was there you would not find it.  We had four classes of teenagers in 50 minute sessions.  Summer made a great Powerpoint program which was a fine starting point for the talks.  Summer and Ruth did most of the lecture work and I added a few pithy comments and took bad pictures with my camera.  From all reports the presentation was a big hit, especially Ruth's Observation hive. There were about 20 students in each session.
Saturday found us at Ballona Creek Wetlands.  They were doing a trash clean up and invasive plant removal day with a lot of scouts doing the work.  The weather turned out perfect for us, no hot sun and not too cool.
Ruth and Alyssia did most of the talking and demos as I sat off to the side fielding Bee Rescue Hot Line calls.

Ruth's bees up close

Alyssia talking to the crowds.   We had about 120 kids that signed up to work plus their parents and adult group leaders.  There were just enough to keep us busy

On Sunday BBK showed up at Lunada Bay in Palos Verdes, finally with a banner.  At Ballona Creek Wetlands we were close to ancient burial grounds so nothing could be put into the ground and no banners,  No such problems in Palos Verdes.
Laura checking out some of the local wildlife that showed up at the table
Bees, comb, frames and books, just as some people and we were ready
Phoenix in the BBK shirt, Laura behind the table, Susan in the bee suit and Ian at the far end were ready for all questions.
Ian was there to check out how the event was done so he can do the same the next weekend in Orange County.

Observation hive bees

What Earthday demos are really all about.

The first weekend was taken care of and next up will be at Polliwog Park in Manhattan Beach the following Saturday

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hermosa Beach Arbor Bees


Several calls came in to the LA Bee Rescue Hot Line looking for help.   The bees were on an arbor under which the kids played.  This turned out to be a very easy capture.  There was a basketball goal handy which I pulled over under the swarm.   I put a nuc on it after removing three of the frames.  Using a bee brush I swept most of the festooning bees into the nuc. The bees were clinging to vines on the arbor so it was hard to tell if i got the queen with so many bees still up among the vines.  I gently scooped as many of the bees as i could.  This had to be done carefully.  If I killed the queen this entire swarm would have been doomed.  The swarm had not started to make comb so there was no place for her to lay eggs.  No eggs meant no larvae to make an emergency queen. 

Look at all the little butts up in the air and nasonoving.

Eventually there were a lot of the bees nasonoving and I was confident She was in the nuc and shortly after that the other bees started to get into the nuc also.   I slid the nuc lid over most the top, opened the hole in front and left the bees there.

I returned at dusk and all of the bees were inside.  I closed the lid, plugged the holes and took the nuc home.   It is now resting on my back garden wall.  I hope to get them to a new home today or tomorrow.

This is one of the easier ways to capture a swarm, it was a pleasant operation.  Now to see if the bees decide the nuc is okay as a home for a while.  At least 50% of captured swarms move on, seeking better accommodations.  Such is life for the Beekeeper.