Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Would This Be Home

When I captured the Playa Vista swarm I made a couple of decisions, both turned out to be correct but I was just guessing. I had no clue. Most of the time swarms are collected at places where you cannot leave nucs or equipment overnight. This time the swam was collected on Cammie & Rory's patio, locked away from people and problems so it was a no brainer to leave the nucs there over night, uncovered so straggler bees could get into the nuc. And all the bees in the second nuc were able to more over to the primary nuc with the beloved Queen. . It worked like a charm. When I picked up the nuc boxes the next day, I doubt there were over 20 bees from the original swarm that were left behind. That was a good feeling..

A few days prior I had collected the YMCA bees, they stayed one night and absconded the next day. Bummer. Once again, quite by accident I made the right decision. I brought the nuc home and set it up but did not open it for several hours. There was no logic involved, that just felt like the right thing to do, maybe the scents in the area would imprint them and this swarm would stay

I left them with the plug in and went in to watch some British Football (soccer). About those frames on the ground, you ask? When I left the day before to go to Playa Vista I remembered I had some swarm lure in the spare hive I have out back I went to get it. I had put a few old frames with comb in that hive. I had followed advice and put all those frames into the freezer to deal with wax moth larvae. As soon as I opened the hive it was obvious I needed a colder freezer, there was larvae detritus everywhere. I pulled the waxed frames out so the sun could deal with them. Later I scraped the litter on the bottom of the hive out. There was a small cluster of 10 or so bees inside the hive. These must have been left over from the Y swarm. I put the other clean frames next them before closing the hive and leaving for Playa Vista. Maybe they would join the hive arriving shortly.

A couple hours later I checked again and found some of the bees had found a way out so I removed the nuc plug. The bees came out and met the Dale. My lucky move.. I ran across this on the Organic Beekeepers Yahoo group today:

Posted by: "Fred" fredster4

Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:10 am (PDT)

Which is why installing a package at the end of the day has always been good advice. It works in harmony with the bees inate desire to be sheltered at the end of any day and then they start keeping house and it is that much more rare that they will abscond the next morning because they have kept house for the whole night.
That is what I had done quite by accident. Today they were flying in and out when I checked and did not seem ready to move away. I had one small problem, the nuc had a screened lid and rain was predicted overnight. I went out after dark and swapped the lid for a solid one.

The Playa bees should be secure for the night.

The Twitchy Bees are still happy. I lifted the top for a quick glance today. I need to go back after the spat of bad weather. They seemed all together too active, the third super may be filling up quickly. I need to get another one ready. It is put together in the garage but I still have to make the wax strips and insert them.

With the spot of bad weather tonight it is possible the Playa Bees will decide to stay in The Dale.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bees They Come Bees They Go and Bees...

On Saturday morning I checked on the Y Bees I had captured on Friday Evening. They gave every appearance of moving from the nuc into the hive box. When I went back in the afternoon and checked again they were gone. Ingrates!! After I had sustain five or more stings and left with a swollen face they had decided my site was not good enough?? That is bugs for you. Backwards Beekeepers just provide the space, the rest is up to the bees and often they go elsewhere.

This drone looked in need of a new home and I showed up to help him out. Notice the big eyes on the top of the head. That marks him as a drone, the only guys in the hive. I had helped the YMCA get rid of a problem and moved the bees to a better place even if it was not at my house. Now it was Bee Rescue Hotline to my rescue. Late Sunday there was a report of bees in Marina Del Rey. I needed bees so I called and talked to Cammie. She had just watched some show on PBS or Discovery and was adamant that her problem bees would be save and not killed. She called the right place. I talked to her boyfriend, Rory, this morning. He seemed anxious to have the issue resolved so I cut breakfast short, made another screened lid for a second nuc and went to Playa Vista.

This was the view from his patio door.

There were Bees underneath the BBQ.

There Bees coming out the top of the BBQ.

There were Bees coming down the leg of the BBQ. There were lots of bees but true to bee swarming norms, these were very gentle bees. Not one time did I get any head butts or buzz-bys trying to get me to leave. This included when I dropped the BBQ a couple of times. These bees were much nicer than the Y bee ingrates.

After spraying them with sugar water I snuggled one nuc up next to the bees on the leg and tried to nudge them into the nuc. No way, they were very nice but they did not want to move into the nuc. A few inspected the nuc but that plan was going to take too long. On to strategy #2 and more direct action. I placed one nuc under the BBQ and one next to the leg, lifted the BBQ and dropped it.

That got some action, there were bees everywhere.

And a lot of them were on the ground.

As we waited many of them crawled into the box holding the second nuc and up the side of the other nuc. There were still a lot left up under the BBQ and on the BBQ leg. Another BBQ drop/thump was needed. I gently moved a lid under the wheel that was covered with bees. It seemed the queen was in the nuc directly under the BBQ having fallen after the first drop but many of her subjects needed encouragement to join her. With nuc and lid in place I did the second BBQ drop and also brushed bees on the leg into the BBQ. A majority of the bees seemed to be in the primary nuc. After letting the others try to walk up into the nuc I gradually moved all the lids and anything with bees on them and scrapped them into the primary nuc.

After a long wait I closed both nucs and was about to take them home. There were still a couple hundred bees not in the nucs and I remembered Cammie's wish to save as many as possible. I decided to leave both nucs on the patio overnight with the lids askew. The bees should all migrate to one nuc in the late afternoon and early evening. Very late tonight Rory will got out and close the lids on the nucs. The bees will stay there until tomorrow when I will go back and pick them up.
Then Cammie & Rory will have their patio and bikes back and I will have the Playa Bees to replace the Y ingrates that absconded. Everybody wins and a nice start to the week.

Long live the Bee Rescue Hotline!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Moving In??

At 7:30 in the morning and the Y-bees are not moving around much.

Only a few of them have ventured out and none are around the super under the nuc. The sun is just coming out and they should move more when the warm rays hit the nuc.

Two hours later, some sunshine and they are moving around and maybe moving in.

There are quite a few bees around the hive opening now. Maybe they like the wooden digs with some swarm lure inside better than the open top nuc. We will have to wait and see if the queen is in the house. If she is not and the troops still stay around I will pull some brood out of the other hive to give them a start to make a new queen.

If this swarm stays ( they often leave the place you have selected for them no matter how nice you make it) that will complete my apiary. I do not have the space to keep more than two hives. As it is they are very close to the property lines on three sides. Any complaints by anyone and they will have to be moved. I will definitely be handing out some honey in the hood one of these days. I would love to set up a stall at our Farmers Market but I do not want the City fathers to know I have bees.

On that note, if you would like to help, go to this site and sign the petition to allow bees in Santa Monica. Some of the Backwards Beekeepers are trying to get that city to stop killing swarms and at least designate an area where rescued swarms can be kept until they are moved to a more friendly and useful location. At this time they just kill them and it seems the leader of Vector Control for SM is more interested in protecting his turf than helping the bees. I have no such hope for my area but things could change if we can get better bee laws in some the cities in the area. Many of California cities allow beekeeping in some form but very few in the Los Angeles area do. They keep nannering on about Killer Bees but these laws were on the books long before the term Killer Bees even showed up.

Sign up and help the bees.