Saturday, May 14, 2011

Elmer's Bees Part Three - Finale

Ceebs and I showed up ready to collect bees on a nice cool morning.  Ignore small camera on the tripod.  It was ready and on but someone forgot to press the button to activate it.  No video this time.  I was able to seal the gap between the super and Bee Vac sections ahead of time, that is the blue tape..  We had good suction.
It was like a jungle in there.  Elmer likes his palm trees and things were pretty dense.

That is our target, dead center.

The bees entered a drain hole on the black bucket and had filled the white piece full of comb.  Once we started this went rather quickly.  I put the palm tree on it's side and Ceebs handled the Bee Vac.  (Once someone moved the main intake hose from the exhaust hole and put it where it belonged.)  The bees went in quickly and I handled comb.  We ended up with six or seven frames with plenty of brood and some honey/pollen. 

Plenty of brood in the comb. these bees should stay when the hive is set up.  We did see on small hive beetle but it fell off.  That is not a surprise, this hive was directly on the ground and beetles need to return to the earth to complete their life cycle.   Any beetles in the earlier hive will die off, my hives are on concrete and there is not way for them to reach earth to complete the cycle.   I alert the new owners of these bees.  Not a big hive but they had swarmed a time or two according to the empty swarm cells we saw.

The bees seemed rather calm once we had them in place.  That may change when the hive is set up. It is that E-ticket ride down the vacuum tube that may annoy them a little but they should return to being the nice calm little hive they were when we gathered them up.
Ceebs stowing the last of the gear.  Once again I had a great person on the Bee Vac so I could do the "stand up -not kneeling job" aka put comb into frames.  I love that and appreciate it.  We needed another set of hands for a photo but this will have to do.   The bees should be off to their new home later today.  Thanks Ceebs. 
Another Bee Rescue for Backwards Beekeepers.
Off to more Bee Adventures as the Rescue Hot Line lights up with calls.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Elmer's Bees Part Two

"The Bee Vac is loaded.  I am ready to go in, Sir.
The target loaded with bees.  They were so thick and not moving in the morning chill that I looked closely so be sure they were alive
Steve Rosales doing the hard work sucking up the bees.

The comb starts to show up as the bees are sucked into the hive box.

Steve starting to remove the comb.
Carefully collecting as many bees as possible before putting the comb into frames.

Because the comb was in a round container on it's side, it was very difficult to determine which was the correct way to orient the comb.  There were some empty queen cells that served as a guide on a couple of pieces.
I did not save any drone cells, I cut off most of the honey.  There was not a lot of it.  I will use and empty hive body as a feeding shim and give back to the bees tomorrow.

Extra drama, just to the left of the lower bee is a small spider.  I happened to look as it was running circles around that bee and trying to wrap it in silk.  It slowed the bee for a while until another bee came over chased the spider away.
The empty container with only some honey left inside.  The house owner will move it close to another hive that remains so those bees can clean up the honey.
This is the next project.  There is a hive of bees under this palm tree.  They enter a drain slot in the black bucket.  There did not appear to be many bees and we were going to put them in a nuc.  Once again things were not as expected.  The white bucket stand went a few inches into the ground and it is full of bees and comb. Just like the earlier job but not quite as large. A much bigger job than planned so we left them for today. Elmer's Bee's Part Three will be this weekend.
The bees orienting themselves to their new home.  When we removed the bees from the planter they were not the least aggressive.  Apparently they did not like the E-ticket of the Bee Vac.  They were not aggressive but decidedly upset when I put them into the hive.  Later in the evening I will remove the Bee Vac top and bottom. These bees could abscond but there is a lot brood in the comb included in the hive so they are more likely to stay. 
This was a relatively simple removal but it would have been much harder without Steve's help which I appreciate greatly.  The Mighty Bee Vac worked okay at first but was much better when I put blue tape around the junction between the Vac top and bottom and the hive body to strengthen the seal.  That added enough suction that Steve had to reduce it at one point.   The bees were very gentle even when I was slicing through larvae as I cut the comb to fit the frames. 
Look for more of Elmer's bees over the weekend.
Another rescue coming from the Backwards Beekeepers Bee Rescue Hot Line.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Honey 'n Beans

These are Blodgett Canyon Baked Beans and there is a story attached to them. This recipe is from Lonnie Gillette who posted the recipe and story on
 The Story from Lonnie Gillette: "I call this recipe Blodgett Canyon Baked Beans in honor of my good friend Don Mackey. He and I spent much time in Blodgett Canyon in the Bitterroot Mountains while we were growing up. He went on to become a Missoula Smoke Jumper and was killed in the Storm King Mountain Fire in Colorado. A bronze statue memorializes him about 1/4 mile up the canyon trail and you can read about his death in the book, "Fire On The Mountain" by John Maclean. Raise a glass to Don prior to comsumption."

Blodgett Canyon Baked Beans

Combine the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl:

3/4 lb. bacon ends & pieces or thick cut bacon, trimmed of excess fat and fried
1 med. onion, chopped and fried with bacon
1 16oz. can pork & beans, drain excess liquid but do not rinse
1 16oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 16oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 C. ketchup
1/2 Tbl. honey mustard
1/2 Tbl. cider vinegar
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. molasses
pinch of salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
1 shot of bourbon

After mixing thoroughly, transfer to a bean pot or 10" dutch oven and bake at 350 F for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs. Stir once or twice during the cooking process and a little water can be added to obtain desired consistency or if the beans are drying out.

The beans as they went into the oven ( this is can be done with charcoal but I am inside today.)  A new high end organic food store, Sprouts, opened down the road so I got my supplies from them today.  That meant making a few adjustments to the recipe.   I did not have honey mustard so I added Dijon and some of my own honey.  I resisted the temptation to add garlic but I did toss in a small can of chopped green chili peppers.  Sprouts is too organic for Pork & Beans.   I used canned Great Northern beans and doubled the molasses and brown sugar.  Then I added another 1/3 cup of honey, just because.  Found the Wild Turkey American Honey last week.  It is little too sweet for my tastes but it served as the bourbon called for in the recipe. That shot of Wild Honey on the stove, that was for the Chef and a salute to Don MacKey.
Pour your own and join me in a toast.  Slainte!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Elmer's Bees - Part One

There was a message off the Bee Rescue Hot Line about bees in a pot in Palos Verdes.  I should know better but I envisioned a pot next to a swimming pool or something.  For all rescues you need to assume the 6 feet up is really 10 ft, or bees are actually wasps.  Callers are usually afraid of the bees (wasps) and accuracy is not important when they call.  Elmer was correct about bees in a pot but it is in an overgrown back yard behind vineyard stakes and old pallets.  So much for the imagined pool side quick up.  It had been hot so I showed up after 5PM.  There was not enough time to collect these bees on the first visit..

Bees and comb.

Bees on top of bees,
But there were bees, no wasps this time, lots of bees, a container looking to be solidly packed with bees and comb.  This is too big a job for one person.  This pot is 18"-24" across and about 15" deep from the bee mas to the bottom of the pot.  I could have removed the entire container but my truck was full of bee gear and I was not really interested in taking the pot to my house.  The operation is on hold.  Next Monday Steve Rosales and maybe Ceebs will join me in collecting these guys.  This looks like a job for the Mighty Bee Vac.   There is also a smaller hive under a potted Sago Palm sitting on piece of sewer pipe.  That one should fit nicely into a nuc.

Look for Part Two next week.  In the mean time I may be assisting Ceebs do a collection at the LA Zoo as the Buzz keeps on going..