Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pool House Bees

This is the target it is in the ceiling of the bathroom of a long abandoned pool house in Palos Verdes.  The contractor, John, found Ed Garcia.  John needed the bees removed so the pool house could be demolished. Ed asked to use the Mighty Bee Vac and I agreed if I could come along.  He also recruited Ty who is hopeful beekeeper.  We needed every one for this job. . 
In the videos you can see Ty reaching up into the ceiling cavity to vacuum off the bees and then cut down the comb.  At this point Ed and John were cutting the comb and putting it into frames.

This was the hive before we started.  As big as this is, there was one 2-3 times as big in the site previously.  You could see the marks where the comb had been removed.  Unfortunately the exterminator did not seal the site or do anything to discourage bees and they came back.

This is the comb that is put into frames by Ed and John in the videos.

Ed and John with comb in place.  I expected two supers of comb but once we removed most of the honey, 20-30#, we had one super and two frames.  We tossed the extra frames and kept the full super.  This took longer than expected, about 3 hours, but Ed and Ty ended up with a nice supply of honey.  John has a site he can work in once he smokes bombs it and an sprays the comb area with some ammonia.
The bees are at Ed's for now.  When I installed them and removed the Bee Vac top and bottom they were a tad agitated.  You would be upset too if you were sucked down a vacuum tube.  They should settle down in time but this was a very big amount of bees.  One day Ed will be moving them to a new home in the San Fernando Valley.

A full days work and a good job by everyone.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Bees At The Times

The Bee Rescue Hot Line received several calls about bees on a balcony at the LA Times building.  This was outside the old Executive Offices level, now vacant except for the odd movie, commercial shoot.  There was another shoot scheduled for this weekend and they were anxious to have the bees removed ahead of time otherwise the exterminators were coming.  Kudos to the Times staff for being persistent and kept calling until we showed up. 
The bees were in a small kumquat bush, on the outside overlooking downtown LA.  The swam turned out to be a hive.  It had been noticed only a couple weeks ago but there was a lot of comb under the hive that must have been torn off in high winds, there was nothing up here that could have caused that damage.  Sorry, there are no pictures of the hive before we went to work.  I brought my camera but not the battery.  The hive was well established among the branches.  The only way to get it was spray them with sugar water, add a bit of smoke and start clipping branches and leaves.  Amy Seidenwurm gave me a hand getting the job done.  There was not enough space for two people to work.  As the comb was cleared of foliage, I clipped the main branches and dropped them into the nuc.  The frames had been removed from the nuc.  Once all the cob was inside, I gradually removed the comb and Amy put it into the frames which were placed back into the nuc.  We saved all the big bits with some brood and a little honey.  The odd thing was the amount of swarm cells, five or six, that we found and removed. 

When all the comb was inside I put the lid partially on the nuc and removed the plug so the bees had plenty of access.  We left it there over night and when it got darker and the bees were inside one of the valiant maintenance men went out, put the lid full in place and plugged the nuc entry.
When we arrived early in the morning, Roxanne brought a laundry bag to cover the nuc.  Great idea, it works better than the sheets I used in the past. 
The bees over looking Los Angeles.  Their new home would be in the San Fernando Valley with quite a different view but lots and lots of plants and flowers to work.

The Bees at Disney Hall.  This was a very easy pickup and the staff and the LA Times was great.  They could have easily killed the bees and no one would have noticed.   Special mention should be made of Jim Rasmussen who would not give and kept calling us. Thanks to Amy for her help and Roxanne for providing a home for the bees.  Backwards Beekeepers Bee Rescue Hot Line Forever!!

This is an unedited piece with Amy using my Flip for the first time.  It takes so long to upload that I did not try to edit the piece.  It is seven minutes long and not thrilling but you get all the cuts.  LOL  This is almost live but not quite. It is The Times and The Bees raw unedited.  Don't expect music or an announcer voice.    This took eight hours to upload, be grateful it is here at all.  LOL

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Quick Check

The Twitchy Bees in my main hive have been very active.  I had added a super a month ago and wanted to be sure they were in good shape and maybe pay their honey tax.  Ed showed up to help and would be paid with the nuc of Beach Bees.  The top super was empty except for a few bees.  The next one down had nine frames of capped comb and one empty frame.  Looking closer all the frames had cross comb. 
These bees had done this before.  I wanted to move some full frames up to encourage the bees to work on the top super but the cross comb kept collapsing. There was no way to remove one frame without cutting into the comb on the adjacent frame.  We took out 3 frames of capped honey and placed empty frames on the outside of the remaining frames..  We cut out the capped honey and put the newly emptied frames into the top super. The bits of comb and frame on those frames may encourage the bees to move up.  We closed that hive and moved on to  Elmer's Bees.

When I set these bees up I added a feeding shim and put some of their old comb with honey on top of the frames.  I did not add this much comb.  The bees had been busy.

The bees decided to use the space and added some comb filled with uncapped honey.  We removed the feeding shim and cleaned off all the burr comb.  I forgot to check the bottom super for remains of the string and rubber bands used to tie the comb in place.  The bees have removed much of it but I might have helped them out some if I looked.  We added a third super and closed the hive.
Ed helped crush the comb we had collected before leaving with his nuc of bees.  I had sealed the night the night before but a lot of bees had gotten out from somewhere in the morning.  I unplugged the nuc and let the do what they wanted all day.  Ed could not wait for dark to take his bees so some bees that had been out foraging were left behind.  This is the cluster that was there the next morning.   A few might slip around the corner and get into the other hives but most are doomed.  Sad to see but there was nothing to do for them. 
Ed's nuc of bees seem to be settling in at his place.  I have a half dozen jars of protein enhanced honey.  Protein enhanced because I did not bother cutting out the drone brood in some of the comb before doing the crush and strain honey collection.   That may account for the honey not being crystal clear but it is very tasty.
If the Twitchy bees manage to fill the top super with straight comb, the next time I will remove all the cross comb and harvest that honey.  Aside from wiring the frames I do not know what else to do with the cross comb frames.  They just seem to like building it that way. 

Thanks to Ed for his help but I also needed a camera person.  I got a few shots but working with the cross comb is very messy and my camera had a honey coat when we were done.
The Bee Housing Tax

Friday, June 3, 2011

Beach Bees

Rich in Hermosa Beach had bees in his small nectarine tree and called the Backwards Beekeeper Bee Rescue Hot Line and I took the call.
This was in a small garden area amid beach houses on all sides.  It looked like a perfect habitat for bees but the neighbors were only an arms length away.  Someone would not be happy to have to them there and they could not be hidden so they were moved.
The swarm was easy to reach at eye level but were enmeshed in a lot of leaves and branches.

After cutting away a lot of foliage, they were ready to go into the box.

A couple heavy shakes and most of them were in the box,
A lot of the bees were on odd leaves and branches, those were clipped and the bees added to the box. In the process we watched the bees remove one leave I had dropped into the nuc.
A little mixed media work with the Flip Camera.  If possible those videos will be edited and added in the next post.
Using my guest bee veil and gloves Rich got to see the bees up close.
The bees were nasonoving and calling their sisters into the nuc
They came crawling in from the odd leaves and branches.
Waiting for a few more stragglers. 
 I took the nuc home covered in a sheet.  Late in the evening I unplugged the entry hole and removed the sheet.  This morning they are still there.  If they remain today and tonight, they will be going to live in the San Fernando Valley.  Being beach bees and used to a cooler climate, it is hard to say if they will stay.  Rich was a good conscientious citizen who wanted the bees to have another chance instead of meeting the exterminator.  Thanks to the Bee Rescue Hot Line the bees will get that chance tomorrow.  This was a good bee day brought about by the Backwards Beekeepers Bee Rescue Hot Line

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Comb Tied Into Frames

When I remove comb from a hive I attempt to orient it the way it was in the hive.  Outside comb in the hive goes to the outside of the box and I attempt to keep it in order and up and down as it was.  This is not always possible but the bees will adapt.  It is easier if they do not have to adapt.  I tie in the comb with rubber bands if  the piece is wide and deep enough to fill the frame.  If it does not fill the frame I will also use cotton string to tie it close to the top of the frame so the bees can reattach it.
I had been out of town most of the last 10 days and this is what I found when I checked the Elmer's Bees hive yesterday. Lots of rubber band and string pieces on the ground.  The water moat had dried out too.
After filling the water I scooped the string and rubber bands plus other stuff out of the moat.  It did not look like the ants had made a major assault on the hive as they often do this time of the year.

When I went out later the bees had pulled out another piece of rubber band.

That odd piece of comb is some that was in the original hive.  I am not sure if that was inside the hive or I dropped it there.  I did add a feeding shim on top to give them some of the honey from their original hive.  I may have left it in the shim and the bees removed that too.  They are good housekeepers.

By this next morning the rubber band piece was gone from the landing area. 
In the next day or so I will inspect this hive.  I need to remove the feeding shim on top and these bees are very active.  I may have to add another super to the hive.

My other hive is now five supers tall and they have always been active.  It is possible the top frame is getting full.  If that has happened there is a great chance that I will have my first real honey harvest this year.  This hive, The Twitchy Bees, have been here for well over two years.  Last year I left a super full of honey so they would over winter easily.  It is time to pay the Beek!