Wednesday, August 17, 2011

San Gabriel Mission Video

This is Randy up in the bee chamber on the first day.   This space houses the bellows of the Church Organ. This is unedited video shot while Randy cut comb and I was about 20 feet below on solid ground.  When he moves the camera around, about 60 sec in, you will see a the marks left by previous hives that has called this space home.  Someone needs to seal this space up better when we are done this time.  

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.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bigger Than a roberta

Kirkobeeo declared this comb at the LA Zoo was bigger than Roberta thereby creating a new measurement in the world of beekeeping and honey bees.

The young woman in the middle is Roberta.  She is the Backwards Beekeeper's human dynamo.  She does more cut-outs, swarm captures than anyone.  Seeing her schedule makes me tired.  Vertically challenged she shows no fear when it comes to bees, she towers over all of us..  She is an inspiration to us all. and a robera is much more important than a Smoot at MIT (Google Smoot MIT if you don't know.)
The LA Bee Rescue Hot Line got a call about some bees in a Medical Building in San Gabriel They were entering via this electric conduit on the roof of the building.
The bees were behind this drywall and had worked their way down ithrough some lighting fixtures to offices in the building. They had to be removed or exterminated.
BBK'er Randy and Joseph took up the job.  The first cut showed the bees were between the next two beams.  After some vanilla/sugar water spray, Randy starts to use his bee vac.  This was a perfect job for a bee vac.

Building Manager Kyle tries his hand with Randy's Bee Vac
And here the bees  are, filling the entire space between the studs and honey dripping everywhere.

This comb was loaded with honey and a gazilion bees but they were not hard to work with once they got the sugar/vanilla water.
The length of the comb is exposed and it is definitely more than one Roberta.  The comb was at least five feet in length and maybe more.  No one took time to measure it.

Randy using his bee vac as Joseph offers advice.
Joseph getting his turn with the vac
Joseph standing on his tip toes can barely reach the top of the comb.
Comb all removed.  It filled this entire space from stud to stud with only bee space not used.
From the header to almost the bottom was comb and most was full of honey or brood.   This hive must have been here for years.

We took four containers of honey comb.  Joseph had two supers with frames full of brood comb plus some honey and pollen,
The hive was left on the roof for the day so the bees can get oriented to the new home.  The hole by the electric conduit was sealed and blocked with expansion foam.
 Another fine job pulled off by Backwards Beekeepers Rescue Hot Line.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What's Buggin' Me

This is my 1960 Kenskill trailer that I take to dog shows, vintage trailer rallies and sometimes just fun trips.  It lives in my back yard when it is not on the road. 
I have a satellite antenna I use when traveling but when the trailer is parked at home I just hook up to this one on the house.  When I switched to HD and the giant screen they installed a new antenna and left this one.  It is very handy.  I was in the trailer working on a window today and decided to turn on the TV.  It showed no connection which was odd.  I double checked all the connections and still no luck.  Then I started swapping out pieces of the cable, eventually getting almost a direct line between the receiver and the dish. The was still no connection.
This is what I see when I check the signal strength.  If it is good there will be numbers in all of the lines.  When there is a weak connection there will be zeros in every other row. I kept getting random numbers in no definite pattern, it was very confusing.   Just to be sure I again swapped cables and connections.    Using satellite finder I knew the dish was aimed right but then that started giving odd results.  What the??
I looked up at the antenna on the house and noticed the plastic piece on the end of the signal receiver was cracked and broken.  That did not seem to be the problem but with no other options showing up I decided to change that with the one off my travel antenna.  That finally solved the problem but not for any reason that had occurred to me.

Someone had moved into the antenna receiver.  Yes, that is wasp on her nest.  She never moved when I took this piece down.  That is a good thing, I have memories of grabbing a nest of wasps by accident when I was very small.   My hand still hurts when I think of that. Some things you never forget and never do again.  I noticed all the wasp cells were empty.  Had the TV signal radiated her enough to make her sterile?   I hope I have not started s super race of wasps in The Dale.

Enough of the pests of the world and back to the good bugs in the next post.