Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Over The Hill

The Backwards Beekeepers Hotline had a couple calls from Palos Verdes that Randy checked out and discovered they were related.  Bob, an ex-sailor Pearl Harbor survivor, had a hive of bees under his eaves and the neighbors were nervous.  Ken who lives down the street decided he could safely house the bees if Randy assisted in obtaining a hive and every thing else. Done deal and once a date was selected we arrived.
This was a nice hive, fully exposed just under the eaves about 10 ft up.

It was a good looking hive, just getting active when we started.
Once the Mighty Bee Vac was hooked up Randy was up the ladder and collecting bees.

As always, Randy is the point man on the ladder.  I am the ground guy.

Bees started to show up in the collection super immediately.

As the Bee Vac does its job the comb comes into view.

And there are a lot more bees in the super.

Ted from across the street came over to take the picture (thanks, Ted, he gave me 300 of them on a disc,)  We like to involve every one so Ted got his shot at collecting bees.

Most of the bees on the outside are gone and Randy started to cut out the comb.

There was a lot of drone comb which I left if the piece fit the frame nicely.

This was one of several queen cells we found.  The brood we found looked okay to us  but the hive may have planned to replace the queen for some reason.  We don't know, only the bugs know.

A nice frame of brood.  Once the small outer comb was removed Randy used an empty frame to measure and cut out proper sized pieces of comb.  That made putting it into the frames very easy.
Bob, the home owner had a very nice front row seat all morning long.
Another queen cell

More good looking brood

The standard hive body is full of comb

And Randy is still bring down more comb.

We were lucky to have a nuc with some medium frames for the remainder of the comb.

The comb is all clear but when Randy checked the vent holes one did not have screen, there were more bees inside. Later he fashioned a bee escape and put it in place.  The returning bees should hang around on the outside overnight and Randy will return early tomorrow with his bee vac to collect them.  He will also set up a trap out near by.

I thought we had most of the bees in the Bee Vac.  Where are these coming from?

Bob was interested in everything, as long as it stayed outside and moved on later.

The Bee Vac collection hive is very full.
After vacuuming many many bees off that kept gathering on the nuc and full super I realized these were mainly robber bees looking for free honey.  Standing back on the sidewalk you could see them coming straight down to the area.  Once we moved the nuc and other pieces away from the area the bees left.  We took the bees and supers down the street and Randy installed them in their new home.  With all that brood they should stay there.  I have no idea what was going to happen to the thousand or so robber bees that got sucked up through the Bee Vac in to the collection hive.  Sometimes bees make bad decisions.  When we finally got done Randy headed off to collect a swarm and Norwalk and I drove home for a nap.  It was a long but good day.  One man got rid of bees he did not want another got a new hive.  It was a very good day in our bee world.  Thanks to Randy for doing the hard and high parts and to Ted for all the photos.