Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Swarming Redondo

Late Saturday afternoon the LA Bee Rescue Hot Line got a call about a swarm in Redondo Beach.  I contacted Susan to get it I could not get away.  Rain was coming and the bees might prefer being under cover.
This was a nice compact little swarm which was very reachable.  The homeowners put a blanket on the grass to watch what was going on.  I pontificated on bees and by the time I turned around Susan had them in a nuc.  That is why there are not bee collection pictures, it was over quickly and the nuc closed up.  We left the bees under that bush overnight.  The nuc was well away from passersby would be secure.   Susan picked it up at 6:30AM on Sunday.  At the Backwards Beekeepers meeting later in the day Susan found someone to give them a new home.

Forgive the artsy effect but my hands were full and this is the only shot I have of the house.  Catherine had a swarm in a camellia bush along her driveway in Redondo Beach..  I was not on bee duty so mid afternoon I went to check them out.

After clipping some branches I was able to slip the nuc under the bees and shake them in.
A bit of of nasonoving said the Queen was in residence.   I slipped a lid over the nuc and left them to adjust until the next day.
Catherine was very happy with the result

I went back to collect them this morning.  They were very active and Catherine informed that yesterday after I left they make a big swarm cloud but apparently decided this space would do and returned.  Rather than disrupt them right away I will wait until after dark and go seal the nuc and bring them back to the Apiary In The Dale.  I do not know if they will stay or if this will be a layover spot.  We shall see.  Fro now I have enough bees.
Still wrapped in the transport laundry bag, the bees are now parked The Apiary In The Dale, their home for a few days.

Uncovered and settled in for the night

The residents are not very active but one solitary bee traveled here outside the nuc but inside the laundry bag.  It will find its way inside soon.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Honey In The Dale

Weather in the area has been up and down, hot then cold and hot again.  It finally stabilized enough for a hive inspection and Randy brought Laura along to assist.  (Randy took the pictures.)
This hive has always made a lot of propolis and sealed things very tight.
The top two supers had empty and sparse comb.  If it had been filled, the bees used it over the winter. The next two had nice looking honey.
Some was in darker comb and some in light comb.  There were a few larvae cells but not a lot in these two supers.
Laura got to work the propolis sealed super #4. The frames were very tight and hard to get out.
Some of the frames were cross combed or had comb going between two frames so they was some damage during the inspection.  The bees will fix it when they need the room for honey storage.
New comb with new honey not yet capped.
These used to be the Twitchy Bees but this time we were in the hive for the better part of an hour and they did not even buzz us.  They were extremely calm and peaceful.  For some reason these bees seem to prefer entering on the far right side of the entrance.  They use the whole space but most in/outs occur on the right corner.
We damaged a couple of frames with honey and ended up removing 2.5 frames of honey.  There was absolutely no indication of problems with the hive so we did not go into #1 and #2 supers.

I crushed the comb to get to the honey.

I finally got to use my new wire strainer (thanks Bro).  I left it draining over the weekend as I headed off to a vintage trailer rally near Santa Barbara
While i was there I found some bees gathering nectar and pollen off Eucalyptus trees.  The bees were all rather dark.

When I got home I pulled off about 60 ounces of very nice honey.  The bees are still active and may provide me with more in a couple of months.  In three years i have taken only 5 frames of honey from this hive.  They slowed down a lot during the winter but seem to getting back up to speed..

 Thanks to Randy and Laura we have actual Honey from The Dale in The Dale, a great start to a new year of beekeeping.