Monday, May 28, 2012

Another swarm call-out

Today I finally got a call from the local neighborhood of a swarm in a backyard.  I arrived to find a small swarm clinging to a low branch.  I placed the basket under it and clipped the branch and wah-lah it was done.  Or so I thought.  As I waited for the flying bees to collect in the basket, they decided that the chain link fence was better.  I tried brushing them into the basket but no luck.. It was back home to get the Bee Vac.  Most of the bees had left the basket for the fence so I just decided to vac them all up.  Half an hour later they were secure and off I went to put them in my hive.  Watch Video:              That's four hives now where I had none earlier.  Later

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Freeing the queen

Today I let my new queen loose into the nasty hive.  She ran directly below the top bars without any reaction from the other bees.  They have seemed to be calmer today, which I had expected, but I still don't trust them, especially after the getting stung in the eye yesterday.   Inspected the TBH today also to see how things are progressing, they seen to be doing well with only the end bars not being worked.  That's 15 bars with comb, honey and brood on all of them since the swarm was installed a  month ago.  Will add more bars next week if necessary.  Also decided to add a honey comb super above it.  Will start on the transition and covers tomorrow.  My plan is to leave it on until July, and then let them store late season honey for the winter.

I have about a month to deal with this nasty hive and then it should quiet down in the back.  Would like to get another swarm call so I can populate my skep.  Going to contact the police to see if they have a contact list for swarming bees and try to get on it.  Tried 311 but no good information there.  Although my web site comes up near the top when I do a search I haven"t gotten many calls recently. 

 I found an extractor and tank for sale here on the Island at a good price so I think I will buy it for the group to use.  Will make cages for those who have TBH's so they don't have to crush the comb to get the honey.   Later

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bee tree secure ( I hope)

Yesterday I went to the bee tree and found that my sac trap was full of bees.  Unfortunately, most were dead as I had not checked it for three days.  Even though they could return to the hive, they seem to die if I leave the trap up overnight.  Not sure why yet, maybe they just tire themselves out trying to leave or maybe die of thirst.  Someday I will figure it out.  As these were very angry bees, I'm not to concerned with their perishing.  As I removed the trap I saw many bees inside so I installed my other catch sac and told the owners I would return in the afternoon.  Hoping my sulfur sheets would be in the mail.  They were , so I returned with my bee vac and sulfur sheet.  Removing the sac, which had a couple thousand bees in it, I then began to vacuum up all the bees either trying to enter or leave.  It took about a half hour before they were mostly all vac'd up.  I them lit my sulfur sheet and lowered it via a wire into the hole and sealed it all up with concrete.   All entry holes are now secure.  Even if they don't die from the SO2 gas they cannot escape.  If the owners decide to remove the tree, we can still salvage all the honey, as the sulfur does not leave residuals in the honey.  If I had known it would take 2 weeks to get the sulfur, I would have left my hive trap in place, I think I may have enticed the queen out, but now will never know.

Later I went to Debra's house to loan her my queen mating nuc for her new queen she bought and couldn't use.  We placed one queen in the back half of her TBH, and moved some bars of honey and brood, along with some bees.  We placed the other queen in the nuc, which I had previously supplied with a piece of comb filled with water and some fondant.  I had placed some of my angry bees in there for starter stock.  By the time they get some comb built and the brood hatching, the bad bees will be gone and replaced by a friendlier bunch.

Checked my queen today, and the bees seem to be accepting her, but I'm going to wait and release her tomorrow.  I had shook out all the bees I caught yesterday and they took to the new hive right away.  Didn't seem to be any in fighting between the two groups.  Maybe because it was late in the evening.  I walked back to the house to take off my suit and one bee was on the suit when I took it off and nailed me right on the eyelid.  Ouch!!  I  immediately took a Benedryl, hope it works as I really don't need to look like I lost a fight, although I think I did.   Can't wait for the queen to replace all this nasty stock.  My new nuc seems to be doing fine, eating the fondant I gave them and gathering pollen also.  Later

Friday, May 25, 2012

NUC has arrived

Yesterday I went north to Brewster and picked up my nuc at White Oak Apiaries.  What a junk yard.  I hope his bees are better than his house keeping.  The nuc was a little lite, as the weather up there has been cold and wet and the bees hadn't multiplied as they should have.  There was hardly any honey above the brood comb and one frame was devoid of anything except open comb and a few bees hanging on.   I also picked up my queen, which he was suppose to have sent out last week, but I guess his book-keeping is as bad as his house-keeping. I put the queen in the small swarm hive and transferred the frames of the nuc to my own hive.  Today I fed them both with fondant as its suppose to rain for the next week.  My TBH can hold its own as they have plenty of stores already.

Debra from the bee club had mis-ordered two new queens for her hives so I'm going to lend her my mini queen nucs to hold them over until she can sell them.  Rainy today but I have to close up the bee tree so they can use their back yard for the one sunny day we're suppose to get over Memorial weekend.  Let you know how it goes.  Later

Sunday, May 20, 2012

TBH expanding

Checked the TBH  again today and they are working on all 13 bars so I added 3 more to the open end side.  I put in 1 1/2" bars and left 1/4" space between the bars to promote honey production.  With so much brood I think I'm going to have to watch for late season swarming, but since I haven't been getting any calls for the last 2 weekends I could use them for joining with my first swarm hive which will need the help for the winter buildup.  Scheduled to close up the bee tree this week.  They are calling for rain on Tues. so that would keep them home and the deadly deed would be more effective.  Although, I still have 2 more days to entice the queen out.  Later

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bee tree bees diminishing

Put out my trap again this morning and when I checked it at noon, there were almost no bees in it.  Very few flying around and the ones that were out early this morning were just hanging to the outside of the trap.  Put out a second bag and in the process, almost no bees came to greet me.  Looking into the hive I saw very little activity.  Maybe I can entice the queen out today or tomorrow as she hasn't had many workers return now for over the last 2 weeks.  They have stopped using the topmost entrance so I'm going to close that off also, but need a much bigger ladder.  No Sulfur sticks today in the mail, that means I have until Tuesday to capture the entire hive.  Keep your fingers crossed as I don't like the thought of killing them.  Later

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tree of never ending bees

Since I've taken the hive trap down I've been collecting around 3-4,000 bees a day from my sac trap.  I put it up early in the morning and then take it down later in the day.  I shake it out in front of my hive that I've set aside for the bee tree residence.  Where they go I'm not sure, except that I know I need to be in full dress uniform for the operation.  I can feel them bumping my head and hundreds fly into my face net, attracted to the CO2 I guess.  I think some finally make there way into the hive, as its residence keep expanding.  Some may go over to the TBH and some may just fly off.  In any event, they are not in the bee tree anymore.  Today there were far less bees around, but still ferocious.  Tomorrow I'm going to take a day off and look into my hive and check to see if by chance I may have caught the queen, or the queen from the first small swam that I caught.  If so there should be eggs or brood comb.  May even have a laying worker if no queen, will be lots of drone cells if there is.  We'll see tomorrow.  Later

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Papering hive transfer

Today I pulled off the cover and was going to pull out the paper between the two boxes and found just a few bees.  The paper was solid, with no apparent chewing to get up or down.  When I smoked the bottom hive it went buzzing like crazy.  All the bees seem to have abandon the upper hive and moved directly into the main bottom one.  Will have to nadir the box back to the bottom when the queen arrives, tomorrow, I hope.  Should be getting a call on the nuc I bought also.  That will make three hives and the swarm season isn't over yet.  Bought a catch basket at The Christmas Tree Store the other day and made a cover for it, can't wait to try it.  The wood hoops in my catch sac broke so I ordered some of steel and will have to undo the stitches and sew in the new ones when they arrive.  Can't wait to get finished the kitchen retro-fit for our friend, it was no small job and has eaten up way to much of my time.  Should be done this week.  Later

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bees from hell

I'm still trying to catch the bees in the bee tree.  Every time I close an entrance, they make a new one.  I cemented one up the other night and before I finished, they were coming out above me.  Told the owner she should cut down the tree.  I checked it the other day and the bees attacked me before I got close.  Haven't been there once without getting stung.  Must be my smell.  One got between my sleeve and glove and pumped me full of venom as I couldn't scrap it off.  Yesterday my whole arm was swelled up and red with rash.  Anyway, I pulled my new trap and put back my sac-trap.  As I was carrying it to the car, I felt it very light so didn't expect much.  When I got home I papered between the one box I had put the small swarm in and the set the new catch box in place.  I then pried off the temp cover to place the permanent one on and to my surprise the catch box was completely full of bees.  Not sure if I got the queen yet or not.  Will check in a couple of days for brood.  Tomorrow I'll pull the paper.  Maybe my new queen will be here and I can put her in, if I find one in the hive, I'll kill her for retribution and for producing such mean bees.  Since I've put all the bees in one hive, they seem to be settling down somewhat.  I can even stand next to the hive, something I couldn't do last week.  Much to my dismay, I,m going to gas the tree, I've taken about as many bees out as I can and the two little kids in the house want their back yard back.  Both are allergic to bees.  They were nice enough to let me trap for a month.

Today I checked out a call from a guy who said he had bees in his shrubbery and was afraid for his kids.  I told him I would check it out as they were not far from my bee tree.  My feeling was they were probably bumble bees.  To my surprise (again) they were not.  Went home and looked them up and found them to be Mining Bees (Family Andrenidae), a form of ground dwelling bee that burrows into the soil and lays its eggs, then forms balls of nectar and pollen and pushes them down the hole for the larvae to feed on.  They are harmless so I hope he doesn't kill them.

Seems like it for the day,  Later

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bee trap whoas.

Checked the two swarm hives today, the small one had conciderably less bees and saw no queen nor fresh sign she was there.  Could'nt find the queen in the other either but they have been busy building lots of new comb.  Some with honey and others looked like the queen had been laying.  Will check again in a few days.  They are bringing in lots of pollen so lets hope thing are okay.

Went to check on my bee trap the other day and found they had found another way out.  To date they refuse to use the funnel into the trap.  They must have chewed their way into another tree knot as they were going in an out with ease.  I got some plastic bag and tape and closed it off.  Tried to check on it the next day but they locked the gate.  Today I went back and checked.  They had tunneled under the cover I had made so back to square one.  I had made a catch sac, so I removed the bag and was going to put the sac over the hole but the bees drove me away.  One bad sting right on my bad knuckle.  Cold and wet today, so they were nasty.  I decided to let them settle for a while, and went flower shopping with Janice.  $150 later I went back and placed the bag over the second hole and began removing the old funnel.  I had to lower the base to make the new funnel fit, but no big deal.  Lots of buzzing but no more stings.  They actually were settling down as I worked.  Before I even had the apparatus set up fully, the were using it.  I watched as several went into the traps inner trap.  One found it way through and the others followed.  Hopefully I'll get them yet.  Tomorrow will know for sure.