Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bee Update and Photo's

OK. Taximom has been so good about writing up our saga I'm just gonna let her tell it...besides, she always flatters me shamelessly so it's good for my self esteem.

Some of you have inquired about the bees, curious to know how these guys have taken their world being changed.
Mom of all Trades and I left them alone for a while to see if they would settle into their new home. The weather forecast called for cold and rain, too. They did not. Arrghh!!! So we were back to square one with moving them, and also face losing what brood combs there were.

Sunday (March 15) afternoon we donned our suits and headed back to the pasture armed with our handy dandy handmade tools. We found lots of buzzing and quite a number of bees in the air . . . a good sign . . . they were still here. Unfortunately the majority were content with the old hive and had refused to move down into the new one. Carefully we unwrapped the hives . . . we had removed the top for the new hive and set the old one on top, and wrapped it in a garbage bag because of several days of rain were forecast . . . many were crowded around the original opening to the old hive.

The decision was made to tip over the old hive and get a better look. After determining that most had migrated back to the old hive, Mom of all Trades and I discussed our options and execution for each. One suggestion in the book calls for removing the bottom to the new hive and setting it on top of the old. The bang on the old hive to get the bees to move up. We did this for several minutes, but again we were doing this in the late afternoon and were impatient. Now, you might think that banging on the hive might cause the bees to become angry and anxious to stop the perpetrator. Not in the least. They will crawl to the top of the hive. With the old hive upside down (remember the bottom had been sliced off when the tree was felled), the theory is they would just crawl out of the old and into the new.

Knowing that this could take an hour or two, and Mom of All Trades and I were anxious to get them moved, so after about 10 minutes of banging and no bees leaving, we decided to get more aggressive. We rolled a large stump over next to the new hive, picked up the old hive with the opening down, picked up the old hive and slammed it onto the stump. WHUMP!!

Perfect! Quite a number of bees fell into the new hive - exactly what we wanted! After several WHUMPS we were able to remove the majority of the hive. About a quarter of them were on the ground outside the new hive. Bugger!!

We set the old hive down cut side up and attended to the bees on the ground. Scooping them up with wings from some bird that MoaT had, (sorry MoaT I can't remember what kind of bird), brushed them off into the new hive. Funny bees. They don't mind being WHUMPED, but being scooped up and gently dropped they did not. About half would fly around. Some of which were not happy and looking for a fight. Some tried stinging the wing. After scooping most of those on the ground we turned our attention to those left in the old hive.

We picked up the old hive and set it on its side on top of the stump. Using the wings we brushed the remaining bees out. Stubborn bees! About half of those took to the air as well. MoaT and I did pretty well with not getting freaked out over bees climbing over us. Pretty much because we couldn't see the ones on ourselves, and felt sorry for the other who had bees on them. Ignorance is bliss!!

We then took the old hive and using the log splitter split it into four pieces. This would ensure that the bees would not migrate to their old home, hopefully making their new digs look a little more attractive.

Monday, late morning (March 16) . . . I ambled down to look at the bees. A number were flying around and a few were going in and out of the hive. RATS!! A large number were all together in section of cinderblock that the hive sits on. Most likely the queen is in that mass and did not make it into the hive when MoaT and I moved the bees yesterday.

Looks like Part III entails moving the stragglers into the hive, and more research for MoaT and Taximom, as we try to figure out how to get them to accept their new home.

Photo's courtesy of K...who loving took 432 of them. All of my butt. I edited, and I am not ashamed.


Beekeeping is not a particularly fashionable thing, but I'll take looking ugly over looking like lunch to the bees.

Taximom, however, is cute as a button in her get up...


K needs to work on her focusing abilities..oh yeah, that would mean I'd have to let her practice...never mind.


Our hive is called an 8 frame medium. We chose these because we were pretty sure Taxidad and Hubster wouldn't be caught dead near the bees. And we don't like lifting heavy boxes full of honey, so we'll lift only sorta heavy boxes of honey ourselves.


There's our girls! Amazing isn't it? Totally freaked us out to reach in there and start pulling stuff out.



To be continued.....how's that for a cliff hanger? I promise, I'm writing it up now, but I'll use Blogger's super-duper auto-poster majic to bring it to you in bite sized bits. :O)

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