Monday, September 28, 2009

Going Out on a Limb

I saw a notice on one of the bee forums from Keith, a guy who was trimming one of his trees and happened to slice through a fairly impressive hive. The hive had been basically bisected; when I got there, one of the sawn limbs retained some comb, but the other chunk retained all the bees. Pretty easy to figure out where the queen was!

Here's what the back end (the sawn-thru portion) of the hive looked like:

And here's the front entrance, the way the bees were originally accessing this tree. You can also see where an offshoot of the hive was sawn through.

To transport I decided to just staple some cardboard onto the two exposed areas, because the saw cuts were pretty smooth. I then plugged the front entrance with some comb I pulled from the cut limb that just had comb, but no more bees. Here's what it looked like when I put it in my truck:

Once I got home, I slid the limb into my John Deere Gator bed, transported it to a temporary stand, and slid it onto that. Then, I just used my hive tool to pop the wax plug. Interestingly, during the 20-mile drive home a number of bees had found their way past the cardboard, and were clustered on the outside of the limb (that protruding part that wasn't sawn through) like a mini-swarm.

I did not charge for this pick-up, but ordinarily here in SoCal it would be about $100--- half for travel time, half for the pick-up. But these were nice folks who were concerned about the bees and trying to do the right thing, and I just didn't feel right charging them.

Next challenge: figuring out how to move these girls out of the limb and into a hive box. Gonna take some creative thinking...

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