Friday, June 10, 2011

Home is Wherever You Find It

The adaptability of bees never ceases to amaze me. A recent swarm had gathered on a brick planter, and evidently someone swept it off--- because when I showed up, there was an abandoned broom on the sidewalk, and a load of bees here...

I figured the swarm was doomed at that point, so I didn't do a capture. that's my friend John's trailer, and he reported later that they actually started building comb inside the wheel chocks!

Meanwhile, I got a call from Kate out in Thousand Oaks about a hive in a fence. She didn't want to kill the hive, and it sounded like a fairly straightforward extraction (no ladder involved!), so I took my new bee-vac and decided to give it a try (I just bought one; prior to this I used a homemade version--- plans on Beesource.

I took a wrecking bar and pried a few fence boards off the middle 2x4 rail, and here's what I found:

Here's a closer look...

The new bee-vac worked quite well, although I think next time I'll damp down the suction a bit more--- I clobbered a fair number of bees, unfortunately. Still, I was able to rubber band the comb into medium frames, and I installed the crew in a medium with no entrance reducer for the time being, so they can all find their way in.

Noteworthy about this hive: lots of brood, capped and otherwise. But very little food stores, and literally no capped honey in spite of the huge flow going on right now. Leads me to believe this hive is a reasonably recent (within 21 days) swarm who took up residence in the fence and has literally been living hand-to-mouth, without enough resources to build up any reserves yet. Tomorrow I'll probably steal a frame or two of honey from one of my strong hives to help this one along.

All in all a fairly easy extraction, took about an hour total, so I only charged the show-up rate of $50. I do swarm captures at no cost, but I charge for hive extractions primarily because only 50% (at best) actually stay where I relocate them, and those that do stay--- well, it's not a sure thing that I was able to get the queen, while with swarm captures I nearly always get her.

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