Expanding with the season

bee hives at charlie's house

I could tell that the hive on the left got the queen after I split the hive. The hive on the right did not have a queen, so it will lag behind its sister by about one month.

It’s been busy in the bee yards. I began the season by assisting in a bee equipment auction. On the way home, I inspected, and then split, a hive. This means that I had one hive upon arrival, then after I looked inside of it, I saw so many bees that I decided to split, or divide, the colony into two separate boxes. Hive count: 2

honey bees, swarm

Once most of the bees were moved, I saw the board had white wax  flakes on it (the rightmost photo), which means the bees wanted to make a home there.

I also took three swarm calls for myself. This is my first year of not being administrator of a swarm call list and that has been wonderful for me. The most recent iteration of the swarm call list is much much easier to deal with now that smart phones with cameras are widespread. Hive count: 5

bee tree, storm damage

Once the skies dried up and we had some daylight, I was able to clearly see how much length I was dealing with.

There was also a bee tree that came down during a rainy period. Removing the bees and their comb wasn’t ideal with the tough weather and other constraints, so I combined the bees from the tree with a swarm. Like the one above, this swarm began to build comb on the leaves of the skinny little tree. Hive count: 5 (still)

#bees, swarm

This swarm of bees came to rest in a very young tree in a new, resource-deprived development.

I’ve melted almost half of the comb from the tree with my solar melter:

beeswax, solar melter

Warm, sunny days are good for bees and for processing beeswax

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122 total swarm calls. 23 were colonies of honey bees. 11 were saved.

On March 8, 2017, I got my first swarm call of the year. After looking at my records, that is about 1 1/2 months earlier than past years.

I titled this blog post to give you an idea of 2016. Those numbers are just from me. I know that many other beekeepers get many more swarm calls. A few of us get the same call from the same desperate property owner trying to work the odds, but my feeling is that those calls are less than 5% of the total.

If you are interested in having honey bees removed, here are some things to know before you call:

  • are they honey bees? do you have a photo?
  • who owns the property where they bees need removing?
  • are you prepared for destruction of property?

If you are interested in performing the removals, drop me a line with this information

  • area or radius where you are willing to work
  • type of work — cut out, swarm, trees (what height is your limit?)

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