Sunday, April 30, 2023

About The Bees

I started this post almost 10 days ago and that was a long, long time ago.  I'm not even sure I can remember everything so I can get caught back up.  Sigh...

* * * * *

Okay, so we had to move Stella's bees.  I had been told they needed to be moved, but my hope had been to wait and catch a spring swarm from the hive so I could keep some of her bees around here before I had to move the hive to a site at least three miles away.  

I've always been under the impression you could move a hive three feet...or more than three miles because of the way they map the area and locate to their hive.  You can move them to a closer location, like down here, but you'd have to move them away from the area...and then move them back.  No one really wants to do that, especially not the bees.

Turns out you can move them within that range - in this case around 300 yards - but you need to do some tricky work.  You wait until evening, when the bees have all returned to the hive, and move them to their new location, but face the hive in a different direction.  We reoriented them from facing east to facing south.  

The next morning, just before you open the "front door", you pile up a bunch of brush across the opening so that they have to crawl their way out, and this is their second clue that things have changed and they need to reorient themselves.

After everyone has headed off to work, you can remove some the branches and then the rest a bit later. You also need to put a catch hive back at the previous location so that any stragglers or lost bees have a place to go and then at the end of the first day you carry them all back down to the new location, give them a stern lecture and hope they figure things out...but you repeat the catch hive at least one more day.

I think I covered the move on Instagram either in pictures or videos.  The first night after the move I brought down a pretty significant amount of bees.  The second night there were about half as many, but things the third day were starting to quiet down and I'm hopeful we didn't lose too many field working bees. It was extremely stressful and I felt very bad for the bees.  

A week after the initial move, the hive swarmed.  This is normal spring behavior.  It would have been better if they'd have been able to swarm into their normal small tree at Stella's where it would have been easy to pick them up and start a second hive, but alas, they swarmed into the top of Salt's pine tree in the yard where there was no way to get them and they eventually moved off.  

I saw them leave and followed them back to a smaller tree at the big pond and had hopes of picking them up out there, but they didn't stay there long and I didn't see where they ended up. I'm hoping they are tucked safely into a nice old hollow tree nearby and will keep in touch.  In the meantime, the remaining bees are happily working along and have resumed their normal calm demeanor.  They may make one more split before spring is over.  I hope I'll be able to catch them if they do.

Click to biggify

One way to tell if they are happy and things are working properly is if you see bees flying in with pollen to feed baby bees.  The bees flying in with yellow and orange dots on their legs are carrying pollen.  Watching pollen enter the hive was one of Stella's favorite jobs.  I'm enjoying having them outside my door now...but it was more fun to get the reports from Stella.

What follows is a random dump of pictures and IG posts.  I doubt they are in any sort of order, but I need to get this posted and move on.  I have a list of things to try to catch up on the blog including some Lamb Camp pictures, a new puzzle and a Frankie report.  How does everything get so far away from me?!?

This is the "cluster" of the first lost bees pick up - see below...I think.

Wrapping and strapping.  This all went very smoothly.

The pick up to load into the back of the truck.

Oh, and since there are no longer two Too Busy Bees, we are going to call ourselves The B (Bee) Team.


Laura L. said...

Thanks for the explanation about the brush outside the hive. I had wondered about it.

Anchor Cottage said...

Unbelievable! You are amazing! Good luck with your bees.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all you have done (and continue to do) for them.

Go, B Team!!! :-)

-- ineedorange

Far Side of Fifty said...

You are most certainly an A team for the Bees! :)


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