Archive for the ‘removal’ Category

Wild City Hive 3

I think you know what I’d say when my beekeeper asks, “Want to go with me and get some bees in a cherry picker?” That’s what we did early this morning on Seguin’s square downtown, just behind the courthouse. There was a wild hive that had formed on a pecan branch high enough not to bother anyone but not so high that officials didn’t worry they MIGHT bother someone. So…off we went on another beeventure. Don’t forget, Mark used to work for the City of Seguin so he wanted to help his friends out and besides, getting to ride the cherry picker must be fun! Sadly I did not get to go. Maybe one day. I’ve never been in one! I’ll put it on my bucket list.

Mark in the cherry picker 3

Up he went, high into the pecan limbs…

Mark up high at hive 4

He’s so awesome. I asked him to snap a couple of shots of the honeycomb up close for me IF he could manage it. I mean, I know he’s up there working and all…but I knew it’d make a great shot! lol Here he is, probably trying to snap a shot, balance the box, stay stable and not make the bees upset. And I want a shot. 🙂

Mark up high at hive 5

After cutting about four sheets of comb off the tree and setting them into the box, Mark brushed the remaining bees off the limb and came back down to Earth. He and Val worked great together and I thank Val for getting my beekeeper safely up and down.

Mark and Val unload the bees

The bees were then taken to our Deadman Creek bee yard and we’ll see how they do in their new home. They were quite gentle and Mark said he hated cutting them down but the first good rain would have likely killed them anyway since their home was totally unprotected from the elements. How odd of them to build out in the open like that.

If you would like to see the full set of photos of our beeventure, go to Flickr and see some of the shots I snapped. We loved our little beeventure before we both got busy with our other work.

I shall leave you with this – left to their own engineering, the bees made this perfect honeycomb with the perfect brood cluster in the center and then the cells of pollen and honey and edged with store, capped honey for later. They are so amazing!

Hive on the ground 3

We’re off to bed now (I know, it’s so early for us!) so that we can get up before dawn to get me down to the Pearl Farmers Market to set up shop. We’re expecting a crazy busy day (hoping, hoping, hoping) and luckily I have Lan and Cathy with me. Mark has a rather full bee class here in Seguin so we’re split up again. boooo…but there’s always the evening to regroup! Goodnight, y’all. xo


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I was surprised to get a call for removing a swarm of bees at a local nursing home this week. I’m not sure why a colony would swarm during the hottest, driest part of the summer, but there they were. Swarming is usually nature’s way of making additional bee colonies. In fact, sometimes you hear old-time beekeepers call it “artificial swarming” when they divide their hives. This swarm was about 15 feet from the ground. From the bed of the truck I stood on a chair. With one hand I reached up to pull the branch down to the hive box that I held up in my other hand, then with one hard shake of the limb the bees fell straight into the box. I took them right away to the Mill Creek bee yard and fed them. They seemed happy when I left but I’ll go back and check on them next week.

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Spring Swarms

Belmont Swarm

This past weekend we had two swarm calls at two different locations though they were somewhat near each other. One in Gonzales County at the Pizza Yard (though fortunately NOT from our actual yard hives) and one in the Belmont area, which is before you get to the town of Gonzales. The above picture is an example of what a swarm might look like out in nature. Below is an example of when the swarm finds a home not in nature, but rather in someone’s garage! Roger, the homeowner, told us he’d seen bees all day (he just didn’t know they were scouting a home) and early evening, he noticed a LOT of bees suddenly swoosh into his garage and then land on the paneling to the left of where Mark is in the picture. Then, they went under the cabinet. Good thing he got us there that evening because Mark said that it was the best time to have gotten them out. By the next day, they would have already started a home there and that means they would have been defending more. That would have made the job more difficult. Thanks, Roger, for being such a supportive and great bee yard landowner!

Swarm in Roger's garage

Below is an example of a swarm out in nature, which is what we got Saturday morning in the Belmont area. We met Bud out on his property (our first time meeting and he was such a nice person!) and he showed us the swarm he’d spotted.

Old home & swarm location next to it

In the picture, the dead tree on the left actually was the former home of the swarm. I know this because as Mark gathered the swarm into the box, I snapped pictures of the tree because I loved the way it looked. Through my lens, I could see bees up high and I wondered why they were way up there. So I watched. And I was patient. And after making a circle of the tree, I found their entrance! It was so cool!

Old home of bees

I love accompanying Mark out on his beeventures because I am constantly learning new things each time. And this time, we met a new friend AND I got to see feral hogs to boot. There were four in the cage (picture on Facebook) and what I didn’t capture in the shots were the 10+ hoglets outside the cage. Yes, I know the official name is “piglets” but I like hoglets. 🙂

You can view all the swarm pictures in the new Flickr Swarms 2011 Album I created. Enjoy!

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Taking Care of the Hive

Funny activity

Here Mark pointed out some activity we have never captured on camera or video before now. We watched as some of the bees set about checking a baby bee for mites – like nurse bees whose job is to take care of all the brood. Looks like they found some on this one and was taking care of it. By that, Mark explained to me that they will get rid of the bee so that the mites will also be removed. So smart those bees!

Bees tending to a bee in development

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Mark begins sucking the bees out

A couple of days ago, Mark went to help out a family in town because they had a bee colony in their garage wall. At first, I thought it was just a long cluster of bees gathered together. But once he vacuumed some of them into the bucket, we saw the honeycomb and it was a long one! Seems the bees have been there longer than we were told initially. It was interesting because Mark pointed out to me the differences in the comb, almost like rings on a tree trunk. There were three different looking comb areas, probably representing the three years the owners said the bees were there. Anyway, it was an interesting process and a bit of drama with them being upset at us (the bees, that is) so that was likely the last bee colony removal favor Mark performs. 🙂 We’re going to stick with swarm collecting I think.

Bee colony

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