Saturday, August 6, 2011

"Speaker Bees" are in the hive............twice!

After about 2 hours of removing bees and honey comb from the speaker box, we had the bees in their new hive.  As we cut out and removed comb, we looked at each removed section in hopes of finding the queen.  The only way to be sure you have the queen is to find her, and make sure she is put in the hive.  With the amount of bees in this colony, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.  We never did find her, but we were confident we had her, as we estimate we managed to hive about 90% of this colony.

The photo below is what the speaker box looked like when we removed the back.  Honey comb from top to bottom, neatly drawn out row by row.

Another shot of the honey comb in the speaker box.  Pretty impressive work!

Below is a photo of the back of the box that was removed.  You can see the various sections of brace comb in the speaker box back panel.  Lot's of bees too!

After about 2 long, hot, sweaty hours, we had managed to secure some of the comb with capped brood into empty frames, and placed them into the new hive box.  We shook, scooped and placed as many bees as we could corral into the hive box, put on the top, and called it a day.  Now the challenge was to see if we did indeed have the queen, and if this colony would accept their new home. 

We went back to check on the newly hived bees this evening, and when we drove up to the hives, there was a good sized swarm of bees hanging about 3 feet off of the ground on a tree limb near the hive.  Uh Oh...........they swarmed!  The only thing that makes sense to us is the fact that we didn't have the queen in the hive after all.  She must have been hanging out on the hive stand, or was in the grass near the hive stand, or under the hive stand in the mulch.  Either way..............seeing the swarm meant that in the middle of that swarm of bees was a queen!  We went back home, grabbed another bottom board and hive body, returned to the bee yard, and captured the swarm.  We cut the tree limb, and shook all the swarming bees into a hive box.  After the bulk of the swarm was in the hive box, the rest of the bees smelled the queen pheromone scent, and they just walked right in the front door!  We waited a little while until all the bees from this swarm had entered the box, and we placed the inner cover and lid on the hive box.  I gently placed the hive on the hive stand, and we returned home.  We hope they will stay in the hive, and become a good, productive colony.  Time will tell if they like their new home and stay.  If not, we will have had a good learning experience........and the enjoyment of hiving our first feral colony.

We will check on these bees again in the morning, and provide an update on how they are doing.  It's been a long, hot day with the bees.........if they leave, at least we tried our best!

Musical Bees

While perusing Craigslist one day last week, we ran across an interesting posting that stated "Bees in a speaker in a barn", and they wanted someone to come rescue them instead of exterminating them.  This was too interesting not to call and check on!  After an email exchange, I called the phone number, and sure enough, the lady said she had a colony of bees in a outbuilding, and they were living in an old home stereo speaker box.  They were located just off of Route #4, about 15 minutes from home.  So, off I go with bee suit in hand, to see for myself.  Upon arrival, they showed me the building, and I could see a flurry of bee activity going in and out the door.  This was a good colony, and they were working hard for the queen!

I checked out the situation, and decided I would return around dusk, when the foragers had returned to the hive, and remove the colony of bees.  I fabricated a cardboard box to transport them, returned about 8:30 p.m., and gently lifted this HEAVY speaker and bee colony and carried them out of the barn.  I placed them in the box I whipped up, and transported them to our bee yard.  Once there, I placed them on the hive stand, gave them a pint of sugar syrup feed, and left them for the night. 

Here is the transportation box:

I placed a jar feeder over the ventilation screen on top of the box.  It was going to be warm in that box, until I could release them the next day, so I wanted them to have a drink!

I retrieved the bees on Wednesday, August 3rd, and we removed the speaker from the box on Thusday, August 4th.  This will be an easy date to it was Angie's Birthday!  One of her bees, of course!  :-)

A shot taken a few minutes after I removed the speaker from the cardboard box.  LOT'S of bee activity!

  They were using several holes on the speaker cone for a hive entrance, as well as a round hole on the side of the box.

Angie is pulling a loose flap of fabric from the speaker cone, to have a better look inside.  We hoped to see how the comb is built inside the box, but there are just too many bees in there!

 A closer shot at the activity on the speaker cone.  All in all, this colony was rather well behaved, considering all the have went thru with the relocation process.  We'll see what sort of mood they are in on Saturday.  That's when we open the speaker box, and remove the colony and place them in a hive body.  That should be interesting!

More photo's to come, documenting the removal of the comb and bees from the speaker box, and getting them established in a normal hive body.  This could be fun!