Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Successful Catch

A friend called yesterday and says "Come quick, Jeremiah, there's a swarm of honeybees up here!!" So, I packed my bee suit, with hat, veil, white coveralls, gloves and all, and headed for the little rascals.

It was pretty fun! Of course, it's always fun catching bees...if you like bees, that is. I first tried the pole with trash bag tied to the end of it, that didn't work too well. Then I tried a pole with a bushel basket tied to the end of it...with the help of a water hose to wet the bees down before I shook them into the basket. It worked! I put the end of the pole with the basket attached to the end of it up against the lower part of the limb where the bees were and give it a shake, and the bees all plopped right into the basket, and so, I brought them down and dumped them into their new home, as you can see here...

When evening came and the daylight was fading fast I went back to retrieve my catch. I attached short pieces of 1x2 boards with screws in them to the hive body and bottom board so that the hive wouldn't be shifting around while in transit, and also a strip of 1/4" piece of 2/4 ripped along the edge to create the closure for the entrance, so the bees wouldn't come out. When I arrived, I placed the hive with the bees in it on the cinder blocks that I laid down for the hive to sit on - two blocks wide and two blocks high, a total of four blocks, which will give them sufficient height from the ground to keep weeds from growing to quickly in front of the entrance, and, to keep field mice from climbing too easily into the entrance.

In the morning, I should find them peacefully foraging for nectar sources. Although, I will probably have to feed them some sugar syrup mixed 1 to 1 mixture (one part sugar to one part water), and this will take approximately eight to twelve weeks of feeding, which will be well into the autumn close to winter. The swarm wasn't very big, not much more than a pound of bees at most, if that much. I don't know if my efforts to save them will help them survive through the winter or not...but I thought the least I could do would be try. A lot of fun nonetheless.

Honeybees are a valuable little critter. They pollinate literally tens of thousands, perhaps even millions of wildflowers, fruits, nuts and berries...just one hive. I think it has been estimated that ... if you take away the honeybees, you lose nearly a third to 2/3s of all crop production. I think it goes something like this...take nine apples, throw away 6 of them, and their is all you would have left if it weren't for honeybees.

The bees are disappearing, everywhere! There is a mysterious disorder or disease that scientists, and apiculturists (bees scientists) are looking for the answer to...they call it C.C.D (Colony Collapse Disorder). The bees just disappear all of a sudden, with no signs of foul-brood, no signs of mites after treating, and no signs of starvation, and the bees don't collect in the bottoms of the hives...they just completely vanish with not a single bee left in the hive.

Here are some other photos of bees working knapweed that I had taken a couple days before...

God bless!

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