Honeybees and Beekeeping

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:40 am

Hi everyone,

I had the opportunity to catch a swarm this afternoon. My daughter was able to take some really cool pictures. For a better view, click on the picture to enlarge it.

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It all happened around 2:00 Sat afternoon. The new neighbor came over to tell me that her backyard had a lot of bees in it. She's new and so is still standoffish about the bees so I figured this was just another easily explained routine phenomenon she hadn't seen before.

I walked over to her house where I found a 3 lbs swarm of bees clustering to the low hanging branches of a shrub and hundreds maybe thousands of bees swirling around. It was impressive.

Turning to the neighbor I assured her this was not normal and ran home and got my veil, some shrub loopers, a bow saw and a back saw. I also grabbed a "swarm trap" I had made from a 5 gallon bucket last year. The bucket lid is modified with number 4 metal cloth in such a way that the bees can enter but not leave.

The first thing I did was spray the cluster with sugar water so the bees wouldn't be able to fly. Then I trimmed the outer fringes of the shrub so I could access the main cluster. I shook any bees that were gathering on the outer leaves into the bucket and quickly put the lid back on.

I was keeping an eye out for the queen. Finding the queen makes things much easier. The bees are attracted to her pheromones so I figured she was at the middle of the main cluster.

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Finally, I was able to position the bucket directly under the main cluster and I sharply shook the branch, dropping most of the bees into the bucket. I quickly snapped the lid on.

Those bees that I had missed with the sugar water quickly regathered on the main branch. I reapplied the sugar water. The branch was too thick to “snap” the remaining bees (including the queen?) so I cut it off using a “back” saw. That’s a saw the cuts on both forward and back pull. It worked perfectly in the small space among the bees. Once I had the branch free I was able to hold it over the bucket and shake it more firmly. Now most of the swarm was in the bucket.

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Although I didn’t see her, the queen was apparently in the bucket as those bees still flying around soon found their way into the bucket. In all it took about 45 mins to capture the swarm. I was lucky the swarm had stopped to consolidate on a low shrub prior to moving on to a permanent nest.

Fortunately, I have some extra square hive equipment and was able to have the swarm in a permanent hive in a couple of hours.

I also took the time to discover rather or not the swarm was from my hives or not. It wasn't.

Now I'm wondering what to do with the hive. I can't keep it as a separate hive because my yard is too small; DK is at his limit with the 3 hives I already have.

First, I can try to find out whose bees they are. The problem with that is no one brands their bees ;) so they could belong to anyone. Suburban beekeepers don’t tend to advertise so although I know that there are several beekeepers around me, I have no idea exactly who or where they are. Given that, I most likely will check out the personality of the colony and if it's non stinging and pleasant to work with I'll add it to my other hives.

As a note, swarms generally do not present any danger to humans but they are impressive and there are a lot of bees in the air. The last thing they do before leaving the hive is fill their stomachs with honey so they are full and sluggish during the swarm. The last thing they want to do is fight anyone. During the entire adventure there was only one sting between my daughter and me and that was my fault.

So what do you do if you see a swirling mass of honey bees descending on your property? Call a beekeeper if you know one, they most like will be very excited. If you don’t know any beekeepers call the non-emergency number of your local police. They will put you in touch with animal control that will have a contact number for the local bee clubs. I know those folks will be excited.
lowfog01
 
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: freetown fred On: Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:08 pm

Well done Lisa! :)
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: pintoplumber On: Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:29 pm

I enjoy reading about your bee keeping adventures. Back in the 90's I belonged to a backyard fruit growers assn. I received a half dozen or so cardboard tubes with some Japanese pollinating bees. I don't know the Latin name for them anymore. The have taken up residence in one end of my woodpile. I drilled some holes in the wood to get them started. By about the end of May, they have laid their eggs, covered the ends of the holes, and they are done for the year. I tried to get a photo, but only caught one. They are smaller than honey bees and don't have stingers. Dennis
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Bee near wood with 2 holes at bottom of wood pile.
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Piece of wood I started with holes.
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Many holes in the wood that the bees have made.
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pintoplumber
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Burnham number series 17
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:19 pm

I think those are Mason Bees in your wood pile. They are one of the 20,000 or so species of native bees in North American. You may want to check out the bee blog - honeybeesuite.com. They have an entire page on Mason bees.

Most people don't realize honey bees are not native to North America. They were first brought here on the Jamestown ships in 1609. The native Americans referred to them as the white man's fly. I read something recently that said the native Americans could time the approach of permanent white settlers by the arrival of the honeybee in an area.

While the honeybees get all the attention, the native bees are the ones really in need of human intervention. In truth they pollinate more of our food plants then honeybees do. The problem is that the benefits of the native bees are not easy to see. With honeybees at the end of the year you harvest the honey, that's a known benefit. The native bees just go on pollinating and do what they do but no one notices they are around so we continue to spray insecticides and destroy their habitat.

Hopefully, the word will get out and we'll see a broader attempt to educate people.

Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: pintoplumber On: Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:46 pm

You got me thinking. We got our bees from Dr Susanne Batra. She was a researcher from a university in Maryland. Osmia cornifrons was the name. Dennis
pintoplumber
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Burnham number series 17
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: McGiever On: Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:51 pm

Bravo Lisa :clap:

Hope you find a good use for those bees you worked so hard for. :)
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:11 am

I looked Osmia cornifrons up on Wikipedia. This little fellow is much more efficient at pollinating than a honeybee.

From Wikipedia,

"Osmia cornifrons, commonly known as the hornfaced bee, has been used commercially for several decades in Japan to pollinate apples, as it is now in the United States. A single hornfaced bee can visit 15 flowers in a minute. This solitary bee nests in reeds, tubes and holes in wood."

Check out this website to see what someone doing to help the native bees.

http://bugguide.net/node/view/262500 There's an embedded link to pictures of their houses. Lisa
lowfog01
 
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: pintoplumber On: Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:51 pm

Thanks for the links. The backyard fruit growers assn. was primarily an apple group. I guess that's why we got bees. I learned how to graft there. I have 7 apple trees and 2 pear trees. I cut down my cherry trees 'cause the birds were getting them all. Dennis
pintoplumber
 
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:18 am

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Our bee group received a swarm call late yesterday. This one was 2 miles from my house so I took it. It was only three feet off the ground but as you can see in the picture was clustered around a nasty, knotty crotch of dead wood and small new growth. It had been that location for 24 hours so it was firmly clustered with the queen deep inside.

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We could tell the queen was one of the last to go in the bucket because the bees kept returning to the cluster.

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We knew we had her when the bees turned their attention to the bucket. By this time we were losing the light so rather than go home and put together a hive for them I called another beekeeper who I knew had the necessary equipment set up and ready to go. He took the swarm. I'm out of room anyway.

The whole thing was an educational opportunity. The schools were out for a teacher workday - which was why I was home in the first place - and we gathered several kids, dog walkers and people walking home from the bus stop. It was fun.

The Master Beekeepers all feel this is going to be a busy year for swarm chasing due to the warm winter. The group got three calls yesterday. It's going to be interesting for sure. Have a great day.
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: johnjoseph On: Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:13 pm

lowfog01 wrote:
IMG_2342.JPG


Our bee group received a swarm call late yesterday. This one was 2 miles from my house so I took it. It was only three feet off the ground but as you can see in the picture was clustered around a nasty, knotty crotch of dead wood and small new growth. It had been that location for 24 hours so it was firmly clustered with the queen deep inside.

IMG_2373.JPG


We could tell the queen was one of the last to go in the bucket because the bees kept returning to the cluster.

IMG_2370.JPG
We knew we had her when the bees turned their attention to the bucket. By this time we were losing the light so rather than go home and put together a hive for them I called another beekeeper who I knew had the necessary equipment set up and ready to go. He took the swarm. I'm out of room anyway.

The whole thing was an educational opportunity. The schools were out for a teacher workday - which was why I was home in the first place - and we gathered several kids, dog walkers and people walking home from the bus stop. It was fun.

The Master Beekeepers all feel this is going to be a busy year for swarm chasing due to the warm winter. The group got three calls yesterday. It's going to be interesting for sure. Have a great day.




You are an amazing person Lisa.... thanks for your knowledge.
johnjoseph
 
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:51 am

johnjoseph wrote:
You are an amazing person Lisa.... thanks for your knowledge.


Thank you for your kind words. I really enjoy learning about bees, applying that knowledge and passing it on to whoever will listen.

We have another great weather day on tap for today. The young men I've been working with are coming over to pick up the first swarm. They have a 5 acre lot that they have their hives on. The colony will be in a much better place.

Have a great day, Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
Coal Size/Type: nut/pea

Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: Lucky On: Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:53 am

Wild hive loss...... I have been watching a wild hive for the last year that made it thru the winter with no apparent issues. Last week the field adjacent to the hive was sprayed in prep for soybeans.
Keep in mind I look at this hive everyday and check its activity when I go to the back of our farm. I begin to notice the activity level slowed about three days after spraying and as of yesterday appears to have stopped all together. I hope it was not a result of the spraying but it sure seems odd that the death of the hive and spraying seem to line up.
I feel as if I should report this to someone but not sure who to speak with about it. I am thinking the extension agent might be a place to start. Any suggestions?
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: freetown fred On: Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:32 am

I'd suspect they spray every year??????????????
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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:39 am

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Re: Honeybees and Beekeeping

PostBy: lowfog01 On: Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:27 pm

Lucky wrote:Wild hive loss...... I have been watching a wild hive for the last year that made it thru the winter with no apparent issues. Last week the field adjacent to the hive was sprayed in prep for soybeans.
Keep in mind I look at this hive everyday and check its activity when I go to the back of our farm. I begin to notice the activity level slowed about three days after spraying and as of yesterday appears to have stopped all together. I hope it was not a result of the spraying but it sure seems odd that the death of the hive and spraying seem to line up.
I feel as if I should report this to someone but not sure who to speak with about it. I am thinking the extension agent might be a place to start. Any suggestions?


You could try the State Apiarist. That's the fancy name for a Beekeeper. They will be associated with the state department of agriculture. The state university will also have a bee lab in the Entomology department who maybe monitoring bee kills. The state or local bee club may be able to direct you further. Good luck, Lisa
lowfog01
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Mark II & Mark I
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