Saturday, December 10, 2011

chimney bees ventura

Today i got a call from ventura for bees in a chimney. 2 Story home and I am afraid of heights so big fun (NOT) WHen i looked down in the 2 story chimney I saw this:
The comb started about 2 ft from the top of the chimney, so my hands could only reach the top of the comb. I used a rake to "catch" the comb when i was cutting it with my other hand. To my surprise it worked and i got 95% of the comb out, only real small parts fell down. Will pick them up tomorrow evening.

I went to collect the bees today, since it will rain tomorrow. I was only able to take one picture before my camera froze on my with a cryptic "change the battery pack" (but I tried all 4 fully charged batteries, still the same error) [CLICK ON PICTURE FOR ENLARGED VIEW]

I left the nuc box strapped on top of the chimney so the bees could regroup. That certainly worked since almost all bees were inside the box!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

roof bees

I was asked to come to Agoura Hills today for a quote for removing bees. The bees are 22' up in the air.
taken from the neighbors home. [CLICK ON PICTURE FOR ENLARGEMENT]
it's kind of hard to see where they are going. My guess is underneath the top roof. Since there is a liability in place when _I_ openup this roof, I will consult with a general contractor who does have experience/liability insurance for this kind of work. The fact that the home owner (of this according to zillow $1+ Million home) said that he really wanted _me_ to have the bees, and also told me he expected it to be done for nearly nothing, I think it's not gonna work out. We keep hope in these times ;-)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

free bee removal

I get calls every day if I do free bee removal. I try and explain that:
- my car doesn't run on free gas. - my car has agricultural insurance because of what it's used for which costs me double from a personal insurance.
- i have a 2 million $ general liability insurance which isn't free
- there is only a 25% chance that a cutout colony will stay (50% for the first month, 50% after one year)once you put it into a wooden box.
- every wooden box costs material and labor.
So if it was for breeding bees, it's more logical to do a split of my current hives to get more colonies. It's cheap, simple, i don't have to get the bees out of a construction and i know the genetics of the bees upfront. And yet, people on the phone think those stinging insects are worth gold for a beekeeper and we should be thankful to take them away for free. Last week someone told me she was convinced people would pay her money to get a colony out of a abandoned wet vacuum in her garden. The answer is still the same and simple: I can not work for free. Even after hearing my list of why, they still want you to come, do the work, get stung _for free_ Oh well...

given enough bees: modifying a cardboard nuke box

I left them inside this box too long. I assume they wanted to see if they could expand the hive
This cardboard nuke box is lying on it's side here. $8 gone ;-) I just went outside to take this box from my yard. Wearing only half a suit because i wasn't gonna poke inside them. One nailed me on my ankle :-) Risk of the trade of course, and being too lazy to suit up completely. My arm is so wollen today by the stings from yesterdays rescue:
The skin doesn't "rimple" at all!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

simi valley stable bees

Today brought me to simi valley A new home owner bought a nice parcel with a small stable on it. They have a daughter and a pony. But also bees. [CLICK ON THE PICTURES FOR LARGER VERSIONS]
tackroom entrance
Look at the sign above the door. The bees are in the double wall left of the door.
right side of the door hinge, you see the bee entrance
Opening it up.OMG, it's huge! They said the previous owner had a hive removed less than a year ago. These must have been here "a while"
A lot of _mean_ bees. Even with my mean bee suite (tripple layer) they stung me at least 10 times. Even through my leather glove !
After I had taken the comb out and put it my boxes. I filled a super & a medium with this hive
I still don't have a great working bee vac, so i scooped them up and dumped them in the hive outside
kind of busy

Let's hope i have the queen

*UPDATE* Here is picture for tanarill :-)

Isn't he sweet ? That night I went back to checkup on the bees
A lot of the bees still on the outside of the box. I left the top open at a crack. But they didn't go in. It was 52F outside when I took this picture.
Small part of the colony was still in the corner of the old spot where the hive used to be. Will check today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn't Honey

More than 75% of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn't exactly what the bees produce according to this article Still want to buy the cheapest honey available ? ;-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

what could have caused this ?

I am lucky to have some hives in an uninhabited area. So inhabited that the bees can not fly (3-5 miles) to an area where chemicals are used. This is on a 2000 acre cattle farm. The land owner informed me that one of the hives had been "smashed". I didn't know what to make of it, but today i went to investigate.

This is the entrance to area with the bees. This is normally _closed_ so the cows cannot get near to the bees.
Oh_ oh... that doesn't look good....
This is how one of the hives currently looks likes. As you can see i put a strap around the boxes against wind, animals.
This is how it looked
Close up. Since there was nothing left in the frames (all comb gone!!) i have only one suspect: brother or sister of winnie the pooh. Any reader seen this before ?

UPDATE Some closeup photo's off the wood:

what kind of scratches are on that wood ?
top board broken in pieces
are those chew marks ?
Not something a human would do (imho)


Being a former startrek fan and a beekeeper, this picture made me giggle:

ventura shed bees

This one was a bit different. We lifted the complete shed at an angle in order to get to the bees. that way we avoided having to cut the floor. [CLICK ON PICTURES FOR ENLARGED PHOTO's]
shed lifted on one side
Peek underneath. 4 feet long comb built between rafters.
The day after i put the comb into the boxed i went back. The landlord called me and said most bees had returned underneath the shed. So I took a small show box, swiped all the bees in and dumped them in the wooden box with the frames/com. Did that a couple of times. 4 hours when it got dark, all bees were in the wooden box. Here they are locked up and ready for transport.
Remains of the comb on the ceiling/floor of the shed. No more bees!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bees under floor in gym shed

I got a call from a person in Oxnard who had bees in a Gym he made in a shed in the back of his garden.
I moved some gym equipment, pulled up the carpet, Removed some screws and gained access underneath the floor board
Once i opened the board....
In their new home, at the former entrance

I picked them up this night at 8pm when it was dark. I hope they like their new place.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

plastic frames in a hive not accepted

I was called by a great couple in Ojai who had bees in their backyard, which were acting "weird". They wanted me to come out and take a look. When I arrived I suited up only to find out the bees had absconded. Another beekeeper had advised the couple to use plastic foundation. In the photo's you can see for yourself how the bees "accepted" the plastic:
It's clear: they didn't!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Attic bees

Lot's of times people call me with the phrase "I have bees in my attic" Up to now, it always turned out bees were in a double wall or behind the insulation. this time however... [CLICK ON PICTURES FOR LARGE SIZE VIEW]
A nice home in Thousand Oaks. Bees are entering underneath the eave
entrance to attic
furnace in attic
There i a lot of glass wool up here
the way to move is crawl though these wooden structures
You can only stand on the wooden rafters. If I would put my weight on the drywall, I would poke a hole in the ceiling
That is the corner i need to go to
almost there
The colony and the comb
Meanwhile, outside the bees were piling up. Before I went in, i clogged up the entrance. Unfortunately the angle of the outside roof is 45 degrees, the lower roof id probably at 15 degrees. leaving 30 degrees angle for me to crawl in. No matter how I tried, i couldn't get to the edge where the comb is to get it out. I have to rethink my strategy and do it another way. Preferably on a day with less heat...