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!