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Posts Tagged ‘keeping bees’

Readers of this blog will know that OBE stands for Overcome By Events.   It is a term used when what you planned to do did not happen because the Great Bird of the Galaxy decided to change your plans.

Just two days ago, Jim was looking at his List of Planned Jobs for the next few weeks.  It contain such varied items as “Mend chair,” “Fix shed door” (an entry occasioned by the gnawing through the door achieved by a squirrel who wanted to move up in the world), and “Mow” (a constant entry on the list, actually).  I am not sure why mowing gets put on the list as it is a perpetual event around here.   You can do it, cross it off, and put it right back on, all summer long.

That was the primary job on his agenda for this week.  The grass has gotten happy what with all the precipitation and the slow warming trend.

One of the items on the list was “hive body”, which was a shorthand reference to cleaning out a hive body and preparing it with new frames and wax foundation.   We are anticipating that our bees might want to swarm this year, and it is always better if you are ready for the event when it happens.

At any rate, Jim was contemplating his list (which I am not allowed to add things to) and looked at me and said, “I don’t think I need to worry about preparing the hive body for a few weeks.  It has been so cold I don’t think the bees are going to swarm any time soon.”  I did not disagree with him.

Yesterday I was taking Ruby for her morning excursion about the yard.  I went back behind the vegetable garden to see how the hazelnuts were faring and whether any birds were making nests in the sumac grove,  and I observed that the service berry bush looked sort of odd.   Closer inspection revealed this:

DSCF6622

Yes indeed, that is a swarm of bees.   Not our bees, who are still very much at home in their cozy hive, but a group from one of the wild hives that exist “out there” in the woods.  It does seem odd that the wild bees tend to bring their swarms to our property.  Or I guess it would seem odd if we didn’t assiduously avoid sprays and other poisons and encourage all kinds of pollen producing plants.

I cut the dog walking short and hustled into the house, interrupting the morning coffee ritual by saying to my mate, “Guess what we have?”

He had no earthly idea, so I illuminated him.  “We have a swarm of bees!”

“Oh?,” he replied.  “Where is it?”

“Out behind the vegetable garden on the service berry bush.”

He put some shoes on and we went out and investigated the situation.   Well, OF COURSE there was no hive body ready, since we just agreed the day before that we didn’t need to rush to spend the time, energy and money on that just yet.

Ha ha.

Off he went to the farm supply store to acquire a hive body, frames, foundation and a hive floor.   At least we had a hive lid on hand.   And an extra super, which was fully equipped with frames.

I retired to the massage room to give a massage, and he put the super frames into the new hive body, and then introduced the swarm to their new digs.  While they sort of settled in, he went into the shop and installed the foundation in the new frames.   Right about the time I finished up with my client, he was ready to install the large frames in the hive body.

This is a shot of the process of one of the super frames being divested of the bees clinging to it after the large frame was slipped into the hive body.

DSCF6627The bees were pretty excited about the process, but since they were in swarm mode they were very mellow and I was able to get up fairly close to the operation.

After the proper frames were put into the hive body, Jim put the super frames back into the super and put that on top of the hive body to give the new hive plenty of space.

Now, here is a little tidbit that amazed me rather a lot.   Those bees had only been in the new hive for less than an hour when we took the lid off.  The following picture is of the underside of the hive lid.

DSCF6624They had already created that much beeswax, in less than an hour.   I am not sure why they decided to put it on the hive lid…

At any rate, when you hear the phrase “Busy as a bee” you can think about that clump of beeswax and how much work went into forming it.

Today the new hive seems to be quite happy and adjusted.  They have already found the pond and are busy bringing nectar and pollen back to their new digs.

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