I meant to post this several days ago and after today’s events I thought I would bring you up to date before I explain today. Last week, my mentor assisted me in a hive inspection from bottom to top. Once again, we did not encounter the queen. I have only seen this elusive lady twice since I installed the package of bees in late May. There have been eggs so I have not worried, too much. At any rate, in the bottom hive box, there were several swarm cells along the bottom. We left only one. No eggs in the bottom box. In the second hive box, there were some eggs, not a lot but some. So, she has been around in the last 3 days. There were 5 swarm cells along the bottom of the frames in this hive box. The ladies seem determined to leave! In the honey super, there were eggs on two frames. Not particularly ideal to have eggs in the honey super, I know but they will be using the honey this year. The bees were lovely. It is quite a sight to see so many bees crawling over one another, doing their jobs, doing their dance or fanning. I just love them.
The next day, my mentor called to say that one of her hives swarmed and she was unable to retrieve them but that she had a second swarm going on. When she called, I was on my way to pick up a birthday cake, for my son, at a bakery. I only had two hours to get to the bakery but I REALLY wanted to help her in any way that I could. So….I called the bakery and told them something came up and that I would be late picking up the birthday cake. The bakery closed at 3, I had 2 hours. When I arrived at my mentor’s home, I walked out back and could see bees swirling around a tree. It was a sight! I arrived at her home in capris, a short-sleeved shirt, and flip-flops. Thankfully, she had a bee suit and boots I could borrow. We got everything together that she could possibly think that we might need to contain the ladies. We watched as the swirling circle became smaller and the pile of bees on the tree limb became larger. After about 30 minutes there were only a few stray bees flying around the tree, the rest were clinging together on the limb. No came the fun part. My mentor climbed the step-ladder while I held up a bucket on a long pole into which she gently brushed the bees off the limb and into the bucket. I quickly lowered the bucket and dumped the bees into a hive she put together just for them. We did this 4 times in all. My arms were tired and I had a difficult time staying coordinated as I maneuvered a bucket of irritated bees in a full bee suit in 85 degree weather. I realized then just how out of shape I am!
It was a great experience. Just another glimpse into the “secret life of bees”!!