Saturday, 4 August 2012

Beemergency Team to the Rescue!

In the past week or so we have performed two emergency wild colony extractions! The first call came when Erin and I were at the beach. We were just hanging out when Kwao came down and told us to suit up quick! Kwao's friend, Lloydie, had a beehive hanging precariously above a path he frequently walks. We needed to remove it so it wouldn't fall on someone. So we quickly suited up, picked up Lloydie, and headed to the hive!

The hive was in a duck ant's nest hanging over a path. We took it town and got to work. This hive had a surprising amount of honey-a nice treat! We tied all the brood comb in and got to work finding the queen. This queen took forever to find. It is hard to find her in termite's nests because there are so many crevices she can hide in. Kwao actually spotted her twice but she ran away and hid. Luckily, the third time was the charm! We got her in the queen cage and put her into the box. Once the rest of the bees sensed where she was, they all started marching into the box. A couple days ago we moved the hive down to the bee yard at the house and they seem to be doing well :)

Precarious hive
Going in the hive!

We performed our next beemergency rescue yesterday. We stumbled upon this hive that seriously needed some help! Kwao, Joshua, and I were at the hardware store buying some more supplies when the store owner told Kwao about a hive he had heard about but didn't have time to go get. He told us where to find it and said we we're welcome to it. The hive was in a tree stump in a bulldozed plot of land right off the road near Annotto Bay. We covered the exposed comb with leaves so they wouldn't melt and left to pick up Erin and Desmond. These poor bees had been the victims of development. A bulldozer had knocked down the stump they lived, destroying their home and leaving them out in the sun to bake. The comb was lying on the ground and there were dead bees everywhere. It was really sad. All we could do is give them a new home in a safe place and wait and see.

The shaded bees

This queen also took forever to find. Although it is nerve wracking when you can't find her for a while, the better a queen can hide from you, the stronger she probably is. And a strong queen is great for a hive so it is a bit of a give and take. Anyway, this queen took us a long time but I FOUND HER! It was my first queen spotting and it was exhilarating. She is beautiful.

The drones we saw were bigger than half an inch long and they were super fat. We didn't know how big the queen was going to be or how dark since these bees were bigger and darker than normal but she was very normal. Some of the drones were even bigger than her!
The queen was hiding among all these bees!
The queen in her cage. All the bees are already surrouding her so you can't even see her big butt!

After we got the queen, we left to give them some time to get into the box. A guy who had stopped to watch what we were doing ended up showing us another hive we can take down. It is an exposed hive and we expect to get it in the next few days--assuming a hurricane doesn't stop us!

After looking at that hive we went home for dinner and then went back out to pick our bees up. Usually we let the hive stay where the old hive was for a week or more so the bees get used to their new home. However, because this one was right next to the road and the bees had already been traumatized we decided to take them home right away so no one would steal them. The drive home went well. The bees got out of the hive and into the bag but luckily we used three bags so no problem! Now the bees are chillin in the bee yard and seem happy. We'll let the queen out in a few days and I hope they'll stick around.

Note: The bulldozed hive was the first hive we have taken out where no one got stung. Not once. Not even Kwao. It was amazing. The bees were so calm, I hope because they realized we were trying to help them.
Erin and Kwao with the hive

Me with the hive

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