3/27/10

Your Bee Rescue Hotline at work: Torrance


Vicky at the Torrance YMCA called the Bee Rescue Hotline when she spotted a swarm in one of their trees. Backwards Beekeeper Dennis headed over there, and he tells the story on his blog:

The swarm was in an acacia tree but 8 ft up? More like 8 ft over my head. But this has been one of Kirkobeeo's swarm warnings. They are never that close and never that easy. People just want them gone and see them in the most favorable light. On the good side the Y had ladders...

We were just able to squeeze the ladder onto the space without it toppling over with my favorite beekeeper aboard. I forgot to get his name but one of the Y-guys was stellar. They are all dressed in polo shirts and shorts. Once I offered my spare hat and veil, the magic armor, he stayed holding the ladder ready to assist long after his first sting. He did very well and I appreciated it immensely...

One point: I am a certified senior citizen and over 6 ft tall. Anyone who has been 6 ft since jr high knows the problem. Your heaviest body part is your head and you have a very sensitive center of balance. As a kid you fall often, ladders are not your natural millieu. Add a knee that needs replacement and disaster can always rear its ugly head.

Relax, not disaster this day but movement up and down and on the ladder was severely restricted. Too bad there was no KirkoBeeo, house painter and ladder expert available. The Y had to get along with Old Bad Knees.

After the ladders were swapped out I make another journey up and sprayed the bees. The ladder was too tall to fit directly under the bees swarm and the rungs were too close together to have room for the nuc. I was limited to shoving the nuc up under the hive and hoping they would crawl in (Where was that d.... swarm lure when I needed it?)...

Next move, I hung onto a branch, cut out one smaller one, placed the nuc under the swarm and tried to use the bee brush. Not very effective and the bees started to get annoyed. One point here, the veil works only if it is not touching skin. I kept readjusting the hat but I was jammed up in the tree branches and got at least three hits around my fore head. Tomorrow I may look like I belong to some tribe on Survivor with a row of little red dots peppered across my forehead above the eyebrows. Just another form of high-style in the Beek world.

I finally dropped my brush and just used my hand to gently move the bees into the nuc. Well I thought I was gentle, apparently the bees had other ideas, they got more annoyed and more of them. My helper left the area and I did not blame him. I stayed up as long as I could keep the nuc balanced with one hand and moving bees with the other...

When I got home I placed the nuc on my empty hive with the swarm lure and opened the bee hole on the front of the nuc. I went in for dinner and a big martini.... all you can do is try. I will take a picture in the morning and see who is there...

All You Can Do Is Try
(The Buzz In The Dale)

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