6/2/10

The birdhouse bees


Backwards Beekeeper Roxana writes:

Just over a week ago fellow Backwards Beekeeper member Sandy mentioned that I could have the bees that were in a birdhouse at her home. The caveat was we needed to extract them from the birdhouse. Since the swarm that had graced our compost bin the week before had left, we were prepared and very willing to do whatever was needed.

As an initiate I asked the knowledgeable and heartfelt John Lyons to help out with the task. John, his son Arjuna equipped in his bee suit, Greg and I descended on Sandy's home at 9am. We were greeted by her gracious husband Michael who offered to help out.


The little wooden birdhouse sat on top of an air conditioning unit toward the back side of Sandy and Michael's home. After surveying the scene the birdhouse was carried to a more manageable location. John then carefully began removing each of the boards that made up the roof and walls of the birdhouse.


Once half the boards had been removed we all stood back in awe as we observed how the bees had organized their combs like cards on rolodex. We cut out the more vital portions of the combs and placed them onto the frames, which we had already prepared with starter strips.

We then placed the frames into the bees' new temporary home, a nuc box. While John worked on cutting and attaching the comb Michael and I brushed the bees into the nuc box. In the meantime Arjuna had discovered the honey stores and was contenting himself with the liquid gold elixir.



When all the frames were filled with comb we placed the top onto the nuc box. All the stray bees slowly marched into the box following the scent of their queen. Once the bees had made there way into the box, we placed it on the ac unit where the birdhouse was originally located so that the field bees could return to their home. At twilight we returned to pick up the nuc box and take it to the bees' new home.


Since then we have moved the frames into the periwinkle colored box where the rockin' birdhouse bees now dwell. I placed a rock with holes into a terra cotta pot saucer which I add water to each day.


I am so grateful to John Lyons and the Backwards Beekeepers who have been tremendously helpful as Greg and I enjoy this adventure into visionary beekeeping, where backwards is the new forwards.

You can read this story in its entirety with more photos at my blog.

—Roxana

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