3/21/11

Rescuing a hive using masonry skills


LA Backwards Beekeeper Roberta writes:

Every once and awhile I check Craiglist for bees. Recently I found one listed by Georgiy in Bellflower. He said that he would like to keep them but felt like he didn't have enough time. Warren, another Backwards Beekeeper, had a mentee in Bellflower, making this a perfect opportunity. So we went to cut out the hive which had set-up in a post of a fence.

At first I looked at the cement-covered post and wasn't sure what I was going to do. I also thought, "Why do I do this? It's crazy!" I took a hammer and hit it but nothing happened. Luckily, Georgiy had a diamond cutting blade on his handsaw. The bees didn't like the hammering and sawing and were very defensive but then they settled down.

We exposed the hive and saw that the combs were long and beautiful. Here is a video of what it looked like:





Every time I see a hive, I am amazed at the beauty of the structure. This is why I keep on doing this even though it can be messy work.


This hive had probably started last year. The comb still looked new and there was hardly any capped brood. There were many queen cells and all were open. There weren't a lot of bees so it looked like the hive had died down during the winter. But it looked like it was revving up because every cell had an egg or larva. There were just a handful of capped cells and a bunch of collected nectar.


Warren tied the comb into deep frames. I really like deep frames for cutouts since there is less cutting involved. There was one bee with a white fuzzy dot on its back. Looking closer, it looked like it might be a mite. But with the hive revving up, I'm sure they can fix this problem on their own. Maybe the bee is just friends with this mite and is giving it a ride....

In the end the Bellflower mentee said that she couldn't start up their hive right now, but we'll see if she can host in the future. These bees will be combined with a hive that might be queenless. I left a frame of honeycomb in a box to attract the rest of the bees and maybe the queen. With those, we'll set-up a hive in Georgiy's yard because he mentioned to Warren that he might want to host bees—but this time in a "regular" hive.

—roberta

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.