El Dorado hive cutout

Ty, Melanie and Theresa

LA Backwards Beekeeper Roberta writes:

We got a call on the Bee Rescue Hotline from Joe at El Dorado Park in Long Beach last week. It is a big beautiful park and they had a pretty big hive up in the beams of a storage area.

This hive has come and gone many times over the years—always exterminated in the past, but this time they wanted to do something chemical-free and give the bees a new home. A group of us Long Beach guys gathered to tackle the tricky hive.

Ty, Melanie, Uri and I met in the morning to get an early start. Ty and I moved the tall ladder into place. From the ground the hive looked big but up close and about 30 feet off the ground, it looked massive.

Before starting we met many of the crew at the park who were all in favor of doing a chemical-free rescue. Theresa, who manages the park, was very supportive of our efforts. She is a wonderful woman who is also an organic gardener and pollinator supporter. She watched from a truck while we started cutting away the comb.

At first we tried to catch the comb in a bucket on a pole but with all the honey, it became a sticky mess. We saved the brood comb and let everything else fall to the ground. There were bees everywhere on the wall and in the rafters. It was crazy!

Then we vacuumed the bees over several rounds and they started to congregate into the box of brood, a good sign that we had the queen.

It was difficult to work on the ladder but the challenge made it exciting. Ty and I got a majority of the stings, but we made it through. It was the stickiest that I've ever been. I washed my jacket right away but unfortunately my camera went into the washer in the rush. Luckily the data card survived!

The bees are now in Bellflower. Thanks to El Dorado Park for supporting us.