Backwards Beekeepers to the rescue at the LA Zoo

Now that's a big hive.

LA Backwards Beekeeper Roberta writes:

Ceebs answered a call to the Bee Rescue Hotline about some hives at the LA Zoo. Dave, who is in charge of the grounds, wanted to do some natural extractions rather than use exterminators. Ceebs did some recognizance and started the wheels rolling.

The zoo rescue crew.

We had a huge group of people go there to remove a VERY big hive (as big as me!). It was under an elevated platform for an old aviary that was set to be demolished the following week, so we were in a time crunch. Luckily we had a team of both pros and newbees willing to meet at 6am to take care of it. We had Kirk, Randy, Chris, Ceebs, myself, Chandra, Barbara, Ryan and James.

Kirk at work.

We started out by just trying to figure out what to do. It took a ladder and a set of containers lifted with a pulley system. There was a bunch of chaos after the first few cuts and then Kirk went in and just took it apart in big whacks.

In no time the comb had come down, the brood was tied in and the honeycomb stashed away. Chandra, one of the condor keepers, took the bees home for her first hive.

On another recent visit Randy, Joseph, Ed, Andrew, James, Margarita and Barbara tackled a few hives. Two were under trailers and were pretty big and old. Access was difficult because it required lying on the ground. These cutouts went pretty fast. Then there was a hive in a tree that required a chainsaw but was too deep to extract so will require another trip for a trap-out.


Backwards Beekeeper Ed adds:

Here's a joke for you. An Irishman, a Croatian, and a Guatemalan meet at the zoo and...

Joseph, Ed, Andrew.

Oh wait a minute, it's not a joke, its actually the Backwards Beekeepers International Section. Andrew, Joseph and I had the pleasure of doing a great cutout this AM at the Condor Sanctuary. It was a very mature hive located underneath a trailer. I'd say it was a couple of years old.

We did not use a bee vac. All we did was smoke and cut. We spotted the queen and manually placed her in Joseph's supers, collected plenty of honey and were headed for home by 9:30 AM. I don't believe anyone was stung even a single time.

I will post the photos (courtesy of Margarita) on the LA BeeRescue site.