8/6/11

Rescuing a Long Beach tree hive

Jennifer, Maddy and Izzy beneath their tree hive.



LA Backwards Beekeeper Barbara writes:
This rescue could not have been sweeter (well, unless there had been honey). One nice mom, two live wire little girls bubbling over with questions, and a sweet little tree hive all made for a pleasant after-dark rescue event in Long Beach.

I had checked on Jennifer's bee situation a couple weeks ago—I had hoped it would just be a swarm, since she had just noticed it. But it turned out that the bees were settled in and were making comb.


When Roberta and I returned, we found the same little hive, now with one more comb than it had three weeks prior. It required some tricky pruning on Roberta's part, since combs were built through several tiny branches as well as the small main branch. She managed to free it and clear a path down.

My job was to hold the ladder still for her and not let go even if a blob of angry bees fell off the branch directly above and landed on me—a distinct possibility. Since my first bee rescue was the BBQ bees from hell bouncing off my veil and entire body, I figured I could handle a bee bomb on my head. Fortunately, I didn't have to test this theory.


This little hive was really a beauty and the bees were not at all defensive. Roberta was able to invite the girls back out to see it since the bees were so calm. Izzy and Maddy were snapping pictures with their own cameras and so excited that one question was tumbling into the next.

We put the hive, branch and all, into a cardboard box. The hive had so little growth in those three weeks that we suspect it might be queen-less, so Roberta has not quite decided where it will end up. Perhaps it will be added to another hive; perhaps she’ll wait and see how it does on its own.

Roberta and I answered each and every bee question the girls could think of while we were cleaning up, while we were packing the car, while we were strapping the ladder on top of the car, well, you get the idea. I’m sure they will still be talking about their big bee adventure for days. Who knows … maybe they will join a future generation of beekeepers. ☺

—Barbara

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