One week, Four Trees and 8 Beekeepers

Trap-out team: Yuka, James, Barbara, Dave, Mark.

LA Backwards Beekeeper Roberta writes:

This was a catch-up week for tree trap-outs and a big mentoring and learn-by-doing opportunity.

Bees love to swarm into trees and set up shop there, but it's not easy to get them out. It takes patience and persistence. There are only a few of us willing to do it, and I wanted to show some new people the ropes.

I started with Barbara and Richard. They were helping a woman who called the Bee Rescue Hotline with a pretty common story: bees had entered her tree and she had exterminated them not once but a few times because the cavity was always left open. And with the smell of wax and honey it’s irresistible to a swarm of bees. This time she also had a new little puppy that she didn’t want exposed to pesticides. Great news for the bees!

So we set up the trap-out with my favorite aluminum window screen modified with a little funnel made with a citrus juicer. We anchored a cardboard box just at the opening and in no time a little bee was fanning at the entrance.

Richard has gone a few times to check it out and there aren’t a lot of bees in the box, but they are good tempered and we’re saving them for Barbara for when her top bar hive arrives.

Then the next day I met James, Yuka, Barbara and Mark at the LA Zoo to do two more trap-outs. Dave at the zoo had one of our teams chainsaw off some dead branches from a tree where a bee hive had set up. This made it a lot easier to access. We set up the screen and leaned the cardboard against it.

This one has been tricky because there are so many little places that the bees are escaping. Barbara has gone there a few times (sometimes with Mark or Jeremy) to fix the holes. They've been working hard to plug all the holes in the tree in an effort to get the bees to all come out of one spot. It would be impossible to do this on your own unless you lived just down the street from the trap out.

Then Barbara, Mark and I set up another tree trap-out at Mt. Sinai. It was 6am and still pitch black, but we could still see where the bees were living. No pictures here because it’s a cemetery. Matt, the manager of the grounds, will update with the progress.

We’ll leave them alone to give the bees time to emerge and if we are lucky, the queen will exit and then the bees can be removed and the holes in the trees closed completely with cement. Now that we have a great team of trap out artists, we might be able to help out more callers.

Thanks everyone!