2/15/12

Uri's first solo bee rescue

Uri and Laura.


LA Backwards Beekeeper Uri writes:

I just completed my first independent bee rescue on Monday. I should start by saying that I attended my first Backwards Beekeepers meeting about a year ago and have been keeping bees for almost a year now, and helped Roberta with a bee rescue in Long Beach last summer. So, it's been a lot of learning but I finally felt ready to do it on my own.

This particular colony had taken up residence under a Tuff Shed in Laura’s Costa Mesa backyard.

Laura’s yard was a wonderful place to work. She is a teacher at a Waldorf school and the yard reflected that. There was an array of fruit trees, an organic garden, and a tree house (Laura said her fruit production had increased dramatically since the bees took up residence). Also, she makes hand-crafted beeswax candles and she gave me one in appreciation for rescuing her bees! Thank you Laura.

The bees had to be removed because one of Laura’s sons got stung and found out he was very allergic. I was happy that she decided to have her bees rescued instead of destroyed.

The bees had dug an entrance through the dirt under the metal base of the shed. The only way to relocate them was to cut out part of the floor inside the shed and remove the bees from there.


I smoked the bees a bit while preparing my equipment. I then sawed a rectangle through the 1-inch wood flooring and removed that panel which had much comb (and bees!) hanging from it. They were quite a friendly colony and didn’t give any problems whatsoever.



I tied most of the brood comb and a bit of honeycomb into the frames and inserted them into the nuc box.


Eventually the bees realized that the nuc box was their new home and started migrating there en masse. That is a good sign and hopefully the queen made it in there.

I cleaned out all the old comb and sprayed vinegar water to deter bees from moving back. I picked up the nuc at night which is the time that bees “roost” and are very calm, sticking together to keep warm. I dropped them off at my bee yard and they seem to be doing very well so far (that is, it has been two days and they haven't absconded and it looks like their gathering lots of pollen and nectar).


Well, it was an exhausting day but thank G-d a success. Laura was very supportive and I can tell she has a great affinity for the bees. She said she would like to keep a hive if her son wasn't so allergic. Perhaps when he moves out it will be time for the bees to move back in :)

—Uri

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