4/13/12

Roberta grabs a swarm, revives a hive


LA Backwards Beekeeper Roberta writes:

Shannon and her family have been very gracious by allowing me to keep my two hives at their place. The bees have been there for about a year now, and the family feels that their fruit crops have had a big boost from the added pollinators.

I got a few frantic calls about a swarm that had landed on the front yard fence, because Shannon didn’t want anyone to run into it by accident. There had already been some bees and honeycomb that had fallen from a palm tree hive elsewhere in the neighborhood, and that created quite a stir on the street. Shannon thought I should go after that one too but the homeowner already contacted their beekeeper friend to come and rescue it.

The kids are pretty used to the bees being around, and everyone’s been stung at some point since they spend a lot of time outside with bare feet. Shannon swears by her plantain-and-rum poultice that she applies after a sting—she says the pain and swelling just disappears. One of the younger girls, however, once was stung between the eyes and they swelled shut. It’s a great story that they like to tell, and they have pictures of her smiling and sticking out her tongue.

I was going to whisk this swarm off, but we took a look in one of my hives and it was empty, so I put the bees in a box (as the kids watched from a car) and then dumped the bees into the empty hive. All done.

The next time I come, the kids are going to get suited up and will help with the hive inspection. They really wanted to help this time, but it was getting really late so we made it a quick one.

—Roberta

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