Friday, July 2, 2021

Our Bee Rescue Adventure!

 Our local bee club - Heart of Texas Beekeepers Association - receives calls from people who have unwanted swarms of bees take up home in sheds, attics, walls or other places.
Sherry is on a list of local beekeepers who are willing to take bees and relocate them to their own apiaries. It just so happened that Thursday morning, I stopped by the bee yard on my way down to Sherry's to do some laundry. Louis Dean paused the truck so I could do an inspection of all the hives from the ranch road. I saw activity in all of them but hive #4 had only a handful of bees coming in and out. NOT a good sign. More than likely this was a queenless hive.

I started my laundry and reported my findings to Sherry and we planned on checking the hives at first light on Friday. I sat in her office whacking up denim while my laundry washed and dried. It was so hot that by the time the second load was done - the first one that was hung on the lines was already dry!
That's when Sherry answered a call from a man in Robinson (like a suburb of Waco) who had a swarm of bees arrive in his back yard a week earlier. They had claimed a 100 year old cedar chest as its new home and he was unable to mow his yard for all the bees. Not to mention he did not WANT bees inside the chest that was inside his shed!
She was the first one to respond to his plea for help and within an hour, we were on our way to inspect the situation. It is commendable that the homwowner didn't try to exterminate the bees. He did not want to kill them but to have them relocated.

She was the first one to respond to his plea for help and within an hour, we were on our way to inspect the situation. It is commendable that the homwowner didn't try to exterminate the bees. He did not want to kill them but to have them relocated.

Upon inspection, we saw there was one hole they were using as an entrance and exit.
Since the bees are busy foraging during the daylight hours, we decided to come back under cloak of darkness later that night when most of the bees had returned and would be inside the cedar chest.

Dean fashioned a cap to put over the hole since there was a bubble of bees right there at the opening.
He used the lid from my 'flat white' coffee of Wednesday and several strips of clear tape.
Sherry secured it in place and since the bees were not active, no bee suit was required - even though we had them with us.

That part was done!

Next they used straps to secure the chest and prevent it from opening up on us.

The next step was to load it in the truck.

Easy peasy!!!

You can hear them buzzing inside the chest!
We drove home with them - and you always want to use a truck for this!
It's never a good thing to travel with bees inside your vehicle!
We unloaded them to the gravel driveway underneath our big red carport - rain was possible and this would protect them until we could get them into a hive.

All was well for the night!
Friday morning we were up before the sun and began the second stage of the bee rescue.

A bee vac is a valuable tool for a beekeeper and Sherry's daughter, her boyfriend, and Dean all made that happen and gifted her with this custom made one for Christmas.

We all suited up - Dean and Sherry and I!
I took pictures today so no photos od me.

The tool uses a vacuumn to suck up the bees and put then in a bee bucket that has ventilation.

It worked like a charm!

Now that we had most of the bees - we drove over to the apiary.

Sherry removed some of the frames so there would be a space for the bees.....

And she dumped them in!!!

We replaced the frames and closed up the hive.
Welcome to your new home!

The bees had been a week in that cedar chest and, while there was no honey, they had worked hard to make some comb.

We rescued these pieces of beautiful comb and will add these frames to the hive and pull out the ones that are empty. No sense letting all their hard work go to waste when they can now use the comb and start bring in nectar and pollen and making resources for the hive.

We do love our bees!
A successful rescue with not even one sting!

All that happened early this morning.
We were up at 6:00 and done by 8:30!

I went back to bed about 11:00 and slept until the afternoon and then it came a hard rain with lots of lightning! Louis Dean got his tiller running again - something about a hose needing replaced - so yesterday he tilled up the spent blackeyed pea patch and the dead wildflowers.
Perfect timing for a good rain before we replant the garden!

Look how came down to visit us!
Dean had them tethered out in the back meadow today. I could see them from the batroom window.
When the storms came in - he went out and unchained them so they could run back to the pen where they had shelter. Dean ran back to the house so HE had shelter!
After the rain was gone, the goats simple walked out of the open gate and came up here.
They were very welcome since the grass needed 'mowing' and that's what they are good at doing!

Another nice long nap and an art session working on the Santa Express painting and then it was just about the Golden Hour.

I made a cocktail using Sauvignon Blanc, Cherry 7-Up and a splash of Moscato!
Garnished with a cherry from our Daiquiri Express run last weekend and it was as pretty as it was good!

No campfire tonight since it rained so much the fire pit is full of water.
We had chili dogs with all the trimmings for supper and now Louis Dean is already in bed.
A hot shower for me and then I am going to bed, too!

Only two more days and we head home.....

Wishing you all a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!


Ginny Hartzler said...

Wow, I learned so much here! Bees need to be svaed, for sure! I think my favorite and most interesting part was watching her dump them into the hive!

Bluebird49 said...

Wow you had a long day! I'm so glad you could save the hive, that honeycomb was beautiful, wasn't it?
Hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July, friend!
Love those goats, too!
<3 Trudy

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Happy 4th of July my friend! I hope you enjoy these last couple of days in the country. What a lot you got accomplished! Hugs to you both!

MadSnapper said...

The story of the bee rescue has me completely flabbergasted! I had no idea how you would move those bees and this is just truly amazing to me that the three of you could move those bees from one place to another and I'm so happy for the man that had the bees and for your bees that you now have in the hive and for even rescuing the comb it's just mind-boggling to me. I'm a little sad that you'll be living leaving your country home because I like seeing all the things that you do there and seeing goats eating your grass

Deanna Rabe said...

I love watching your bee adventures! I learn so much. I hope you get honey this year!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I'm thinking it was convenient they were in a chest for easy removal. It's wonderful you could provide them with a new home and that you had a place for them too. You all did very good ! Harrah for bee keepers. we do need those bees! Hope you have a great 4th of July !

Changes in the wind said...

What a happy ever after event with the bees. It was good there was only one hole and easy to capture for the move. Wouldn't you like to know what they thought being sucked out of their home and into another.

Rain said...

Honestly Linda, you are all brave. It was interesting to see how the bees are dumped, just like that, into their new home. Very cool. After my harrowing escape from being attacked by that swarm last month, seeing bees still gives me a stomach ache for now, but I'll eventually forgive them! The goat photo is awesome, how nice that you can see them! I think you need to name your cocktails! :) Maybe...Southern Cherry Spritzer! :)

Vee said...

That was an interesting rescue. I am sure the owner of the chest was thrilled to have them gone. Are you taking the chest back or did he say, "keep it."

May they be good producers!

How wonderful that the goats showed up when you needed them to tidy things up. I think I'd be intimidated by that many, but you take things in stride there in the country.

photowannabe said...

And a very Happy Fourth of July to you and Louis Dean.
I am so fascinated by your Bee saga.
What a process and now you have more bees making lucious honey..
Enjoy what time you have left at the Ranch..happy painting and enjoying your Golden Hours.

Susan~aredheadonthego said...

What nice people you are! And brave too! I love how Sherry just dumped them out. That girl is fearless. Happy Fourth to all!

Carla said...

Y'all are way braver than I. I avoid bees of any kind and any way. But I love that I got some of the by product of your Bee adventures. That picture of the goats was great. And your drinks look and sound yummy.

Take care!

Carole said...

Good rescue. Happy 4th! Cheers

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Late in reading this post, Linda, so belated Happy 4th to you both. What an adventure getting those bees relocated and I also learned. Lot. Who knew there were such specialized tools like the bee vacuum. Glad the bees were safely relocated. Did the old cedar chest get back to its owner as well?

Great-Granny Grandma said...

Wow, I've never heard of bees being rescued before. This was fascinating information. Did the man you rescued them from want his chest back?