City Bees

Yesterday adoring hubby and I had our first solo mission to remove a colony of bees from yet another water meter.  Water meters seem to be a favorite of honey bees for making a home.  We received a call from someone in the city inquiring about bee removal – city bees!  We downed a couple of cups of hot coffee, filled “to go” cups with the same and headed into the city to see what awaited us.  The lady who called said she thought the bees had been there a short time, maybe a couple of days.

It was a hazy, grey, damp morning.  Bees do not like this weather any better than I do.  This is the kind of weather that gives girls “bad hair” days and dampens the job of foraging for pollen.

We arrived loaded for bear, as the saying goes.  That was a good thing as these bees had been in residence for some time.  Lifting the lid to the water meter box was a surprise, as we anticipated a few bees and maybe a sheet or two of comb, if we were lucky.  I removed five sheets of comb from the meter box.  This is a good thing for a bee keeper.  The colorful comb is full of pollen.

My photog hubby was instrumental with the camera and the smoker.  When bees have taken up residence and have brood, honey and a queen to protect they must be smoked prior to their uprooting.  As I removed the comb and placed it in a bucket as well as a hive I was unable to spot the queen.  I scooped bees from the meter box into the hive and noticed that few bees chose to stay in the meter box but marched into the hive.  This was a good sign that the queen was in the hive box but not definite.  We pulled the patience card and hung out for a while giving the girls time to move into the hive, which they did. After sufficient time we closed up the hive, netted the bucket and loaded up to head home.  Below you can see the comb built inside the meter box.

Many thanks were offered by the city lady who made the call for bee removal. We headed home with the few bees not captured in the hive or the net hanging on for the ride to the country.  Possibly the ride of their lives.

Miss T had an art show that took the next couple of hours of our day but it was quite enjoyable.  There are some talented kids in our community and viewing their art work with a cookie and cup of punch, made with fizzy ginger ale and sweet pineapple juice is a leisurely way to spend an afternoon.  Next, home to unleash the girls and see if their queen can be found.

I donned my bee suit yet again and headed out to the bee yard in full preparation to help these city girls set up home in the beautiful countryside. First I cut comb from the bucket and bound it in frames to be placed in their new home.  If you’ve read the blog about my earlier bee removal adventures you know this is my least favorite task as unborn bees are lost in the process. Mr. Floyd says, “lose some or lose all”.  Ugh!  You can see the rubber banded comb placed in the frames.  The bees will quickly bind it all together with more comb.

Next hubby brought over the hive and as I lifted the top I told him that there would likely be tons of bees on the underside of the top.  I wanted to be sure he had the camera ready… Sure enough there were tons of bees gathered on the underside of the top and all the bees inside the hive were near the top.  Hmmmmm….I had a hunch that the queen was one of the hundreds clustered there.  He shot a quick photo of me holding the top and I began to search for her.  My hunch was correct, I spotted her climbing over the backs of the girls and quickly reached for the jelly jar to capture her.  Success!  She is big and beautiful.  I named her Queen Anne.  Anne, being the name of the city lady who called for our help in removing these uptown girls.

Queen Anne is the larger bee near the jar emblem

That makes hive #5.  I never dreamed that in these 3 short months  I would acquire five hives to manage.  It thrills me each time a new hive is added to my bee yard and this one especially so, as it was our first independent removal. Below you’ll see the girls who’ve gone country, the growing bee yard and the new girls doing what bees do…

I checked on all the hives early this afternoon and I’m pleased to say that the city girls seem to have settled in and are quite pleased with their country home.

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