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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Little Swarm from Iola

Today I received a call from the Pontius' near Iola regarding a bee swarm that came out of their house and settled on a small branch in their yard.  Elijah and I headed out into the land of no cell service to find their farmstead and the small swarm.  I didn't use the vacuum but cut the branch and shook them into a travel nuc.  I then allowed the remaining bees to walk into the nuc before shutting it up.  Since they were small I decided to set them up in a regular nuc box in the back yard where I could feed and tend them a little more closely to help them make it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Three Bunches of Bees

Today was an absolutely crazy day.  I had the day off for "Honey Do Day" and our goal was to clean out the garage, however it was interrupted by a call from Wetherall Place, an ICFDD facility in town, about a swarm that had moved into a hollow tree.  Since they wanted to save the tree but get rid of the bees, I used my vacuum to suck up the foragers as they came back from the field.  Since this was taking quite a while and I had other tasks to complete, I plugged the hole and decided to come back later to get what I could. 

I then received a call from Matt Figgins who spotted a swarm near Stew-Stras High School.  I took Jessie with me and we headed out to get that swarm!  It was on a diagonal fence support and was quite large.  I scraped them into a box and then installed them in a nuc at the farm.

Afterwards I returned to Wetherell Place and tried to smoke out as many bees as possible and returned home around 9:30pm to learn of an emergency call about a large swarm hanging in the front yard of Monte Stephens' house in rural Lillyville.  My wife had a few Girl Scouts still at the house for late night bake sale baking, and Hannah, a 3rd grader, wanted to come along.  So, Hannah, Aaron, and I headed out to Lillyville in the middle of the night to hunt up a swarm.  We found the Stephens home without any trouble, and what we found was a beautiful swarm about 2 feet long hanging from a tree in their front yard.  I vacuumed them up for installation at the farm the next day.  Hannah told her mom all about the adventure when we returned to the house at about 11:30pm.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Picking Up Stragglers

After work today I stopped by the Ande's rental property to see if any bees were still there, and there were quite a few...probably a pints worth, so I suited up and schlurped them up!  I'll add them to the others in the morning.  We also had bad news about a swarm north of Sigel that we were going to get tonight...they moved on after a week in the same tree.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Andes Extraction

Today, after work, I met up with Beth Andes, Don Boggs, and Jim ? to remove some bees that had a hive in the eave of a rental property that was the Starwalt home back when I was in high school.  It was a nice size hive, but they had recently swarmed so the number of bees were small.  Lots of honey was dripping down as I removed the comb.  I hope to receive a few photos from Beth to add to this blog!  I'll be installing them in a nuc in the morning, and they we will see if there is a queen.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

BeeYard Work & Another Swarm

Today I spent the day working in the beeyard, inspecting the hives, and creating a new beeyard.  The first thing I noticed was that the four nucs from Tom Laue extraction had condenced into two nucs via drift, so I combined the remaining bees and frames and we'll see what happens.  I did see what looked like a virgin queen that may have hatched since the installation.  The Ellis swarm appears to have a false queen as evidenced by multiple eggs in many cells, ranging from 2-5 eggs, so I decided to combine the Ellis Swarm with the Sauers Swarm and see if they can make a stronger hive.  Regarding the new beeyard, it is near of the farmstead of my great-grandfather, Henry Quicksall, who had bees during the 1920s and 1930s.  I set up two hive boxes and in the left one I installed the Virg-N-Mary Niebruggee swarm from last night. 

Later that evening, around 9pm, I received a phone call from Don Cordes of Mattoon who reported a swarm in the tree of his 91 year old next door neighbor, Mr. Coffey.  He was hoping I could help him out and remove the swarm, so Dawn & I took off and met a couple of friends who are new to beekeeping at the house to help out with the swarm capture.  The swarm was up in a tree, and I used the neighbors ladder to get me up there.  After the capture Dawn & I headed out to the farm and installed the swarm right next to the Virg-N-Mary swarm in the Henry Quicksall Beeyard.

Virg-N-Mary & Cordes/Coffey Hives

Here is an update on the various hives:

BeeYard #1
#1 - Original West Hive (2010) - strong & grumpy - honey super on top.
#2 - Kelley Swarm (2012)
#3 - Ellis/Sauers Combined Swarms (2012)
#4 - Original East Hive (2010) - strong - honey super on top.
#5 - Courthouse Swarm (2011) - weak hive with poor queen.
#6 - Doedtman Swarm (2011) - strong with honey super on top.
#7 - Split from #4 in March (2012)
#8 - unoccupied
#9 - Silver Lake Swarm (2012)
#10 - Dale Laue Swarm (2012)
#11 - Graft from #4 (2011) - strong - honey super on top.
#12 - Tom Laue Swarm A (2012)
#13 - Tom Laue Swarm B (2012)

Aaron's Hive #2 - Funkhouser Swarm (2012)

BeeYard #2 - Henry Quicksall BeeYard
#1 - Virg-N-Mary Niebrugge Swarm (2012)
#2 - Cordes/Coffey Swarm (2012)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Night at Lake Edwards

OK, I'm on my way to drop off Aaron for the EHS Band Concert when Dawn calls to report another swarm call....really!?!?  I returned the call and spoke with Virgil Niebrugge who lives with his wife, Mary, on his family's old farmstead at Lake Edwards Subdivision.  After the band concert I headed over with my parents to capture the swarm in the dark.  It was a large swarm hanging about 8 foot off the ground on a trellis.  We also had an audience of several neighbors who wanted to see what was taking place.  The swarm was very gentle and filled over a third of my vacuum box.  I plan on installing the swarm into a hive box tomorrow at the farm.  I hope to post photos from one of the neighbors what came out to see what all the commotion was about.

Another Extraction & Swarm

Wednesday I received a call from Tom Laue near Shumway about a probably swarm that came from a wild hive in one of his livestock feed stalls.  After church Dawn & I headed out to extract the hive.  Tom suited up and removed the boards and helped with the flashlight and vacuum.  Yes, it was dark as we started around 9pm!  Lots of bees!  Lots of Queen Cells!!!  Probably a dozen or so, but a couple were opened, so I'm not sure if the virgin queens are still alive.  They were scattered all over the hive.  Dawn wasn't suited up so she was the photographer and gopher for everything I forgot that I needed from the truck.  After I removed the comb in the exposed compartment, I could see that more come went into the compartment above, but by then it was after 11pm, and we were quite tired, so we called it quits until this Saturday.  We went home, and then I got up at 4am and took the hive to the farm and divided the bees into 4 nucs and placed two or more queen cells in each nuc.  We'll see what happens....keep your fingers crossed.

Below are photos from the night's extraction....notice the queen cells along the bottom of the comb.  We saved a couple chunks of brood comb in a special frame.

Yesterday, Thursday, I received a call from Mr Kelly in Effingham who reported a swarm in front of his apartment hanging on a tree branch.  Ofter lunch I quickly headed over with my bee vac and "schlurpt" them up and was back to work within 30 minutes.  After the band concert last night I headed up to the farm and installed them into a regular empty hive (I'm out of nucs!).  To ensure they didn't swarm on me I raided hive #4 for a frame of brood.  They say that the attack pheromone smells like bananas, well let me assure you that the stench of bananas was thick in the air last night and they were MAD!  Of course, silly me didn't fire up my smoker, again.