Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.

A Festive Swarm

I'm trying to get out of the habit of only posting when I have something that's really too long to post. This is one of several stories I recently posted as an overly long facebook post, I'll try to get around to posting the others here too.

So this past weekend was the annual big festival of my little village, "Birregurra Festival." The weather was great and it was fun. While I was walking the 100 meters or so from my house to the festival with my friends Mick and his girlfriend, our route took us past the flow hive in my neighbor's empty lot and I was like "Oh Hey Mick have you seen a flow hive lets go look at it"

While there we encountered said neighbor himself, Trevor, mentioned here before, a very jolly fellow. He was sitting on his back veranda with his wife and a friend. "Hey, when are you bringing me more bees?" he jokingly pressed me, "I've got the second stand built and ready!" Really its the ethical dilemma mentioned before that had prevented me from already providing him with bees, since enough bees to start a hive cost $120-$150 and I dunno about providing a SECOND lot of bees even to my favorite neighbor for free. (see previous post for full ethical examination)

But just then Mick says "Hey, what about those bees?" and we look and he's pointing to a swarm of bees just BESIDE the new stand.
"Oh, how about right now I say?" and we all have a good laugh about the quick turnaround on this request. So I trot quickly home, all I can find is an empty box (no frames) someone else had given me a swarm in that I was going to return to them, but it'll have to do. So there I am in my nice clothes, trying not to get grass stains on my pants, moving bees by hand into this box.

We did a pretty halfassed job, since unlike most swarms I would be easily able to return to this one, so we ignored the many bees on the base of the pole saying they would clump up again and then I'd move them too. When I came back later they actually had also moved into the hive!

Today after I checked the now five hives I have in my own yard, I enjoyed being able to bbq right where I'd just been working, and then I put some ice cream in my leftover coffee in this cute little cup and it was delicious.

I actually took my laptop outside and am writing this in location pictured as it rains all around me (:

Part II
Day 2: I came back with a proper hive box with frames the following day and transferred them. I actually had the queen in my hand twice but didn't have a queen cage at hand (I'd had it an hour earlier, I don't know where it got to!). Bees will to a certain extent do what they want, and at a certain point they all started flooding out of the hive and collecting under the box an at that point it was carrying water up a hill with a seive. So I left htem hoping they'd get cold overnight and move up.

Day 3: I came back, they hadn't moved up, so I put the box under the stand, ie under the swarm, and shook them all into it. Kept an eye out for the queen but never saw her. Then placed the hive back on top and they appeared to be content to stay inside. Just in case I put a queen excluder under the box (ie between the bulk of them and the entrance), though having seen this queen I reckon she's small enough to slip through (and when they slim up to fly with the swarm they're more able to do so, and this one had been very flighty the day before).

Then I walked to the health center to book their meeting room for a planned community beekeeping meeting. While talking to the receptionist she said "you have a wasp on you!"
To which I said "oh" and cupped my hand gently around the bee and walked briskly outside to release it, as she called after me "careful it could sting you!"
I hadn't even glanced at it, but when I released it and it flew away like an overlaiden B-24, in a roughly straight line away from me right to the ground I was like waitaminute waitaminute. Thats how QUEENS fly. Went to examine her and... yep it was the queen! She had hitched a ride on ME!!

So I picked her up, finished talking to the receptionist whilst pretending not to be holding a bee in my hand, popped her into the queen cage I now had at hand when I got back to the car, and placed her in the hive!
Tags: beekeeping, birregurra

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