Saturday, April 28, 2012

10,000 Honey Bees

"In the spring, if a honeybee colony has grown large enough, swarms of thousands of bees with a new queen will split off to look for a new nest.  It takes a swarm anywhere from a few hours to a few days to inspect its surroundings before it finally flies to its newly chosen home."
~Smithsonian Magazine~

This swarm came from a nest two houses down from us and settled on this tree stump in our next door neighbor's back yard.

Estimated 10,000 to 11,000 bees!  Because there is a shortage of honeybees, and knowing that we were expecting freezing temperatures at night, and realizing that this new colony would not survive till morning, our neighbor called the Bee Keepers of Colorado Springs to cover this hive and remove it the following morning to a safe haven.

Before sunset this Bee Keeper simply covered the hive with a tarp and weighted the corners with bricks, and then removed the tarp in the morning and set to work.

 He carefully vacuumed some of bees.

 But gently scooping seemed to work faster.

 Into a 5 gallon bucket they went.

He patiently worked as bees buzzed about him.

He carefully scooped and scooped, ever so gently as to not harm any of the bees.

 Then he vacuumed some more.

 Sometimes one bee at a time.

This went on for over an hour as we watched from a 10 ft. distance.

Before he would remove each layer, he would lightly spray the bees with water to keep them from taking flight.

The honey bees were attracted to this panel that he set on the tree stump.

 Looking for the queen.

 He was NOT stung one time!

Ready for transport.  He was not sure he saw the queen, but he thinks she must be in the bucket with the free bees on top, trying to get to her.

We've had an unusually warm winter, which is probably why these bees split off from their hive early.

Our neighbor was really torn emotionally about "giving" these bees to The Bee Keepers who would surely harvest their honey, but she felt this was a better option than them freezing to death.  (We were expecting freezing temperatures for the next several nights.)  She also believed that if they found a home in one of the neighbors' yards, they would kill them.  I have nothing against honeybees, except that my daughter-in-law is extremely allergic to them.  So, I was just has happy to see them go.

I learned that unlike African Killer Bees, Honey Bees are not aggressive.  They do not have a vested interest in stinging, because when they sting, it's the death of them.  

Also, if walking along and a honey bee "bumps" into you, the best thing for you to do is to turn back and walk in the direction you came from.  This "bumping" is a warning that you are getting too close to their hive.

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.  Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.                ~Isaiah 7:14 & 15~

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That is so awesome! Thanks for sharing, Mary. And it is so wonderful to see the honey bees coming back. I wonder if they are still in danger. What would we do without honey?