Author Topic: Birth of a Beek?  (Read 688 times)

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Offline Wandering Man

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Birth of a Beek?
« on: July 02, 2019, 10:10:25 am »
I got a phone message yesterday from a local cemetery asking if we could remove bees from a water meter box.  I was out of town, so I asked 3Reds to respond to the request.  She talked to the man and felt like he was a little rude and hostile, but she agreed to go out and take a look anyway.

When she arrived, she found a man with a totally different demeanor.  The groundskeeper has been thinking about keeping bees for a couple of years, and has been doing his homework.  He has most of the equipment, has read books, but hasn't got any bees yet.

Before she knew it, the words just flew out of her mouth: "would you like to have these bees?"

First he said yes, then no, then yes, then no ...

Any way, we showed up yesterday evening with an extra suit and gloves (he couldn't find the ones he'd bought). 
We pulled the lid to the water meter and cut out the comb, and rubber-banded it into frames, while looking for the queen.  At this point, the groundskeeper was in the "no" mode.  He didn't think he wanted the bees, worried about where to put them.

He was willing to help us by showing up before sunrise and moving the nuc to another location until I could go to the cemetery and pick them up.

Once we got the two frames of  comb in the nuc, the search continued for the queen.  I scooped out bees and we all looked over the bees in my hand and watched as I dumped them into the nuc.
He spotted the queen first!  She was on the topbars, headed for the edge of the nuc.  I shut the lid, hoping I'd caught her in the nuc.  3Reds was worried that I'd missed her.  Sure enough, I had and it was the groundskeeper who spotted her for the second time.  3Reds caught her in a queen clip, and we placed her with the clip between frames.

Then we set the nuc near the meter box and watched and waited.

We talked and visited while waiting for the bees to start moving into the nuc, but they seemed to be content to stay in the meter box.  3Reds and I started second guessing ourselves, and decide to remove the queen from the clip.  Maybe she couldn't send out enough pheromone because she was trapped. This morning, I'm thinking that was a pretty ridiculous thought, but last evening it made sense.

So, we opened the nuc, and 3Reds released the queen.  But where did she go?  I didn't see her.  3Reds didn't see her.  We closed the box and hoped she was still in the nuc.  Groundskeeper assured us he saw her drop onto the topbars and walk down into the broodnest.  We just shook our heads, he had an uncanny ability to spot the queen.  And we told him so.

We moved the nuc closer to the meter box, and as the bees finally  began to march up into the nuc, we continued to discuss plans on retrieving the nuc in the morning.  Groundskeeper said not to bother.  He wants those bees.  Furthermore, he's got a friend with feral bees in the country that he wants to retrieve, requeen and keep.  He's remembered a friend with property 15 minutes away from home where he can keep the bees.

We all had huge grins on our faces.  He's reimbursed us for the equipment ($35), and we've loaned him my spare bee suit and a hive tool.  We'll help him get things established, and have invited him to the next bee club meeting.

Even though we didn't want the bees, we were excited to go get them.  Even though he was unsure that he wanted the bees, he is excited to have them.  There is something intangible about working with bees that brings a sense of excitement and adventure.  I think spotting the queens when we couldn't is what pushed him over the edge.

Birthing a new beek has been the most exciting part of my week.
Never argue with drunks or crazy people

Offline tedh

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Re: Birth of a Beek?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2019, 04:24:11 pm »
Thank you!  Ted
Share that which you have an abundance of.  In doing so both the giver and receiver are enriched.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Birth of a Beek?
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2019, 07:50:28 am »
That's a great story, WM.  Thanks for sharing!
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Offline Mikey N.C.

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Re: Birth of a Beek?
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2019, 03:31:10 pm »
Sometimes all it takes is bee keepers with bee fever to infect a potential new bee keeper. :yes:
Great job, WM-3REDS
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