Thursday, August 13, 2015

That one time I ripped apart my parent's deck...

SO, my parents have a beautiful house with a little lake at the back of their property. Right outside of the kitchen is a nice little screened porch that I very often find them on summer nights, reading a book, hanging out with friends, and staring lovingly into each others' eyes - you know, as parents do. 

Well, I kindof ripped apart the ceiling last week...

Sorry, all iphone photos, but you GET the idea. Also hats off to Madre for taking the photos!


But, I didn't just do it for funsies. You see, THIS was under the board in the corner...


ALLOW me to back up. Whilst I was gallivanting in Brazil I got a phone call from my parents. I knew something was up, I mean TWENTY CENTS A MINUTE! So when we got back to the hostel I called them back over facetime. My mom said that the bees were clustering above the trees that afternoon and she was wondering why.

WELL, what the bees were doing was finding a new home. What happened was, the bees decided that the hive was too small for them and they needed to find a new home for half the colony. This is called a Swarm: when half the hive and the queen leave and find a new home, leaving behind some queen cells to keep the hive going. 

Got it?

So, about 10,000 bees and a queen needed a new home, and I was in Brazil. Half of me hoped they were just kidding and would find their way back. The other half WISHED they found a nice tree to hive in, ya know, one low to the ground or something equally convenient. 


NOPE. They thought the best home would be to crawl through the fascia of my parents deck and house between the ceiling studs. This was quite evident when you were standing in the porch as bees would constantly cluster in that area. After a few weeks of trying to lure them out, we pulled the trigger and ripped the ceiling panel down. 

I have seen hive removals done before and felt I could do it just fine, but I have been told MANY times to have a professional around your first time. So, I called Randy the Beekeeper who came over the next day to help me tear it down.

Since we didn't have another full hive on hand yet I borrowed some boxes from my other hive. I stapled plastic to the bottom so if any wax/honey fell out when we move it the bees could still eat it (we didn't have a spare bottom board). 


The process was fairly simple, you just need to move slow so you don't kill/piss off the bees. THANKFULLY we found the queen and brought her to safety in the new box. Most times she's hiding so it's a crapshoot if you find her or not. If we move the bees and not her, it's likely the bees will go back to wherever she is #groupies


Randy cut the comb out of the hive and handed it to me on a tray. We then fit them into a frame and secured it with rubber bands. The bees will connect the comb to the frames over time and eventually break the binders off and take them out of the hive. #OCDcleaners


The hive was VERY healthy with a lot of brood growing! 




It took a full 10 frames to get all the comb in there! I set a super on top in case they grow fast before we get their new home set up. We left the set up in the porch for a week so the stragglers could make their way in, and the bees could clean up the honey in the porch.


Oh yeah, and we also found a hornet nest when we ripped the ceiling down! So Randy took a bag and a bucket and got rid of that, casually.


That next weekend I went back and we moved the hive box down next to the other box, so they can be besties. We cleaned up the porch and collected any stragglers and brought those down too. Then we sealed up the porch and a week later we are bee free!



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