Today, I removed a colony of bees from a location where they are not wanted. Beekeepers call this procedure a cut-out because a hole usually must be cut in a wall to reach the bees, but I like to think of it as a bee rescue because if the colony had not been moved, an exterminator would have been called.
In this case the procedure was easier than usual. Yesterday, I responded to a swarm call. the homeowner's well and pump were in a low, cinder block structure with a metal lid. The homeowner told me the swarm was in the pump-house. I lifted the lid to find a ball of bees hanging from the lid. It looked every bit like a swarm.
I propped the lid open and prepared to use my standard swarm capture procedure, when two wax combs dropped out of the ball of bees. This was no longer a swarm. The bees had moved permanently into the pump-house so I returned this afternoon with the equipment to do a cutout. In this case I had no need to cut a hole in a wall.
Usually opening the wall is the hardest part of the job. Also hard work is removing all of the wax comb that is adhered to the inside of the cavity. If the bees have been in place for more than a month, there will be a large number of combs, some filled with honey and some with brood. Because this colony had been in place for only about a week, there were only four small wax combs attached to the lid.
It was easy to collect the majority of the bees into my collection box. I sprayed them with sugar water and swept them into the box. The queen must have been in the middle of the bees because afterword, the stragglers were hanging on the outside of the box sniffing the scent of the queen through the holes.
This colony is now settling down in a box in my backyard, complete with frames of wax combs. They are not save from the threat of an exterminator.
Bee's Favorite Flower
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that is the
I have to work a little harder than some other flowers because I must extract nectar from each individual section of the blossom, but it is worth it to taste the delicate flavor of clover nectar.
Pure clover honey is very light colored and has a delicate flavor that many honey-lovers prefer.
Bee Sting Remedy
Bees do not bite, but they sure can sting. Worker bees have a barb on their stinger so they can only sting once. Drones have no stinger.
If you get stung, apply toothpaste to the sting. It will quickly reduce the sting and will minimize swelling.
Reynold Conger, Author, books
A fun page with pictures and honey bee information
I like the
flower. It is so
bright red and smells good.
I am told it is God's favorite plant. The Jewish high priest was instructed to decorate the hem of his robe with embroidered pomegranate flowers. Some say that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was not an apple but a pomegranate.
Bees are a social insect that lives in colonies. Apiculture is the art of keeping bees. Each colony consists of one queen, about 20,000 worker bees and a few hundred drones. They live in a cavity called a hive. The hive may be a hollow tree, or a set of boxes supplied by the beekeeper. When a hive is over crowded, bees swarm. Occasionally a honey bee swarm will make their hive in the wall of a building or some other place where they are not desired.
The queen is the only fertile female. She lays all the eggs, up to 2000 per day.
Worker bees are infertile females. They tend to the queen, keep house, care for the larvae, guard the hive, forage for nectar and pollen, and carry water to their sisters in the hive.
Drones are the male bee. Their primary duty is to mate with new queen bees. It is suspected they have other duties, but none have been verified. They lack a stinger. Each fall they are ejected from the hive to die in the cold so the queen and workers can survive on the stored honey.
Honey and pollen are the bees' food. Beekeepers are careful only to harvest the excess honey, leaving enough to enable the colony to survive the winter.
What is a Beehive?
Most bees are housed in a Langstroth beehive. This consists of a stack of two boxes on a base. These boxes are large enough to each hold 10 frames that are designed to encourage the bees to build their combs on the frames. Dimensions are such that there is plenty of clearance for the bees to move around, but not enough to encourage the bees to build combs outside the frames.
A lid closes the top. and a slot in the base provides an entrance for the bees.
The wax combs are used both to raise new bees and to store honey.
Early in the summer when the beekeeper sees the bees storing large amounts of honey, he will remove the lid and cover the top box with a mesh called the queen excluder. The holes are large enough to allow worker bees to crawl through, but too small for the queen. On top of the queen excluder, the beekeeper places another box full of empty frames called the super.
The queen can not get into the super to lay eggs there, but the workers can lay up combs full of pure honey. This is the honey that the beekeeper harvests in late summer or early fall.
Of course, the lid must be put on top of the super.
The flower of the
yellow and turns
red as the days go by.
It has so many stamen filled with pollen that gathering nectar is like swimming in pollen. I love to emerge with my coat covered in pollen.
The flavor and color of honey is dependent on the flower from which the nectar is collected. On a given day, a foraging bee will only collect nectar from a single species of flower.
If the bee hive is in the middle of a large field containing a single crop, such as clover, All most all of the bees will be collecting nectar from that flower.
When the beekeeper takes a frame from the super, he will find mostly clover honey in the comb. He will extract the honey and sell it as clover honey or whatever the species of flowers is in the field.
The flavors will range from delicate to strong. The color will range from a very light yellow to a dark amber.
Most small beekeepers such as myself keep the hives where the bees can access a variety of flowers. On a given day, there may be bees visiting several different species of flowers, and a bee may switch species of flowers from day to day. My bees produce a mix of different types of honey. The honey produced by my bees is rather dark and very rich in flavor. I sell it as honey from mixed flowers.