Saturday, July 11, 2009
What we've BEEn up to
I have no idea why blogger always puts my pics up in reverse order (or how to fix it without a headache) so y'all will have to go through this with me in reverse! One of the things our family has been up to during my long blog absence is pictured in the post today. We got a blessing in helping a family get an unwanted colony of honey bees out of the wall of their home. For most beekeepers this can be a pretty good paying job, but I am one of those people who is simply too softhearted to ever be good at business and so this one paid just about what it cost us to do it. This picture is at the end of the first day we worked on the cut out (because you have to cut the swarm out of the home). The guy wearing the orange shirt was the homeowner..... and they didn't want the bees. I think it was around 10:00 and we were all hot, tired and hearing buzzing even after it stopped.
One of the things I like most about our family is that we are an incredible team. My kids are far from perfect, but I sure can't think of very many other kids that I would be willing to do this kind of stuff with. They dig right in and work like adults, with no complaining or slacking when we are working on something. They are also very safety conscious which makes me feel even better about working with them.
That's me and Jessica (not my kid but I'd take her in a second) smoking the bees off of our bee "vacuum" so we can start extracting another hive full from the house. We took a total of 2 very overfilled hives out of the house and split them with Jessica. I was surprised to find very little honey stored in comparison to the number of bees.
We did find enough brood (un-emerged bee babies) to put in each hive so that whichever one didn't get the queen can raise one from an egg. We had to handle the brood comb extra carefully since we really needed those bee babies to survive.
Here's Troy and Caleb not too long after we got started. Most of the siding is down and Caleb is smoking the bees to keep them from attacking Troy. For the most part though these bees are very calm and we only got a few stings between us during the 3 days of work we had to do.
Since the bees were between the exterior and interior walls of the home, and the homeowners did NOT want us to go through the drywall in their den wall and ceiling we had to vacuum the bees out from outside. That is a slow process but we got it done.
Now the kids are excited and hoping to get more swarm calls. I'll take them but hate the thought of having to feed bees all winter.... sugar just ain't getting any cheaper. This late in the year the bees don't really have a lot of time to build up winter stores so you can almost guarantee that this will be a welfare hive for the first year. Not that we aren't glad to have them, this is our second swarm catch this year and we'll take all we can get.
It's been a good bee year for us so far. We started the year out thinking that we may be getting out of the bees soon because we had taken such big losses with very little reward, we only had two hives at the beginning of spring and they were both a little on the shaky side. We now have 5 and all look to be healthy and well populated. We've also gotten at least a little bit of honey this year and even managed to make a little bit of profit from some of it.
So I guess we'll have bees for awhile longer yet (hooray!!!).