Posted by Rob Keller on February 09, 2013 at 07:29 PM in Airstream 67 Overlander, Bee Class, Bee Feral, Bee Fun, Bee Gear, Bee How To, Bee Meta, Bee Theory, Bee Think, Books, Clients, Hive Management, Mobile Bee Observatory, St. Helena Montessori Bee Class, Tips From the Hive - Nimbus Bee Blog, VW 61 Splitty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
So your mostly getting pictures this time:
I guess there's a place in Napa called Beehive Peak. How awesome is that? How la-may is it that I've never heard of it or been there? Really.... I saw it in Chuck O'Rear's new book Napa Valley.
Teak hives on their new deck:
Moving the teak hives with a refrigerator dolly
Gorgeous aren't they?....
Father's Day swarm removal:
These guys were absolute bee ballers, seriously, they did a stellar job wrangling bees for the first time. That big kid got half the swarm dumped on his head and stayed true. Not that it matters, but they are from Colorado.
I know, I was just on about those guys from Colorado being the bee ballers but really... Check me out. The following night after I hived the swarm, I shuffled that fatty double decker hive, zero emission style, on my bike. While your at it, check those bling bling tires!
Light didn't work so well for seeing in front of me while riding home, but it sure made for great photos.
Bees at the bed and breakfast:
Not too big - not too small - but all and all they're in the wall.
Long narrow comb with cocktail mermaids holding the pieces together. I caged the queen cause I didn't want her to split, litterly!
I picked up Barret and Brian hitchhiking in Rutherford, dropped them off a day later and 7 miles closer to their destination. Learned a lot about thumbing it and jumping the train.
Last week I decided to ramp up my "zero emission beekeeping" a notch by doing a swarm removal on my bike. Now, I've already done several hive removals with my crew on bikes before, but this is the first time I actually rode a swarm home on two wheels! Towards the end of last season I found that the only chance I had to get in any spin time during the week was if I started peddling to some of my clients apiaries. It's pretty nice zig-zagging up and down the valley between Highway 29 and Silverado Trail. I'm loving it so much that now I am offering it as a service through the Napa Valley Bee Company. Yep, I'm committed to living the beekeeper-cyclist dream through sustainable living. Literally, that's how we roll around here! Wait 'til you see the trailer I am having made to tow behind my hoopty for the project...The bees from this particular swarm flew from a massive, old oak tree in North Napa behind the old Red Hen, you can see the tree from the freeway. Every year we can count on a primary and secondary smaller swarm splitting from this beautiful old oak. Last year the colony we collected did astounding, so well in fact, we put them in our indigenous bee breeding program after just one season. This year's swarm appears to be doing just as well, currently up valley at the Montessori Farm.
Here is a quick little video my neighbor Dave made as we rode home:
Take home message here is:
Ride your bike whenever you can...
Penn State researchers have found that viruses may be transferred via pollen. Makes sense to me that if both native and european pollinators are being affected by what we are calling CCD, we should be looking very closely at both pollen and nectar sources they share in common. It is time for all beekeepers to tighten our management straps a little and become aware of the potential diseases and pests we could be spreading in our day to day bee routine. Look at all those parasites, pests, bacterial diseases, fungal diseases, and viral diseases below, a lot of them I've never heard of before, let alone know if I'm spreading amongst my apiaries inadvertently. Yes, pollen could be the problem, but let's make sure we're not part of the problem too.
I felt so strongly about the issue I wrote this haiku:
Virus in the bees food source
Deadly flowers bloom
With that.... check this out:
Bees x 3
A full day of bees:
A few days ago I got a call from Joe at Britton Tree Service asking if I could look at a bee tree at a job site for him. I figure it's the least I could do seeing as I hit the guy up 2 or 3 times a year for chips to keep my up valley apiary looking good. I'm guessing he might not ask me out again as I suggested to the owner to cut the tree back but leave the bees until spring. I'm doing everything I can to persuade people to leave their bees until next year. I really saw it this year in the bee trailer, the bees started consolidating their stores around the brood chamber in mid-August early September. It took them about two weeks but all the uncapped nectar in the frames above the brood was removed and placed clearly around the nursery with sporadic pollen interspersed. As I see it the trailer is my new Napa Valley bee barometer. If haven't seen it you need to check it out. Next stop the Harvest Festival in St. Helena on October 16th.
Early morning helping Chad and Rob take down an almond tree that has a colony of bees in the trunk. This is going to be a big job in the spring because as far as I can see the bees are living under ground in the root system. I'm hoping the owner will build a roof over the trunk to keep the bees dry.
Look at Chad's form - like a surfer
My truck waiting to be of service
Marley just waiting....
Marley as celebrity
Then I took my ballin' bike to the shop where Keith is going to replace the ahead set. Check this bike out... How many of you out there can carry a case of wine on the front of your bike?
Off to Oakville Crossroad to remove a colony of bees out of Lance's roof. The bees are way up there so he rented scafolding.
All my bee stuff stuffed into the bed of my truck
Dead-out, the real colony was above my head
It is a healthy colony of bees
I got stuck leaving and dinged one of my front hubcaps
Lastly, I went back to White Hall Lane with the Nimbus class to go at Terri and Tom's bees for round two.
The first visit I got all stung up so it's been like pulling teeth to get me back. Terri loves the bees but Tom wants to pop a cap in 'em. And like always I had to stir it up by suggesting they leave the bees and put in a plexi-glass window to watch them grow. Terri loved the idea, Tom wanted to pop a cap in me. The bees had grown out substantially since the last removal 2 months ago.
Larry as celebrity
Capped and uncapped honey - some for now, a little for later
Andrew wants a piece of that!
Till next time........bee well!
Yesterday, September 11 at 9:11am I found myself at Justin-Siena Highschool finishing up a honeybee removal. It was one of the more challenging jobs of the season, the bees had colonized an eletrical box and completely knit their comb into the wires. After removing the bees with surgical percision and relocating them to the Carneros apiary two nights prior I was checking-up on the stargglers. What the bees left behind was impressive. Here is the story in photographs and a map:
Justin-Siena High School is a Catholic, Lasallian, college preparatory high school which serves approximately 600 young men, women, and about 20,000 bees. The School is located on thirty-seven acres in the City of Napa, the bees lived in roughly a 4x3 foot eletrical box next to the garage. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and the bees are recognized by the Western Apicultural Society.
Check this out:
A little pixelated, but not bad for starters...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qrIafNZRfg
A still photo from just before the movie was made.
Bee day II - 3/27/10
Met with John early to discuss the bees I'm keeping at his Carneros
place. We mostly talked about art and drank coffee while Davis
ransacked their toy cabinet. However, I did give him some of the honey
from the bees that is absolutely amazing. On the Bonick Family Farm the
bees first get eucalyptus in early February, then the organic Asian
pears come into bloom, and lastly the blackberry bloom under the
eucalyptus canopy -- a feast!
* Met with Roger to look into the hives I am managing for him. One of his hives kind of circled the drain this winter so I married a colony of mine from a fan division I did last week. The teak hives look gorgeous, even after going through a wet winter. The observation hive is also just busting -- it's wonderful to be able to see into the life of the bees without opening the lid. I love that hive!
* Got a call from my sister-in-law KT. She lives in Oakland and was having an early Easter party when a swarm arrived. It appears the bees are moving into a PG&E box on the ground,,, how random is that? Curious, because both my wife and son were at the party too. I'm not assuming the bees knew that and were there looking for me..
While at Roger's I got a call from a lady named Anette who was doing
the Good Sam bee thing and looking after a swarm across town. I guess
she called Luke who refereed me. Super excited because I have been watching the
oak trees this swarm came from for about 5 years now. Patience will be rewarded, or...something like that...!
I got a call from Susan, her bees swarmed earlier today. I went by her
place thinking we would dive into her colony and harvest some of the
queen cells but got there a little late. Plus, her colony is so
monsterous we'd probably be at it for hours. So we went for a walk
around her block and happened to find an abandoned house with a
feral colony living in the walls.
Hew-weee! Now that's some honey.
Johnny checking out his yum yum - Oh, incidentally, the back lit honey photo was MY idea.
Crazy mustard out there at the Carneros apiary.
Edward Emery's hive drawing after a winter.
Roger's teak hives
Roger's bees. You don't see many in this image but they're loaded with varroa
My favorite - the observation hive
I love how the rusted metal compliments the wood
and you can see inside...
My car - Annette's bike
The Bees left this hole in the oak tree.
The bees ended up on this sign where the road splits on Trower about 15' away from their mother hive.
They looked like this when I left.
Annette is a sweet as honey, but I'm not getting her shirt..?
Forest and Annette
Me and Susan in her gazing ball
Susan's monster hive
The abandon building with the bees
Perfect bee house
Okay, here's the deal. My intention was to chronicle each day's beekeeping adventure, but here I am 3 days later. So,
I'm not getting off to a great start since I still haven't posted from
yesterday-- oops, make that two days ago. Working in flashback, here's
what's going on..
* Met with Michael after dropping our kids at the Waldy School -- discussed trading bee work in exchange for Davis going to Spring and Summer camp at Connolly (flash forward to today when he actually was at the camp, when he got in trouble one time during the day and my wife was late for pickup -- good exchange).
* Received a call from Anita on White Hall lane about a swarm, her husband Dave was a great help.
* Went by a "trap out" I am working on, also on White Hall Lane in Saint Helena.
* Cleaned out the bee stuff in the back of my truck.
* Hived the swarm from White Hall lane.
* Met Nate regarding bees he has had on the property he manages. The bees have been there roughly 6 years now. They look really good considering they have not been managed in years. The weird thing is I pulled out the monitoring tray and there was drawn comb and nectar on the bottom. The hive stands are for sided wooden boxes on end, so it would make the perfect place for a second colony to live. Curious, more later...
As a reference, I put football sized swarms on three frames. I offer some drawn comb. I do my best not to offer swarms honey and pollen unless I absolutely have to, not to say that you can't spread disease from sharing just drawn comb. I'm sure there are pathogens bees can pick-up from sharing any part of the hive that is sanitized by heat. I know in the last post I was going on and on about the "goodies" I offered the storm swarm but sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures. The two extra frames in the above picture are plastic foundation being used as follower boards. Not only is the hive body beat-up, but I'm needing followers too. Hey! It's all I had around alright?..
I cut and removed the entire limb the swarm was hanging on and lowered them in a 5 gallon bucket perfed with 1/16 holes. I easily slid the entire colony and the olive branches out of the bucket into the hive.
I added an empty deep on top of the bees giving them the space and privacy to get started on their wax production.
About 7 hours later the bees shifted to the far right side of the hive -- most likely the side the queen decided to go towards. Tomorrow I'll go in and gently move the bees to the center. So much for my theory that bees will automatically jump on drawn comb.
In this "trap out" we are trying to re-route the bees from coming around the post. Their hive is behind the pole occupying the space between two interior walls. The owner, Tom, has made a plywood cover that will act as a hallway for the bees to go an extra 4' towards a hole closer to the end of the porch.
Cleaning out the back of my truck meant taking my bike out. Check out my rack...
More later on our zero emission honey bee tree removal last week.
Check out this salamander we caught by Nate's bees. Gorgeous but slimy, Davis loved it.
One of the classes is dedicated exclusively for personal hive checks. We can accommodate two, MAYBE three, hive inspections that night.Another class will cover an in-depth/ get-your-hands-dirty -garden demo. This session will focus on plants you can incorporate in your landscape that will help offer the bees a year-round pollen/nectar source. I just finished the curriculum with Michael Lauer, who runs the ranch, and he will be heading that aspect of the class. He said there will be plenty of take-home plants and seeds to get you started.
Participate in planting a demonstration bee garden, while investigating the flora that supplies local bees with nectar and pollen year round. Learn about hive construction and management, correct handling procedures at all hive stages, mite resistance, and disease control. Discover the role of bees in local pollination of food and flowers. Materials list will be given on the first day of class. Students bring their own supplies, including protective clothing. 4 weeks
5:00 pm -8:00 pm Th Connolly Ranch Keller/Lauher $85