After many swarm calls this afternoon, which I missed as the swarms all flew off after a few hours because I couldn’t get off work early enough to go catch them, I received a call from Barbara who has a honey bee colony in her huge oak tree that is diseased and need to be removed. So we called me to relocate the nice bees.
Since there weren’t any swarms to chase after my dad and I headed for a site check in Los Altos. Arrived right after sunset and met up with Barbara who showed us where the bees are living. This colony have been there for about two years or so and the entrance, which was pretty large, is only about 3 feet off the ground. The bees have expanded downwards and now they and the combs are exposed at the entrance. See pictures.
This huge, and I mean massively huge oak tree, probably hundreds to thousand years old, has a rotting base and an extremely heavy top. We aren’t sure if we can cut the opening any larger. If so it’ll make the job easier and we will be able to save more bees. If not then we will have to do our best to work our way into the hollow and vacuum the bees, in which we might or might not catch the queen. But the entrance is so large I’m sure we can save the majority of the bees and the combs with brood, eggs and larvae.
This massive oak tree also has an external colony located high up on a branch. I’d say about 50 feet up. The combs look old and Barbara thinks that colony is no longer active. While we were there it was already getting dark and because it was so high up we couldn’t see any bee activity. But I think Barbara is right, it’s an inactive external hive.
We are scheduled to relocated these honey bees Sunday, hopefully it won’t be in the 80s as it is supposed to hit 81F this Thursday here in the Silicon Valley. While we wait I’m sure there will be more swarm calls tomorrow. This time I’ll have everything ready in my car to hive them. 🙂