This afternoon was a race against a big Summer storm coming in from Alaska, just about to roll in as we started the bee rescue mission. My dad and I met Janine at the door and then the girls who were excited about the bees showed us exactly where they were located. It was dark, cloudy, and because the bees were situated underneath an arbor with overhanging vegetation it was difficult to see. So we proceeded as if it was a swarm of bees all clustered up.
We set up the ladders and other equipment and was at it. Soon after some drops of rain started and as it went on the rain became more steady and came down harder. While my dad held the box I proceeded to push the cluster down into the box all at once, then look for the queen. It was a big oops because this swarm was an established one. They must have been here for one week now and have built several combs. When I pushed down I felt something soft and then it broke loose dropping into the hive box. All right, those combs are not too useful anyways, so I went to the other side and did the same. While reaching over I must have pressed one of the bees against the arbor and got stung on my arm.
While a good majority of the bees were already in the box with the combs, we look for the queen. My dad looked a few times while I was looking up above. He didn’t find the queen after a few sweeps and then went to get a cardboard box so we can brush the remaining bees into it and dump them into the hive. While he was away I found the queen in the hive box, he must have missed her. I catch the queen and do a little show and tell. I was excited to show the family the queen and even forgot to take some pictures, plus it started to rain. The girls took pictures and even got to see eggs in a freshly built comb.
By the time we caught the queen it was raining pretty good. We put more bees in the box along with the queen in her cage and then put the hive box on top of the arbor to get the remaining bees and to be picked up another day. I’m sure the girls will be watching the hive box everyday. Perhaps I can make them beekeepers. 🙂
Thanks Janine for emailing us to save this external colony. We rescued them just in time as the big storm rolled in with a big punch in the afternoon.