Thanks to the Queen bee that flew and landed right infront of me when I went up a ladder to look for her during the end of today, I can say we had another very successful live bee relocation in Palo Alto. Cathy and Ralph emailed me last week about bees in a decorative column of their arbor. I went to do a site check on Friday and scheduled the bee rescue today.
My dad and I arrived at 10 AM and we started right away. Ralph had cleared a good amount of the Wisteria vines from the column prior to our arrival so we were able to access the column without doing any gardening. 🙂 The picture above my dad is feeling the column with his hands to determine where the heat from the bees end. We have decided to make a cut about 8 inches below the last warm spot and to remove half of the column so it can be put back with ease.
I use the multi-functional tool to make the fine cut so that Ralph can put it back and still look nice after we remove the bees.
While I was cutting a lot of bees started to move up and out of the column. The queen was probably in one of the clusters of bees. We tried looking for her but no luck. The column amplifies the sound plus the vibrations I’m sure really annoyed the bees.
Here’s half of the column removed exposing the hive and combs. This colony moved in around Father’s Day. Must have been a small after-swarm because they haven’t built much comb at all. And there was very little honey stores. We saved all the brood from this colony as they needed every bit to increase their population.
Here’s the half of the column we removed. Nice fine cuts so the column can be put back nicely.
After we were done, vacuumed all the bees from inside the column, we started to clean up. I went up and sprayed some Bee-Quick around some possible hideouts the queen might be tuckered in but no luck in driving her out or finding her. Then after a while I noticed a cluster of bees on the very top of the ladder. I went up and didn’t see the queen there but then noticed a large bee landing on the Wisteria vine right infront of my face. It was the queen!!! I yelled for my dad asking where the queen catcher was, I hopped off the ladder to get it and went back up, she was gone. We look everywhere including the hive box with brood inside as I thought maybe she flew in there as it was right next to the ladder. No such luck. I kept checking the top of the ladder where the cluster remained but she was not there. About 5 minutes later I check again and she returned to the top of the ladder, joining the cluster of bees. It was an easy catch from there.
Here’s Cathy and Ralph with the Queen bee. There was a near fatal accident involving the queen during this photo process but I won’t mention what. 🙂
Thank you for calling us to save the honeybees!!!
Here’s a picture of the cluster of bees on the top of the ladder. They were still there after I caged the queen.
The once populated column is now empty.
We used the bee vac today to remove the bees but then dumped them into a deep hive box to merge them with the brood and queen. We left the box there until dark to pick up all the returning foragers.
Paul from Portola Valley also met us there. He’s getting back into beekeeping and will give this hive some TLC as they need it with their small population and almost zero Winter stores.
Thanks Paul for adopting the hive!
Again, thanks Cathy and Paul for contacting us to save our local bees!