We have to thank Michelle and Giselle of Palo Alto for calling us this morning regarding a bee swarm infront of her neighbor’s bush. The honeybee swarm was there last night and they took a rough beating from the downpour we had and then some near freezing temperatures right after the rain stopped. If Michelle didn’t call most of them would have died but good news, we were able to save almost all of them, including the queen!
We drove up and immediately saw a bunch of dead bees on the ground. And then two tiny cluster of bees still hanging and dry. My dad noticed the dead bees weren’t dead. They were just really wet and cold. We first cut and hived the two small clusters . Then scoped up the frozen bees into a bucket to bring home to see if we can revive them.
What does two hardcore bee rescuers do with some almost dying bees? We try to revive them anyway possible. Here’s my dad using a hair dryer to warm and dry them up. Some of them actually started to fly after a while!
After a good blow drying we closed the lid, used an inner cover and screened the middle hole. Then it was time to keep them nice and warm. We put a lightbulb beneath the wet and cold bees. After we left the lightbult under them for about six hours we can hear them fanning, and looking through the screened bottom we could see that the majority of them were up and running again!!! YIPPIE! (Will blog tomorrow after we open it up and see how many dead bees remain on the bottom) It went from 1/3 of the bees still alive to I think 2/3 or more now. We never give up on saving our honeybees.
We had the dry bees in another box. After the wet bees were taken care of we looked into the dry bunch, and hopefully to find the queen. Here’s a first look as we removed the cover. Some bees climbed onto the comb I placed in there and some still clustered up.
And yes, we have the queen!!! She was well protected by her colony as she looked healthy, energetic, and dry!!!
After I emailed Michelle this afternoon that we caught the queen, here’s her reply.
“THATS FANTASTIC! The whole family is cheering !!!
Giselle scooped up some stragglers and brought them into the house to warm them up and feed them honey. (EDIT) When they got energetic, she took them outside, took the lid off and let them go. I think she knows there is not much hope for them, but she was inspired by you and your dad and she wanted to do her part. 🙂
Thanks again Michelle and Giselle for calling us to save this barely surviving swarm, and now that they are in our hands they should have a great chance at building a large and healthy colony.