I have about a million photos to share from our recent trip to check on bees in the almond orchards of Northern California, but before I do that, I wanted to pop in quickly with a few shots from a recent honeybee colony removal that Henry did here locally. I’ve written about bee removals a bunch of times on the blog, and this one was pretty straightforward. Actually, it was even in the exact same barn as the one featured in this post.
The colony was settled in a section of barn wall right under the roof about 8 feet off the ground, so most of the removal activities were performed a few steps up a ladder. I was taking photos over Henry’s shoulder from the ground. Henry had already removed the siding in the area of the colony before I arrived on the scene, and you can see (above) the hive was pretty well established between studs. Henry thinks they probably swarmed in last summer.
He started by smoking them a little and then pulling/cutting out chunks of empty comb and honeycomb.
He quickly and carefully removed wax sheets that contained brood.
He cut out sections of brood comb and used rubber bands to secure them in wooden fames. He placed the frames in an empty hive box.
He set honeycomb aside in a bucket, took empty comb home to melt down, and secured all the brood-filled comb in a hive box.
He installed a stand as close as possible to the former colony location and placed the hive box filled with a feeder, frames of honey, and frames of brood on top of the stand.
At this point, he started literally using his hand to scoop up clusters of bees and deposit them in the new box.
He spotted the queen, and nabbed her in a queen catcher. The queen is often shuttled to the back of the hive during a disturbance, so in this instance, she was more or less where he expected her to be. He moved the queen into the new hive box.
Then he smoked the heck out of the whole area in order to drive bees from the old colony location into the air where they would reorient to the new hive box with its enticing brood and queen pheromone.
Henry got stung a few times, pooped on a few times (the orange bits by his temple and behind his ear), and generally had lots of bees crawling all over him.
There’s the H. Storch Pollination ad photo right here.
He divvied up the bucket of honeycomb collected from he colony between the owners of the barn and some friends.
A couple days later, Henry picked up the box where the bees were happily established and relocated it to a better location.
If you would like to purchase Old Blue Raw Honey (from our hives not a funky barn wall), we have 10 different varietals available on our website.