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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Lucas, Collin Co., Texas, USA

    Default Accidental Beekeeper-Sort of long intro about what happened last night!

    Hello, everyone. I'm Texnana (that means Texas Grandma!) in N. Texas. I've been interested in keeping bees for several years, reading bits where I could, but never took the steps necessary to start.

    Then, about two years ago, a hive developed in the space between our back porch roof and the second-story deck above it. My husband is a big tough guy who happens to have a single phobia...bees. He immediately wanted to kill the hive, but I've managed to talk him out of it while I tried to find someone in our area who would agree to try a live removal. That is harder than it sounds!

    I kept putting off my husband's inclination to kill the bees, explaining I had no equipment, no boxes, no money to purchase them (funny, that, when I have enough to purchase quilt fabric! ;o)) Then, day before yesterday, my handyman big guy had had enough, and built a beautiful brood box, complete with wire mesh floor, entrance reducer, nicely fitting lid. And reminded me that he had been talking to a young man in a ministry group we are associated with who has been keeping bees for about four years.

    This young man had agreed to help with our problem and was due to arrive Friday morning. He's never attempted a removal, but was willing that he and I could work together to try to save the hive. The bees seem very docile, only curiously regarding me as I gardened near by. Yesterday, we held a strategy meeting, then we geared up, he in his nifty white bee suit and veil, and me in several layers of heaving clothing with duct taped openings, rain boots and leather rose gloves with gauntlets, and an extra veil from my friend. We prepared boxes to catch brood and comb, readied smokers, sugar-water bottles, scrapers, and step ladders. Then we dismantled the porch ceiling while my husband gave helpful instruction from behind the screen door. As the ceiling came down, the bees still seemed only curious. But, as we gained visual contact, we were awed by the sight of more than four foot of comb in the first joist space, extending from the middle of the porch all the way back to the house. Some of the comb was old and dry, but most of it was glisteningly yellow, and full of brood. Then we realized a new colony had started about three joists over around a can light. That comb was almost white it was so new, and beautiful to see.

    Working from step-ladders, I held plastic tubs as our bee-knowledgeable friend carefully removed comb and placed it in the tubs. By this time, the bees were becoming more alarmed and began harrassing us more. Even knowing there was little possibility of direct contact, it's difficult not to "shoo" them away. But, we exhibited nerves of steel!

    We rubber-banded large pieces of brood comb from the older hive into some empty wooden frames and placed them in the new box. The newer hive went into an extra nuc that my friend had brought for show-and-tell. He'll take that one home with him, and I plan to try to keep the old hive alive in my new box. We are reasonably sure we were able to save the queens of both colonies, and my friend discussed the idea of "re-queening" quite soon.

    I've made it sound a bit easier than it was. I did have one "bee in the bonnet" moment, and was stung on the head. I also had one sting through my jeans, but don't seem to be at all sensitive to bee venom, as after one minute of burning, I experienced no other symptoms, not even a bump.

    Of course, we weren't able to get all the bees (estimated at about 50,000) into their new home, and the refugees are still hanging around the porch. We've allowed overnight and most of today for them to salvage what honey they can, but my husband is impatient to reclaim use of our porch.

    We had many inevitable little dead bee bodies, and the previously mild-mannered bees are aggravated today! We have washed the porch with a soap and water solution, and their numbers are smaller, but a cluster of a couple of hundred or so bees is hanging at the corner of the porch roof where their little entrance used to be. I'm researching what to do about the ones left behind when we moved the hive box 50-60 yards away from the house. I'm thinking that we probably should have left the new hive close to their entrance, but hubby wouldn't hear of that.

    I need to be able to tell my beloved what to expect over the next several days (weeks?) as the remaining bees come to the realization there is nothing here for them any more. And, I need to learn what the heck to do with my box of bees! That's why I'm here!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Alachua County, FL, USA

    Default Re: Accidental Beekeeper-Sort of long intro about what happened last night!

    Welcome and congratulations! They will settle down with time. Moving is stressful and confusing for everything.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Chippew County, WI, USA

    Default Re: Accidental Beekeeper-Sort of long intro about what happened last night!

    Sounds like an awesome experience. Congratulations!

    I suggest that the bees that remain near old home are gathered in a box and are taken by your friend and combined with the small colony he took by the newspaper method. That way they wont come back unless he is within a couple miles of your place.

    Just so you know soap and water is used to kill bees. I would be a little weary of using it to clean up the mess until the bees have completely finish robbing out all the honey.

    If the bees are nice and you find that the queen is there and laying, I cant see why it would be necessary to re-queen.

    As for the hubby, all I can say is if he could find a little patience it would make it easier for all, bees included.

    Have fun

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Eau Claire, WI, USA

    Default Re: Accidental Beekeeper-Sort of long intro about what happened last night!

    This is an amazing story! Welcome and thanks for sharing!



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