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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bandon, OR
    Posts
    109

    Default Just about as natural as you can get

    I call myself a 'natural beekeeper,' but this was just plain luck. An August swarm appeared on our plum tree behind my Bee-atrice log hive. I knew it probably came from the log hive and sure enough, when I peered through the observation window, there were many fewer bees. I was totally bummed because that hive had started from a wild swarm that chose Bee-atrice log hive only two months earlier. It had built up fast.
    Meanwhile, my old log hive, Bee Beard, which had given me two years of photo opportunities without me intervening in any way, had been in decline. I let it get robbed out by one of my other hives and was content to let the wax moths come in to clean out the wax when I spotted a Bald Faced Hornet entering and leaving. Yikes, I don't want a hornet setting up residence, over wintering here. So I took Bee Beard apart, cleaned out a mountain of old wax, and when the swarm appeared, I set it back up as a 'just in case' scenario.
    I hung around with my camera in hand, shooting video of the waggle dancing on the swarm, and scout bees checking out my newly cleaned Bee Beard log hive. I knew that swarms usually take place between 10 am and 2 pm, but it was after 2 when it started. I was able to get video of them after they had lifted off the branch and they were up in the air. My wife and I stood in awe of the energy of thousands of bees swirling around us. I panicked for a brief time when it looked like they were flying past the log hive. They finally settled on the face of Bee Beard and then started making their way into the hive through the mouth entrance. I'm afraid I got a little emotional about it in the video, but what can you expect?
    Here's the play by play of Bee Beard is back. http://solarbeez.com/2014/08/11/bee-beard-is-back/
    Also Bee Beard's back story http://solarbeez.com/2014/08/09/bee-beards-back-story/
    and the swarm's back story http://solarbeez.com/2014/08/10/the-...rms-backstory/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Grand Prairie, Texas, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Just about as natural as you can get

    That is one amazing log hive! Did you do the carving yourself? Beautiful! I want one now. :-)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Fort Wright Kentucky USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Just about as natural as you can get

    Great story and one very cool hive. Just what i needed... another project i want to do.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bandon, OR
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Just about as natural as you can get

    Quote Originally Posted by ikswokjag View Post
    That is one amazing log hive! Did you do the carving yourself? Beautiful! I want one now. :-)
    Well, I carved the INside...For the outside, I contacted the resident chainsaw carver in town. (I had my wife's permission) He's the one that came up with the idea of a pivot hat so I could get inside if I wanted. A very talented guy. I'm hoping he will carve a third log hive that will have two faces...one for summer and one for winter.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bandon, OR
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Just about as natural as you can get

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrickshmoe34 View Post
    Great story and one very cool hive. Just what i needed... another project i want to do.
    You will absolutely never regret it. I figured I would use it to throw swarms which I could either keep or trade for biodiversity. It's also a great yard ornament. I carry around pictures of it to show whenever the conversation turns to beekeeping, which it somehow always does. Hmmm, I wonder why...?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Maple Valley, WA
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: Just about as natural as you can get

    Very cool ... and very lucky to catch it in action.

    Love the hives!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bandon, OR
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Just about as natural as you can get

    Quote Originally Posted by cryptobrian View Post
    Very cool ... and very lucky to catch it in action.

    Love the hives!
    They don't call me bee brain for nothing. I had my camera ready. I just wish I could have shot the "lift off." I was close, but since it was after 2 pm, I figured they wouldn't be going that day. The whole thing took only about 10 minutes. I could have been in the house or working in the shop and missed it completely.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,178

    Default Re: Just about as natural as you can get

    I have had the opportunity to stand in the midle of two swarms this season. It is a particulary unique experience. I did not get the added benefit of watching them enter one of my hives. You have an amazing hive there. Thank you for sharing it.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Fort Wright Kentucky USA
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Just about as natural as you can get

    it the Bee-atrice log hive any different in design? I would be interested in see some pics of that one too. Thanks

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bandon, OR
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Just about as natural as you can get

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrickshmoe34 View Post
    it the Bee-atrice log hive any different in design? I would be interested in see some pics of that one too. Thanks
    I've got the details here...
    Carving out the inside: http://solarbeez.com/2013/04/26/pats-new-log-hive/
    Carving the face: http://solarbeez.com/2013/04/27/bee-atrice-the-carving/
    Torching it out and getting the quilt box and top bars ready: http://solarbeez.com/2013/04/27/prep...or-prime-time/
    The swarm I dropped in on April 27, 2014 was a cast swarm. The photo makes it look huge, but it's just the camera angle. That little bunch of bees never really built up. The comb they built was only about 8-9" long. In the December cold snap we had, they didn't make it. So Bee-atrice was basically yard art until June 6th when the big swarm blew in. I wish I could have seen it, but I was out of town, and like I witnessed last Saturday, it only takes about 10-15 minutes for them to get themselves settled in the hive.

    Brian Vorwaller, the chainsaw artist is pictured in "Bee-atrice, the Carving. He also carved my first log hive as can be seen in this sped up video his wife, Zada, shot. http://solarbeez.com/2012/02/11/the-...a-log-beehive/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bandon, OR
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Just about as natural as you can get

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    I have had the opportunity to stand in the midle of two swarms this season. It is a particulary unique experience. I did not get the added benefit of watching them enter one of my hives. You have an amazing hive there. Thank you for sharing it.
    Yes, there is so much energy from the bees when they are flying around and around. It's almost like standing in a vortex. Them going into my empty log hive was truly unique. A very thrilling experience.

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