To everything there is a season....
1) Confirmed Africanized bees in Pleasanton - ask Ronni, President of Alameda County Beekeepers Association (ACBA) she had a government document stating where Africanized bees been found - Pleasanton and Livermore is on it. Here’s an article from 2015 stating they’ve been found in East Bay: https://www.google.com/amp/s/patch.c...und-east-bay-0
It’s good you haven’t heard of it before, definitely don’t want it being announced and causing panic.
2) I was closing up hot hive for Moon Festival guest. Excerpt from ACBA group discussion:
At 10pm (70 degrees) I went out to close up hot queen-less hive. When I attempted to switch the hive reducer to a solid piece of wood, they started to pour out of the hive like a tidal wave! They covered my right arm swarming and stinging me through the my gloves and protective suits. I walk out the backyard in full protective gear for two whole blocks, waving frantically trying to shake them off. I wanted to run and scream but knew better than to draw more attention. (They must be Africanized; all my other bees stop following as soon as I reach the other side of the yard). I’ve closed many hives at night before with absolutely no protective gear and never got swarmed/stung. Sometimes several guard bees would come out and buzz at me but that’s about it.
With bees still flying around me, I’m now traumatized and mad as I can feel my arms burning up. In a fury, I hose down the hive, particularly the front, thinking die bees DIE. And then proceeded to hose myself to get the remaining bees off me so that I can take off the suit. I’m trying to calm down so that I can think clearly.
What did I just do? Now I have thousands of wet bees, that once they dry up will be flying and stinging my guests. I place the hive reducer bar back as it was before and head back into the house to regroup. I tend to my stings - 8 on my right arm and 6 on my hands, one on the leg. Only the one on my leg was a full sting with stinger as somehow one bee got into my suit, the rest had to go through gloves and protective gear with degrees of venom injected.
At midnight (64 degrees outside) I go back out (if I failed at midnight I’ll get another chance before dusk). I use marshmallows close out the entrance. Next I killed all of the bees hanging the hive and on the fence. I spent lots of time manually swatting the bees that was attacking the backyard flood light - lost count at 35 - probably got 50 or so. Only when all the buzzing cease, did I take off my gloves to tape up hive, and strap it down like for transport. Didn’t get to bed until 2 am.
Woke up at 8 (was suppose to be at 6 but Benadryl really knock me out), and
placed a swarm trap nuc on top of hive with a few frames and honey capping so that hot bees that couldn’t get into hive has a place to go. Lots of movements in the backyard this morning, a few lost bees sniffing around but most of it was from yellow jackets and wasps picking off bees from the ground. Fingers crossed that it’ll calm down as temperatures warm up.
Caught a swarm on my front porch, came into a bait hive by the front door. Exciting.
1st year with my bees. The likely most important thing I've learned is I probably worry too much about them. The 2nd most important thing is treat for mites. And don't overfeed, I wanted to make sure they had enough for winter and put 7 gallons of 2:1 over the last month and I finally did an inspection yesterday and the whole hive is full of mostly capped sugar honey. Oops. Bottom brood box has a bit of brood left and fair amount of pollen so out comes the feeder. Hoping to split early in spring.
NCSBA Certified Beekeeper - my Youtube Vlog
Wow fix that was some year. I read your piece. Love your devotion. An excitable hive teaches a lot. I learned to build and use a quiet box with hive cloths this year. That along with using smoke at precise moments helped me to work my busy hive just like the others. Scott Hendricks on youtube shows you how to build one if you’re interested. The box keeps them safe and less flighty and the drapes keep the bees down and calm. Highly recommended.
Just an idea to explore before requeening.
I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.
Last edited by mamm7215; 11-19-2019 at 12:10 PM.
Management lesson (more than one apiary not needed):
Feeding lesson: when blue food coloring is added to spring syrup, bees in my location mix it with all the incoming nectar from March through July and all the honey for the year is green.
Harvest lesson: make sure there isn't any brood in the supers. "Where in tarnation's is all these bees comin' from??"
Suit-wearing lesson: get gentler bees!
Mowing lesson: get gentler bees!
Keeping-smoker-lit lesson: get gentler bees!
A slip and fall in the bee yard that gave me a trip to the hospital
meeting new people. https://youtu.be/tOq54olkkag
I have really enjoyed this thread. I'm just finishing my third year of beekeeping and this is the year I decided to get serious about learning after having my ***** handed to me the first 2 years. LOL
The good- started in the spring with 2 colonies and split split split until I now have 12 colonies. And still managed to produce enough honey to sell and......................buy more bee equipment with the sales. LOL
The bad- I had one huge colony swarm right at the end of the spring nectar flow. I didnt see them swarm but could tell by the activity. Even after swarming, it was still a massive colony. I drug my feet to get in and have a look, but by the time I did the population had dropped so much the bees couldnt defend all the boxes and hive beetles took over. What a mess!
In hindsight it turned out okay. Splitting a package is a bad idea in my opinion even if its on drawn comb. Packages have enough challenges without making it more difficult with even fewer bees.
My year after that was all about building healthy new large colonies that can overwinter. I know how to split but deliberately held off in favor of built out well prepared hives. That was the right decision.
I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.
Biggest lesson for my brother and I? Never order any bees from Mountain Sweet Honey. We
ordered from them, got a ship date then they contacted us saying they had to postpone the
shipment. Fine, things happen we understand that, EXCEPT it seems they were filling and shipping
other orders while making us wait. This to me is unacceptable and they will never receive another
order from either of us.
Some days it's not worth chewing through the restraints.