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A long time friend of mine, Reed, had been wanting to start keeping bees for a couple of years now. He had been hearing so much about bekeeping that he just could not resist anymore.

This last March he went to the KHP meeting and that night MB and I answered almost as many questions for him as we would here in a month.

He ordered a package at the meeting and I planed to have a swarm for him by the time the package came. He was going to buy a queen for the swarm but mine came in the mail :sad: and I let him have one of those.

If I could have only had the experiance he had, my learning curve would have been SO different.

Last Monday I had a swarm call. It was on the ground in the back yard in eight inch grass. I hate those kinds, can't do much except coax them into the nuc box. Scoop what you can and entice them with a little syrup and HBH. They finally marched into the box just before it started to rain.

Thursday the queens came in the mail.

Friday I had another swarm call. Since last winters ice storm we have had a lot of tree clean-up going on but this one was a bit different. The tree trimmer had cut down a limbless tree that fell into a creek, it had a colony in it and they swarmed out and into a fir tree next to the driveway. Well this turned into an emergency as they were repaving the drive that afternoon and the bees just had to go away NOW.

OK, got the colony in the nuc, or most of it anyway, gathered up the other swarm, my new queens, parrots, clothes, food, etc. and headed up to the farm to meet up with Reed. Remember Reed?, he's my friend from KC.

So Reed shows up with his new package, freshly painted boxes, SBB's I made, inner covers, tops, and a new veil. We went over the plans for the next day and turn in early.

I got to the farm before Reed and unloaded the swarms while it was still daylight. If you haven't used PermaComb you may not know that it does not have self spacing endbars, but rather set in spacers attached to the box. Until they are propolized they will swing in transit especially in new equipment. The earlier swarm was well adjusted and setteled into their new home with the queen laying. But the colony I caught that day was overcrowded and overstressed in the rough ride. I should not have opened the nuc right away and let them settle, but Noooo, I had to let them out and they did the Chineeze firedrill.

Saturday morning came and we drove the Gator and all the stuff piled high out to the yard for our days work. After walking about checking the entrances and getting lined out we looked in the nuc to see the colony retrieved the day before. It wasn't a big surprise they were gone. :eek:

Looking about, sure enough there they were in that nasty hedge tree I have told stories about before. It keeps getting smaller as I trim off the limbs with the swarms, but this time I was going to cut that **** tree down! Then I got to thinking, (I know), if I make it shorter the next swarm will be easier to get to. So we drive the Gator under the tree, stand on a hive box, cut most of the way through the limb with a chainsaw and pull it gently down with almost all the bees attached. We drug the limb to a dead out and layed the limb on top of the topbars and watched the bees migrate into the hive. After about five minutes we put the top on and put the limb by the entrance for the rest to march in. That was fun.

Then we moved on to hiving his package. Textbok job. I love watching bees scent, fan and march into a new home.

Next it was finding the old queen in his swarm I caught Monday. After HE found the queen it was quite evident why the swarm was on the ground. Both wings were very rough, but one looked like it was clipped, it was that short. We transfered the colony into a ten frame box and pinched the queen. Later that day we inserted the new queen spraying her with syrup to mask her scent.

We then went about finding and caging old queens to be replaced. We found a couple of small colonys, one queenless, and did a combine.

I still had a LC colony in deeps that was huge, so we did a walkaway split.

We also found a micro-swarm under a queenless colony. I was unsure where it came from, so until I could figure that out we pulled a frame of bees and brood and made a small nuc with it. As it turned out it came from the hive it was under. It was either a virgin who could not find her way back inside or the old queen being thrown out. I found no signs of a hatched cell inside.

I also came across another oddity. A hive with quite a few bees but absolutely no brood, opened or capped, and no eggs. What it did have was two queen cells just a few days from hatching. Where could those eggs have come from?

The colony that I had posted about not having a queen a month or so ago, and I have added frames of bees to twice, was still queenless and we requeened that hive as well.

So, what a first day for a new beekeeper!

Caught a swarm out of a tree.
Hived his first package.
Found his first queen and requeened.
Transfered from a nuc to a hive.
Found and caged lots of queens.
Caught a micro swarm and made a nuc.
Made a walkaway split.
Combined light hives.
Rotated brood boxes.
Fed lite hives.

And even stopped for lunch. What a day.
 

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That seems to be a great way to lean, do a bit of everything all at once.
I wish I were able to learn the craft of beekeeping that way, I’d be prepared for just about anything.
 
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