Tonight Paul retrieved our swarm of bees. We’ve been eyeing this up for a while and did have a ladder high enough to reach the branch, but honestly there was no great way to do this.
Basically Paul was 20 feet up on a ladder, with a chainsaw, about to cut down a large beehive and then climb back down the ladder carrying the branch with the hive on it in one hand.
This made me very anxious and I kept my cell phone next to me, ready to dial 911 should Paul fall from the ladder, slip with the chainsaw, or go into anaphylactic shock from angry bees. I’m pleased to report none of those things happened!
Here’s what did happen:
Paul climbed the ladder and trimmed away excess branches. He cleared the area below the branch on the ground. He ended up having to attach the branch with a rope so it wouldn’t immediately fall.
Then chainsaw..chainsaw…pull with his hand..pull harder…and snap! the branch was free and he began to descend. Now, mind you, at this point he’s holding the heavy branch with one hand and it is no longer horizontal. To my tremendous surprise the disks of honeycomb began to fall off and crash to the ground! oh no!
He made it safely down and then with flashlight and bucket began collecting the big disks.
That big branch then got placed atop the box and we began pruning away as much as we could until that could fit in the box.
Some final chainsawing adjustments right there in the box.
But what about the bees, you’re asking? This process was taking place when they were sleepy. My earlier photos during the day you can see the comb so well because they were mostly out being busy and at work. But at night they were all returned home. So there were a lot of bees. But they were drowsy and no one got even one sting! Paul placed the combs in-between the frames and then closed it up.
So, surely some bees were lost in the tumble to the ground and the transfer, but hopefully not the queen. The idea is that tomorrow they will wake up and fly out and imprint upon that location as their new home and return to it. The comb had lots of larvae in it so new bees will be emerging there, too.
So, phew! Glad that is done, hope it all works out for the best, but as far as I’m concerned we came out on top just because there were no injuries sustained. Now, bees, stay put and make some nice honey!
(We could see honey in some of the cells, but this was not a fancy photography operation given that a)I was trying to be helpful and b)it was dark and we were working by flashlight.) Well done, Paul!