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exciting afternoon with Bees

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amblerman
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exciting afternoon with Bees

Post by amblerman »

Besides helping me work on cars, my kids took care of bees in our backyard.

Last fall our remaining beehive was killed off by wasps/hornets.

Due to construction in our backyard, we were going to take this year off from having bees but that all changed this afternoon.

Our hive boxes from last year were just stacked on side of yard and a swarm moved in this afternoon.

Quite exciting to see. Yesterday I noticed some activity around the hive but I figured it was just a near by hive looking to score some of the left over honey we couldn't harvest.

This afternoon a few thousand bees showed up in a giant cloud and moved in.

The only downside is our hive boxes weren't stored in a location where I really wanted an active hive.
The hive box below is right next to our temporary shed containing a lawnmower.

Please ignore the complete mess of propane tanks, gear oil, and ancient coolant. We did some construction in our back yard which removed some storage and I haven't put things back in order yet.

But that is a mass of the bees once they stopped flying around and are trying to all fit through a 1 inch opening. (1 inch opening due to a winter plate being in place that restricts the opening. ). This photo was taken after about 2/3 of the bees already moved in. There were a LOT more at the beginning.

The whole move in process took about 30 mins.

bees.png
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Re: exciting afternoon with Bees

Post by abscate »

Most excellent.

How do you prevent the hornets from doing that again,control the entrance size?
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Re: exciting afternoon with Bees

Post by amblerman »

abscate wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 7:57 am Most excellent.

How do you prevent the hornets from doing that again,control the entrance size?
I don't know yet. Last fall was pretty mild. I noticed what I thought was activity in the bee hive (ie bees flying in/out) but I didn't really pay attention. Then one day I decided to watch them and realized that all the "bees" flying in and out were hornets.

It was too late at that point.

In our family I am the one with the least amount of experience with the bees. It was something my sons started and they were both off at college. I was waiting for one of them to come home to get the hive ready for winter. It was too late once I found the hornets.

We'll have to research what to do this fall.

But yes. it was a nice little surprise to see yesterday. Quite a site.
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Re: exciting afternoon with Bees

Post by abscate »

If they catch the hornet scout they form a ball around him and cook him to death. Very neat.

Hornet videos are terrifying
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Re: exciting afternoon with Bees

Post by RickHaleParker »

amblerman wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 8:28 am We'll have to research what to do this fall.
Protect your honeybees from wasps by Bespoke Bee Supply.
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Re: exciting afternoon with Bees

Post by June »

This is really neat! Of course they must be Volvo bees :D! In time I would like to see more photos and hear updates. I know nothing about bees, and have never laid eyes on a real bee box up close. I'm curious how many do you think will be inside? Do you normally buy bees and put them in the box, or is it normal for bees just to take up residence on their own? Thanks for the interesting topic! June
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Re: exciting afternoon with Bees

Post by amblerman »

Hey June,

If you wanted to start taking care of bees, you'd set up your own hive. That would entail getting some dedicated boxes and frames.
Boxes = a wood box
Frames = wood frames where the bees build their honey comb.
These boxes and frames are analogous to a file cabinet (what I am calling the boxes) and hanging files (the frames.)

You would get some bees. Your choices would be:
1) buy some bees. (easy to do)
2) get lucky and have some fly into your yard. (what happened to us this year).

Buying bees might sound odd but for a hive to exist you need a queen and some workers.
So you can buy that. You then stick them in your bee hive and let them get to work. (I've simplified this a bit....)


It is completely normal for bees to find a new home. This happens when the queen/hive gets too crowded in current home or for other reasons. The hive then sends out scouts.. Their scouts found our empty hive.

This is essentially what the hive was doing when they went out and found ours.


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Re: exciting afternoon with Bees

Post by amblerman »

RickHaleParker wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 2:37 pm
amblerman wrote: Mon May 04, 2020 8:28 am We'll have to research what to do this fall.
Protect your honeybees from wasps by Bespoke Bee Supply.
Thanks.

I had seen similar sites and came away thinking "Just a screen? Does that really help??? Can't the hornets get around that??"

And the more I read, the more I came away wondering why our hive died in the first place. It didn't seam reasonable that they got wiped out by yellow jackets as we thought our bee hive was thriving. We initially thought the source of yellow jackets was a massive paper nest we found after the leaves fell (larger than basketball) but I learned that those weren't even yellow jackets. Which then made me realize I don't REALLY know the hive was killed by yellow jackets . for all I know they died for some other reason/pest and the yellow jackets were just there after the fact.

So it really was a mystery. One day the bees were fine... 3 weeks later only yellow jackets going in and out. frustrating
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Re: exciting afternoon with Bees

Post by RickHaleParker »

amblerman wrote: Tue May 05, 2020 2:42 pm Can't the hornets get around that??"
The Hornets will follow the smell through the screen. The home bees already have figured out how to get around the screen. This keeps the Hornets on the screen and out of the hive. Buying more time for the home bees to defeat the Hornets. Same defensive strategy the Spartans used in 480 BC. Slow the invaders to a crawl then pick them off.
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