In my blog I plan to chat about nature, crafts, baking, gardening, beekeeping, family, and whatever else seems appropriate at the time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Swarm Lesson - read it even if you aren't interested in bees....to educate yourself! You could get a swarm whether you want one or not!

 I've received three calls in the last two weeks to come and get "swarms".  I don't usually bother in the fall, unless people touch my 'sympathy nerve'.  Here's why...most of the calls are not honey bees (see post before this one), they are usually yellow jackets, and most swarms are about the size of your fist in the fall.  Not big enough to make it through the winter and not worth my time.
One call on Saturday was from a guy who is doing construction work and "cannot continue until the bees are gone".  And it was only three miles from our home, so I went.  On the phone he said the swarm darkened the sky, it was like a huge cloud.  I said that is unusual for this time of year.  This is what I saw when I got there.  

 Honey Bees were flying in and out of this hole. 
 
I'm wondering where the swarm is, so I asked...and found out...."it was huuuuggge"....."in June."  Peeps, if you see a swarm of bees land somewhere, In JUNE, call your local extension office in JUNE, IMMEDIATELY, and get the name of a beekeeper to come and get the swarm. If you don't have an extension office, call the police dept., fire dept., local beekeeping association, etc.  How do you know if it's a swarm of bees....it does look like a dark cloud flying quickly across the sky, and when it lands, it's usually the size of a football. Watch where it lands and make a call.

Here's the thing about swarms.  They don't usually bother you if you don't bother them.  The swarm will stay where it lands anywhere from three hours to three days. Then it moves on.  It could go into the house it landed on, into your house, a barn, a dead tree, you get the idea.  But once they get in the house, they are hard to get out without tearing the house apart.  These bees are flying in this hole, but after removing the osb wall, we saw no sign of a hive.  You know why?  Because they are much smaller than a human, and newsflash, they can fly.  That hive can be anywhere in the attic or walls at this point.  They might fly in this hole, but who knows how far back they go.  They've been building a hive since June in this house!  There could be 60-80 pounds of honey in that house!

He asked if he could kill them.  Sure...go ahead....if you can find them.  Then, next year, plan on killing wax moth.  Click on wax moth for pics.   Because once you have an unprotected hive, wax moth will move in.  Ask a beekeeper.  Ask my friend Marcia.  Ask you, since you've read this!  Your local exterminator knows this, but he probably won't share that information.  But when he leaves he'll hand you his business card with a smile, "in case you have any more problems".  He knows you will....you now have an empty hive in your house. I don't know the people that owned this house, but you can tell by the way they take care of their house, they are very lax about things.  They should have made the phone call in JuneI left.

The second call, which came within ten minutes of the first call, was from a man who owns a local excavating business.  He keeps my name and number on hand, because every now and then he tears down a house that has a hive in it.  He doesn't usually know the house has a hive in it, until it's on the ground, which is unfortunate.  You can see a post here from another time he called me to get some honey bees. 

 This trip was not as successful as the last time.  This is all the bees that were left.  Not worth driving to the other side of town.  I picked them up and put them in a box, but there weren't enough bees to mess with really.  And NOTE that the owner of the excavating business is not the owner of the house.  And the owner of the house had no idea that the owner of the excavating business called a beekeeper. When I got there the homeowner said, "what a great idea."  But when one of the people hanging around said, (use your doofus voice here) "yeah, a couple uh weeks ago those bees started coming at us so we sprayed 'em.  Think we coulda killed the queen then?"  I left.

I wasted my entire day.  Those "swarms" which weren't swarms at all, were in different counties, and on opposite sides of town.  Not worth the trip.  When you call a beekeeper to get a swarm, educate yourself, make sure it is a swarm.  And guess who else learned a lesson or two here?  Me.

Go here and here for real swarm stories or to see what a swarm looks like.

Cindy Bee

11 comments:

  1. Sounds like the kinds of calls I got when I was a rehabber!
    Jane x

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    1. You need to post some of your rehabber stories!

      Cindy Bee

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  2. Oh I LOVE when you teach me things I DO NOT KNOW, you explain it so well and I feel like I am there with you. I cannot believe that exterminator they should tell the homeowner. You are a great person to warn us all. I kind of hope every time I go to the woods there will be a "Honey tree" we had one once about ten years ago but I am sure you know what happened to it. Yup bears:) I think they chased them off they probably live another county over. Drat I love fresh honey. Hugs B

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    1. Buttons!!! IF you see a "honey tree" RUN FOR THE HILLS!

      Cindy Bee

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  3. I'm so pleased I stumbled across your blog as I'm really enjoying it..and especially the pitfall stories. I've just done a beekeeping course as in time I hope to have my own hives. It's really good to learn the realities and not just the theory. Best wishes from the UK. Philippa

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    1. Hi there Philippa,
      When you start beekeeping you'll have to post some of your stories. I'm interested in how other people tend hives, especially in other countries. I heard a very interesting story last night that people in China play music for their bees to help with honey production and healthier hives. Whoda thunk it!

      Cindy Bee

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  4. Too true ! We are still amazed at the response of so many to spray bee-killer when they have a hive, and also at how many people cannot tell the difference between honeybees and yellow jackets. But then, so many people avoid any & all bees, so we're not too hard on them. Just wish they weren't so hard on the honeybees.

    I posted a bit today on your gifts to us, our amazing prizes. Thank-you !

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    1. Hi Kathy,
      I hear ya...we gotta be nice to the uninformed! Sometimes though...when my hormones are moaning, I have no patience and a short temper! Makes me feel like stinging someone!!!

      Thanks for posting about the gifts. I'm glad you like them.

      Cindy Bee

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  5. Visiting via Kathy at Cedar Pond; Daddy has been bee keeping for more than 70 years and the stories he tells! People are...hmmm...want to be polite but I just don't know how, especially when it's so dang easy to become informed. Anyway, Steve, my brother, just gave me several jars of late season honey and it is, as always, delicious.

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  6. Hi Thistle Cove Farm! Thanks for stopping by. I guess we should just call them uninformed people, and leave it at that huh? Late season honey....people either love it or not. I have a couple of requests for it, so I reckon I'll be extracting one last time, probably this weekend. (sigh)

    Cindy Bee

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Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to leave a comment on my blog. I enjoy reading them. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Cindy Bee