Thursday, April 24, 2008

swarm capture part two

part one
it failed miserably. yesterday the robust hive swarmed and lit about thirty feet high on a cedar branch. i came home and tabitha relayed the crazy swarming highlights. the swarm was so high in the air that we had to set up a rube goldberg series of ladders. tabitha wielded the electric pole saw while i held a huge trash can underneath. part of the swarm fell into the trash can while the other part took flight. we set up a new hive bottom and encouraged them in. some of the went.. mostly they disappeared. later when i checked the new hive it was completely vacant. arrgh...

part two, day two

today tabitha found the swarm again. it was much lower to the ground. while i was at work tabitha pored over the internet regarding catching swarms. armed with new better information we prepared for the wrangling. we assembled the necessary wrangling equipment and costumes. the hive was entangled in the fence. internet instructions suddenly became defunct.
compelled by the recent failure to overcome we surmised a plan. tabitha, who was not in the proper costume, would hold a flat board against the swarm. i would then put the hive recepticle under them and shake the fence, post and cross member vigorously while she pushed on the swarm. i mean real vigorously. most of them fell into the hive receptacle.

i promptly placed the cover on top. we had them--the queen. the illustrious queen without whom a hive has no meaning. the rest of the bees wanted in. they squirmed and swarmed but still docile. i tenatively opened the bottom entrance screen hoping that the flow of bees would move in and not out. we want the bees in the hive. as luck would have it they moved in but only after several undulations that were not convincing me of inward progress. finally all but a hundred or so went in.

i took the screen and scraped most of them in and sealed the door. the few remaining bees were mad--they wanted in. i didn't care i had successfully captured thousands and thousands of bees and these few could just go back to the other hive.

the hive is successfully closed and i'll feed them sugar water for a few days. their scouts will have time to give up and stop trying to find better places than my intended hive. they will return to the old hive or die. the queen and bees will have plenty of time to settle into their new digs. at the end of the weekend i'll let them loose and they can start their new endeavor.

just before the bee wrangling tabitha found a frog in th field. he was huge. he looked tasty to me but i was the only one that really thought about eating his legs.

here is proof, besides me, that tabitha will kiss anything.
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