The title of this post pretty much describes what all has been going on since my last post. So far I’ve caught 5 swarms and the hives are getting heavier as the bees are collecting nectar. Only one of the swarms I’ve caught was actually hanging from a limb, so the bee vac I built last year is seeing lots of use.
The craziest swarm capture we did so far was a small cluster that landed on top of a service truck of Pineland Telephone in Metter.
As always, if you live near Metter, GA and have a swarm that needs to be removed. Let us know and either myself or another beekeeper I know will be happy to help.
Here are some photos of a removal we did last week at Fivebraids Custom Woodworking in Metter, GA.. This colony was established several weeks ago when a swarm took up under the back of the workshop.
Photo credit: Denise Walsh
One of the best things about our second year of beekeeping is all the free bees I’ve been able to obtain. Last year I had to purchase package bees to get started, this year I’ve not spent a dime on package bees. Last week I learned of another feral colony that was causing some trouble for a lady near Soperton, GA.
The bees had taken up residence in an old 55 gallon drum. The landowner estimated that the bees lived there for 3 or 4 years. When I opened it, I found the drum was almost 3/4 full of comb and bees. It took a few hours to finish, but I managed to get the drum cleaned out and the bees hived successfully.
I have been late in posting updates on the bee removal we did in Portal last week. The colony was very healthy and the removal was largely a success. The bee-vac we built worked very well.
We hived the colony and placed it in the woods on the family farm. When I inspected the hive, I discovered that the bees had made several queen cells on the comb we salvaged. That told me that the queen didn’t survive the removal. I would buy a new queen, but in this case I am going to allow these bees to raise their own in order to retain as much of their feral genetics as possible.
Below is a couple of pictures we took before we began removing the bees. The exposed mass of bees and comb was really just the tip of the iceberg because much more of the colony was located up under the floor boards of the house above the black area you see in the picture. The 3rd picture is of the hives in which the bees now reside.
A couple of days ago, we received a call about a bee removal in Portal, GA. There’s an old mobile home that’s being torn down and it just so happens there’s a colony of bees living under it. We didn’t have a bee-vac and we weren’t prepared to have a removal to do this time of year. If we ordered a commercial made bee vac, there’s no way it would have arrived on time. Today we took matters into our own hands.
Having a bee vac is considered essential equipment in the modern age of bee removal. Suctioning the bees off of their comb helps reduce the number of stings to the beekeeper and, if done correctly, will enable to the beekeeper to capture the majority of the colony without injuring or killing them. After the bees and comb are safely removed from where they are not wanted, they can later be reunited in a conventional hive and relocated to somewhere better for both bees and people.
Below you can see a few pictures of a vac system we came up with after we researched the different designs people use. The 2HP shop-vac provides the suctioning power while the 5 gallon bucket will serve as the collection chamber to hold our bees. We improvised a crude regulator on the bucket lid to help reduce and control the suction in order to reduce the chance of injuring the bees. (We want to catch live bees, not make bee soup!) It might not be the ideal set-up for use on a ladder, but for the removal we have to do this weekend, I think it will work fine.
At this point, we are hoping the removal will go well and we can save as many of the bees, brood, and honey as possible. After we do the job, I’ll try to post some pictures and information about how things turn out.
If you are near Statesboro, Swainsboro, Vidalia, or Metter, GA. and need a swarm or colony of bees removed, please give us a call at 912-685-6759 or email me at rhettkelley77 @ yahoo .com.