We’re Still Swarming

I don’t know how much honey we’ll make this season, but I know we’re making new colonies left and right. Seems like my hives are issuing swarms everyday. I don’t know about other beekeepers, but other than rotating the hive bodies, I don’t really do too much to try and prevent swarming. I’ve read that swarming reduces the honey harvest, but I just don’t have time to be going through every hive removing swarm cells all the time.

We’re now up to 13 ten-frame hives and 1 five frame nuc. After we harvest honey, I plan to make some Summer splits as Kim Flottum recommends in his book Better Beekeeping. I figure we could have well over 20 hives for 2014 if the splits make it through Winter.

On a separate note, the Ogeechee Area Beekeeper’s Association will be meeting again on May 30 at the Botanical Gardens at Georgia Southern University. Our guest speaker will be Clay “Bear” Kelley who serves at the Vice President of the Georgia Beekeeper’s Association.

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Catching Swarms while Supers are Filling

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.

2013 Season Begins!

Yesterday evening I was grilling some chicken wings when something caught my eye in the oak tree above me. It was a large swarm that issued from a colony in my backyard.

I sprang into action, backing my truck under the tree so I could reach the limb with the clippers. During the process of trimming some limbs around the swarm, a small wad of clustered bees fell onto my unprotected left wrist and hand. Naturally, several of the excited bees plunged their stingers into my wrist.

It hurt, but because I was so focused on getting the swarm, I just allowed those stingers to continue to inject venom as I got ready to cut the final supporting limb. After I cut the limb, the main mass of the swarm landed in the hive awaiting them below. It was a successful capture.

What I didn’t expect was my body’s reaction to the comparatively large amount of venom I received from these stings! Instead of the localized pain and swelling, I started having a systemic reaction. I began to itch all over, I developed hives all over, and I began to have a sense of panic. I took Benadryl at the instruction of my wife and my brother-in-law (a paramedic) told me to increase the dose to 100mg. A short time later I was much improved, though very drowsy.

The only thing I can think of is that whereas I normally scrape off a bee stinger almost as quickly as I am stung, in this case I received a full dose of venom from several bees and my immune system reacted (or overreacted) accordingly. I just hope this was a unique incident and not signs of worse reactions to come.

I guess the 2013 season is now underway. I’ve been looking forward to this year as we have 11 hives now in their 2nd or 3rd seasons. We’re really looking forward to the harvest this year.

Bee Removal @ Fivebraids Custom Woodworking Inc.

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

Swarm Capture at Lowe’s in Vidalia

Today we got a call about a large swarm hanging from a tree in the parking lot of Lowe’s in Vidalia, GA. My son Cordell and I hurried down to Vidalia to catch the swarm.

When we arrived, it was the perfect situation: Large swarm and hanging low to the ground. While Cordell snapped some photos, I sprayed the swarm with sugar water and shook them off into a couple of medium hive bodies below. I am guessing there were 6 to 8 lbs of bees in this swarm.

After we captured the swarm, talked about bees with Lowe’s associates and management, and came on back to the farm. We really appreciate Orkin of Vidalia for the referral and the folks at Lowe’s for allowing us to capture the bees.

The bees are now safe and sound here at the Kelley Honeybee Farm and we look forward to seeing the hive get established and start producing honey.

We are happy to capture swarms within reasonable driving distance of our apiary. If you have a bee problem or find a swarm, give us a call at 912-682-3806. We would be happy to try and relocate the bees.

Bees Removal Opportunities at Walmart!

Just thought I’d post a quick note for my fellow beekeepers:

I’m an assistant manager at a Wal-Mart Supercenter. According to company pest removal policy, any local beekeeper can be called to remove swarms that may end up on Wal-Mart property.

I’ve worked for Wal-Mart for a little over 16 yea and last year I had the privilege of being able to catch a small swarm hanging off of a trailer at the Distribution Center where I worked prior to being promoted.

I would recommend going and speaking to your local Wal-Mart store manager and let him/her know that if there’s ever a swarm of bees on Wal-Mart property, you would like for them to call you to come get them.




Swarm Capture: Crider Poultry

Yesterday we were called about a swarm that needed to be removed at Crider Poultry Inc. in Stillmore, GA. When we arrived, we were directed to small swarm hanging from a table outside of the First Aid office. I used a cardboard nuc for the capture as my son Cordell took pictures and video:

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If you live near Metter, GA. and have a swarm that needs to be removed, please give us a call! 912-685-6759