Thursday, July 1, 2010

Date Night

Last week my mom came for a visit all by herself! Sean and I were eager to take advantage of that and get a rare date night. I was all dressed and ready to go when I got a call from 9-1-1. You see we are on the swarm catchers list and when someone calls 9-1-1 they call us. I am not one to turn down a swarm and neither is Sean, I grabbed our bee box and headed out. I figured that we could catch the swarm, eat dinner, then head home and hive the bees.
When we got to the swarm, I knew it was not going to be a simple as I thought. There were more bees than I have ever seen! It was massive and instead of settling on a branch, which is easier to catch they were on a lilac tree trunk. Instead of just pruning the branch, putting them in the box and being on our merry way, we had to figure out how to get them off the vertical limb and into the box. We had to get a larger box from a spectator because ours was not big enough.

Just in case you don't know the difference between men and women this swarm catching shows the drastic differences. Sean is all business and gets in there with some intensity. I however, had my bee suit on over skirt and my cute shoes on for our date, I also really did not want to mess up my hair (I was still holding out for dinner).
Catching a swarm is a spectacle and people seem to come out of the woodwork to watch, from a safe distance. I think the bees are fascinating and I want to educate people about them. So while I prune, and help Sean I also talk to the people, I even took the homeowners camera and put it in our swarm box to get a really good photo of the bees for her. One woman noticed my shoes and we had a great conversation about how cute and comfortable they are. I told her I got them at Goodwill and she was impressed!
Sean, didn't say more than 3 sentences the entire time, and was a little irritated that I viewed this as a social event. Later however, he laughed about it and said that was one of the fundamental differences between us. It took us 3 hours to catch this massive swarm and we got them safely in the back of my mom's car that I was driving! Only 3 or 4 were on the outside of the box. To say my mom was not impressed would be an understatement but she is pretty good at taking the good with the bad.
After we caught them, I was ready to go eat but we received another 9-1-1 call to catch another swarm. We went home, dropped off the bees in the garage and set up a swarm lure for the other
colony. We got home after 11:30 P.M. and ate some cereal and went to bed.

We were going to wait until Sean got home from work the next day to hive the bees. Unfortunately, my mom was home with the children while I went to get a haircut and when she went out to the garage, bees were everywhere! The weight of the bees on the lid of the cardboard box pulled the lid down and the bees escaped through the gap in the top!
The photos above show the garage door, and some of the unfortunate bees that succumbed to the heat in the garage.
We were able to put the remaining bees into a Warre hive 4 boxes deep! our others are only 2 deep. They have built incredible amounts of comb and are thriving despite their tragic losses.
Cleaning the dead bees out of the garage will take some time and effort, Aaron is able to wear his shoes again, however I keep finding bees, and finding bees, and finding bees.
The second swarm did not take and we just captured 2 more queens! The bees are amazing.
We never did get our dinner. Maybe next time.

1 comment:

Stacy said...

No date = SAD.

Bees = ~shudder~
I can agree that they're fascinating and I would love to learn about them, like you. But that's it. I don't want them so NEAR me. :)

But I love it that you do and that you and Sean are such pros! What a team!