Monday, August 6, 2012

Hurricane Bee

Okay, it's not really Hurricane Bee. It's not even a hurricane, really. It's Ernesto, a tropical storm south of Jamaica. However, Jamaica is a small island and even small storms on the other side of the island can have an effect here. It's been super windy during the day, and super stormy at night. Last night, the wind blew open the door on our house and a few windows!

However, the fact that a tropical storm/hurricane is here has not changed our plans regarding bees. Yesterday, we took down a super exciting hive - it was completely exposed! A stranger had shown us where the hive was, and we started by using a chainsaw to cut down the hive. As expected, it landed pretty hard and the bees were not pleased. This time, we were prepared & suited up!
This was probably my favorite hive. I was tying comb into the frames while Dee and Kwao were cutting up comb and searching for the queen. Dee found her, which was a first! Normally Kwao is queen-finding expert.

Then today we took down a similar hive, but with many more challenges. I spotted the queen (another first!) and we thought that was it, but the hive had been preparing to swarm, so the queen I saw was the new queen. There was another queen up in the branches of the tree, and most of our attempts to get her out ended up with bees raining down on us. Eventually we got her and many other bees into a trap hive, but the top bars were crooked and we just didn't feel good about it, so we raced home to eat dinner and build a new hive for them. We went back to put them in the new hive, but unfortunately were unable to find the queen. The bees were all fanning the entrance, which is a good sign.

So we ended up with two hives today, instead of one! It seems like a fair trade off for a bucket of honey and the sting on my finger, which has gotten more swollen since then, making this post much harder to write.

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