Sunday, June 24, 2012

Robert, Dean & Ray Extract a Beehive from a Tree!

We got a call from Ray in Crescent Township who discovered a feral beehive in a dead tree he was sawing down for firewood. Robert and Dean swarmed (!) into action to extract the colony from the tree and give it a good home. 

The small cavity in the tree  where the colony took up residence
Sawing through the log to get easier access to the colony.
Bees aren't fond of loud noises or vibrations, so this was likely a bit upsetting for them,
yet surprisingly, no one got stung!

A bit blurry, but still interesting!
This is a photo of capped brood in the honeycomb the bees built in the tree cavity.  Capped brood are young bees in the pupa stage.  To successfully extract the colony from the tree, Robert and Dean want to get as much
of this capped brood as they can, since soon they will be the workforce that helps the colony survive.

Great photo of the honeycomb layers the bees built for their colony.  Robert says that the colony
was "quite convoluted and in a rather small space."

The lighter honeycomb pieces above are newer comb that the bees just built this year.
On the darker comb, you can clearly see the capped brood (the cells that are "capped" with beeswax).
The lighter comb also has capped brood--it's just a bit harder to see. On the top piece of lighter honeycomb,
you can also see the nectar the bees began storing.  It's in the open cells on the left.
(HEY! is that my good bread knife???)

Dean is taking the honeycomb with the capped brood and using rubber bands to hold it in  an empty frame.
The hope is that the bees will begin to attach the comb to the frame with beeswax
and settle into their new home at the Spring Street Farm in Aliquippa.
We'll report back in a few weeks and let you know how they're doing!

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