Bee Removal--Joshua, Texas April 16, 2010
Good thing the 'girls' were lots of hard working bees! Hubby and his buddy went late on Friday night to do a bee extraction in Joshua, Texas. They left our area at 10pm and did not get home again until 4:30 am. It was a cool and rainy night, not a time for happy bees. This hive was located under a trailer home and only a day or so before, the hive had split and part of the bees had left as a swarm. The guys were very happy to find the swarm was still on the property, in a small bush about 2 feet off the ground. The guys used both of their bee vacuums to capture the swarm and the hive separately.
I woke up to help them when they got back home (and by help, I mean feed the tired hungry guys and take lots of pictures). This is the cooler full of comb and honey. The brood comb is the darker stuff to the left and the honey comb is the lighter stuff to the right.
The brood comb was filled with actively hatching new bees. We were able to watch one after another chew and climb out of their cells.
This series shows a new worker bee hatching from her cell. First just the head is visible, then her body, then she pops out and quickly starts crawling around. The first job of a new worker bee is to clean up her own cell to prepare it for the next round of new bees.
Here is drone cells and brood. The drone cells are the higher cells to the right side of the comb. The brood is the shiny white baby bees inside the open cells. These brood are cared for by nursery worker bees.
This is a queen cell with either royal jelly or a dead queen inside. When the queen leaves or dies, the worker bees make a new queen by building a big queen cell (several of them actually) and feeding that brood a special mix of food called royal jelly.
This is another image of a queen cell (rising upward in the middle of the upper comb) and colorful pollen stored inside the open cells.
The pollen is all different colors depending on where it was collected. The next image shows some pollen cells cut in half. The layers of different colored pollen visible, even if the comb is a little bit squashed.
Here is more drone cells along the edges of this comb
My favorite, the capped honey comb. The honey is stored in newer wax comb and a wax lid is built over the honey once it is finished.
Here is a comb of uncapped honey. The bees were still working to remove excess water from this honey before capping. This comb also has a suspicious looking bit mark out of the top of it...
almost like someone took a bite directly from the comb...
Ah, the joys of working with edible products.
In order to give the evicted bees the best possible chance of survival, we cut their existing comb so that it will fit snugly inside a commercial bee hive.
The bees own honey, pollen, eggs and brood are placed into frames and moved to a hive body.
For this hive, we were able to rescue about 6 frames of comb for the bees.
Hard working beekeepers in matching outfits (okay, so it is really rain suits)
The extraction at Joshua Texas was one of the most brutal yet, hubby got stung about 12 times. His friend was only stung once or twice. Several things made this not so good...
the weather was cool and rainy and the bees were pissed about being evicted from their home. Since they had just swarmed, it also probably put them in a bad mood. The guys new rule is to only do extractions on dry and not rainy nights.
Here is the bee vac designed by our friend. It is two industrial trash cans bolted together.
The bees are all inside the cans. To get them out, the can is tapped hard to knock the bees to the bottom, then it they are tipped into the waiting hive body.
Inside is a 5 gallon bucket with holes drilled in it that acts as a diffuser.
The bee vac is hooked up to a canister style shop vacuum so the suction force must be reduced to avoid harming the bees. Hubby has a bee vac too, I'll do a in-detail post on his vac sometime.
Other notes on this bee extraction:
1) the honey was amazing, sweet and golden with lots of freshly capped honey
2) the bees were more defensive than normal
3) tons of brood of all ages present in the hive
4) about 14 pounds of honey were harvested from this extraction (more info on that later)
5) swarm bees went to friend's house