Wednesday, June 17, 2009

House Arrest

We got a call from a fellow who works at the phone company telling us about some bees in the block foundation of a house out on Shipley Rd. So this was a good opportunity to use the weakest hive of the lot and use it to capture and build up the hive we hope to extract from the wall of this house.

Upon arrival, we noticed that the biggest challenge would be the height of the wall. We counted 12 blocks up from the ground as the main entrance for the hive hidden in the wall. We spent some time the first day blocking many of the holes where the bees traveled in and out. We went back today to put the hive in place. We will be extracting these bees using the cone method- using a funnel to allow escape from the wall hive, all the while using the funnel to prohibit the bees from returning to the wall hive and instead going into the new hive (which was our weak hive).
We expect the extraction to take about six weeks, based on the lifespan of the bees. In six weeks, we will go back to the hive hopefully to find a full, well functioning hive.

We have a few concerns about this particular extraction. The existing queen in the weak hive is a little aggressive. She is the original queen for this hive and this hive is what is left of a swarm captured in Sparta several months ago. It had never been very strong. If things are going well at the end of the extraction period, we will determine whether to replace her or not. Another concern is that the hive is pretty far off of the ground. If a big wind comes, the hive body should stay together because of the way it is strapped on, but the bees will NOT be happy!

The pictures show the cone extraction set up. You can see the how high the hive is from the ground with the pictures of Greg and James.

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