After the farmer’s market yesterday, I rushed back up the hill so I could drop off my camera and goods before the…
get ready for it….
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY BEEKEEPERS’ GUILD MONTHLY MEETING!!!!
There was going to be a speaker, I think some prominent beekeeper/scientist guy form Davis?! Well anyways, I was about to make announcement before the meeting saying that I was looking for a strong swarm to add to my queenless hive, when James got up to make an announcement:
“Hello everybody, sooo I just got a call from some folks about a swarm in their birdho–”
AND I EXCLAIMED “I’LL TAKE THEM! I’ll take them RIGHT. NOW.” Hahahahahaha so James came over and gave me the peoples’ number. And I called and got directions to their house in Elkhorn Slough (directly inland from Moss Landing) where a swarm of bees had taken akin to their birdhouse in their tree. They said I could just take the whole darned birdhouse and everything!
I’m thinking… just a little birdhouse, right?
Just put a little strip of ductape across the hole and put 2 thumbtacks on either side, right?
Easy as that, right? Easy as pie?
If there’s one thing I’m beginning to learn, it’s
1) there’s ALWAYS a catch when catching bee swarms.
- first swarm, the report was “TONS of bees settled in a ball in my neighbor’s bush!” Actual scenario: bramble-master SLEEVE of a small swarm. An hour and a half of cupfuls and handfuls of bees ensued.
- this swarm, initial info was “swarm in our birdhouse. take the whole thing!” ACTUALLY: in a HUGE ASS (I mean, REALLY, are you housing california condors in there!?) birdhouse, OVERFLOWING with bees, no longer just a swarm, but now a functioning hive heavy with comb and honey and bees, screwed into the tree!
- tonight’s swarm, told over the phone: “totally exposed, not too high, we have a ladder. really easy– if I knew what I was doing, I’d do it myself!” ACTUALLY: at the tippy-top of a a bottle brush tree (MADE of thorns) that’s so tall the ladder wouldn’t reach. Ted and I pretty much chopped half of it out, just so I could get in close enough to reach! OH AND IT WAS HOME TO THE MOST DISGUSTING WORM I HAVE EVER SEEN.
Anyways, I bolted up to 3mile and Mike was going to come with, butttt for some reason he didn’t! I don’t know why! But anyways, Walker called me just as I had pulled out of 3mile and was like “Hey… umm… you can totally say no because I know you justtt left and stuff…. but can I come?”
THEN, just approaching town, Mason called to see what Walker was up to… long story short we ended up picking up Mason too! Hahahaha.
We finally found our way to the house at about 9:30pm, and the owners came out and showed us where the birdhouse was and where the screws were on it that we’d need to take out. They were really cool and had a ladder and light set up and everything. The birdhouse, and I can’t seem to stress this enough, was huuuuge and fullll of bees. It was SO HEAVY. We duct taped the CRAP outta that thing. I was carrying it out and Mason was all “Oh my god. You are like, holding a bomb right now holy shit.”
Annd…. I just left it in my truck overnight! I figured that since my bike lock got thrown out of the car somewhere in transit, the bees would guard my bike overnight haha. And, in the morning I would go up to 3mile after class and transfer the bees into my topbar hive
But this morning, as I woke up SOOO tired, and sipped on my large coffee to get me through my 8am and 10am classes… about 8:45 I got reallllly antsy in my genetics lecture. It was a warm day… the sun was already out… my truck is down in the middle of East Remote Parking lot… in the direct sunlight… what if the bees just… get pissed enough that they just… y’know… push the duct tape aside and start flyin around everywhere!?? I’ll let the mixed media take it from here:
And I didn’t get stung once!
Well actually, this brings me to lesson number 2.
2) It’s not the bees that get you, it’s the vegetation.
I had been tromping through stinging nettle and poison oak allll day and and the bottom’s of my feet were on FIRE from the stinging nettle that sneak-attacked me before I got my shoes on. THEN, tonight that freaking bottle brush thorn monster… ughhh.
And now, tower of honey power!
I arrived at 3mile today at about 10:30. The bees was officially cleaning up at 2:30. Finally had to leave my straining at 4:30 in order to make it to Sci Diving at the Lab at 6 (with snack duty haha). Tired doesn’t quite express….
BUT, I had a voice mail from this guy right across the street from UCSC with a biiggg swarm in his backyard.
….to be continued!