Friday, June 15, 2012

Capturing a Wild Hive

A little over a month ago my wife and I were walking past the entrance to a neighborhood near our house when I noticed an unusual amount of bees flying out of a bush.  So, being the big geek that I am, I looked around the bush and found this brick post column behind the bush.  And coming out of the the lower post hole was a bee hive!  I had been wanting to add a second hive to the backyard without having to purchase more bees, so this discovery was perfect timing.  The next photo (altho it's kind of hard to spot the bees) shows the foragers coming out from around the post.  I took an old bait hive box from home and balanced it up on top of the higher beam.  I baited the hive box with some attractant and a couple of frames of comb and honey.

Then I took the fence post out and built a screen funnel, taping it over the entrance of the hive (post hole) and positioned it up to my bait box.  But I noticed after a week that the bees weren't interested at all in my hive and continued to cluster under the box.  The photo below is the FIRST cluster that I've "harvested".  It would be great for them to start taking up residence in my box to make it easier for me to transport the whole colony, but as you'll see in the next videos it's not that hard to collect them when they're all clustered in one spot.  

sorry about the landscape crew in the background.

Eventually, the bees from the "foreign" hive will chew through the newspaper and integrate with the already established hive.  You use this method because bees are all about how you smell.  If you don't smell like the rest of the colony, you don't belong.  So if I were to just open the box and dump the new bees in all hell would break loose and the existing hive would try to kill as many of the new bees as possible.    This way the new bees take on the right smell as they slowly move into their new home.  

1 comment:

  1. Absolutley fascinating. Who held the camera for you?