Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Cut-Out That Wasn't

In the past few years, I've gotten calls about beehives, but they always turn out to be wasps. Boo. That's why I was so excited yesterday when I got an opportunity to check off an item on my bucket-list -- CUT OUT!!! Whoot whoot! There were a couple of problems, though.
  1. No empty hives on-hand (I can't believe that after last year, I STILL haven't learned -- Always keep an empty hive!)
  2. I have no clue how to use a chainsaw. I have one -- I just don't know how to use it.
My new friend, John, though, has just finished building a hive and needs bees for it. He tells me he's used chainsaws, but doesn't own one himself. We agree he can use mine, but there's a hitch -- he's not available until Friday. Not ideal, but we play the hand we're dealt. 

In the meantime, I obtained permission to visit the house where the tree was located and to do some reconnaissance on the hive. I was assured someone would be there to point me to the tree.

So I pull up to the house, and someone is there, but the tree... The tree is gone!

Apparently, the tree cutting crew took it down yesterday. From the description of the hive, I think it must have belonged to a colony that recently swarmed from another location. I'm guessing they moved in within the last few days because the hive contained only two combs with some honey, which the arborists ate.

From the description I got, it seems that the bees swarmed after the tree was felled (I was told that there weren't any bees left on the comb) and clustered on a nearby branch. Man, I wish I'd known that because I would've nabbed them yesterday! In any event, they were off to a new home by yesterday evening. The former bee-tree, being in the way, was moved to a new location. Foiled again!

Rob, the man I spoke with & owner of the tree company, shared his photo of the small cluster with me, which I'm sharing now with you.

If there's anything good that's come out of this, though, I now have a contact for more bees. Maybe next year.


  1. What a bummer! Time to make a little nuc for these occasions (or a bee bed ;-)). It's disappointing to miss a swarm and I have yet to catch one either. I have a friend who had 2 swarms in a tree next to her yard earlier this year and both times I either didn't have a hive to put them in, or was doing something else at the time. Some other lucky beek got those. But I think we're prepared for next year - she has an extra hive and I'm going to make sure I have one on hand since it seems like that's swarm tree!

    1. That's awesome that your friend has a swarm magnet! Maybe he/she will let you put a swarm trap in it! Then you'd never have to miss a swarm!

      I told the guy that I wished he'd told me about the swarm. Even without an empty hive, I could've just collected them in a cardboard box or something. I've heard a lot of bees say they do that. One old-timer told me that he was collecting so many swarms (like more than one a day) that he didn't even have time to hive them afterwards, so he just let them sit in his garage until the weekend! LOL!


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