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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Monday, August 03, 2009

Beeyard Mayhem

At 8 PM on Saturday night I was moving a wheelbarrow through my backyard to the shed when I realized there were bees buzzing and swirling all around my yard and rising from my deck. I put on my bee jacket and veil and went out to see. Bees were everywhere. It was organized like a swarm and it wasn't apparent that any particular hive was being robbed.

The bees were all over the deck - they head-butted me no matter where I walked. Hundreds were flying in circles near my sun porch door. It was almost dark - what was this about? I assume because of the nectar dearth and the relatively low supplies for this time of year, that probably robbing was going on. I approached the two weakest hives and both, while not looking like robbing I've seen in other years, did appear to have some attacking happening on the front landings.

I immediately dropped the propped tops on all three hives and planned to get out robber screens for the two front entries of the hives that looked violated. By the way, opportunists were just waiting. I saw two bald-faced hornets get into the act of violating the hives as well as a couple of yellow jackets.

I went into the house to get the robber screens and angry bees went in with me. Usually they abandon the cause at the door, but not this time. I got the screens and put them on Mellona and Aristaeus2 since both seemed somewhat in distress. I posted on Beemaster to see if someone had an idea about what might be going on, but most of the wise people I depend on were at the Northeast Treatment Free Beekeeping Conference in the northeast and nobody answered for more than 24 hours.


On Sunday the center hive, Mellona, looks OK, but I was worried about the robber screen on Aristaeus 2. When I took it off, there were lots of dead bees behind the screen. By this afternoon (Monday), they had removed the dead and everything appeared to be back to normal. I will open the hive tomorrow and know more about what happened - if they were robbed and what is the state of the hive.

Meanwhile I had a wedding shower at my house on Sunday morning and didn't have the time to rescue with the glass and postcard all the bees that were on my porch. I carried about 20 of them outside that way. But then I am ashamed to say that I vacuumed up the 102 others that were still on the sunporch. I was afraid of having them there with all the people coming to the shower and I didn't have enough time to remove them one by one. So I was part of the hive devastation that happened on Saturday night.




If you click on the picture below to enlarge it, you'll notice in the lower part of the picture a bald-faced hornet attacking a bee.

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1 comment:

  1. What a story! I hope things settle back down. You did what you had to do. Good to hear from you again. Seems like it has been a while. Can't wait to hear the update on the tree trunk issue. Thanks for sharing.

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