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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!
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Homes for the Homeless Bees

Today was an amazing day. One of Julia's friends called her from Chastain Park (about a mile from the Blue Heron as the creek flows). She had seen a hive box in the creek over at Chastain. Julia and two friends met there and really got down and dirty.

They pulled hive boxes and hive parts out of Nancy Creek and in effect salvaged whatever they could find.

Then they went to Blue Heron and found another stash of hive stuff cast into the brush on the creek bank by the flood. Julia said there were even bees flying around.

I couldn't get there until 2, so Julia and I met there, suited up and tried to fashion a home for these homeless bees. We called Cindy Bee who said to put together a dry hive box with drawn comb frames and feed honey to the bees in an effort to gather them in one place.

The hardest part was seeing the survivor bees. Julia and I each suited up for fear that in their confusion they would want to sting us, but it was like being in a swarm - the bees had no inclination to sting - they had nothing to protect. We saw a few live bees that were muddy and trying to just move and it was awful to watch. Heart breaking, really.

We did everything Cindy said and the results you can see in the slide show below. Julia took most of these pictures. If you click on the slideshow, you can view it in a larger size:



We'll check in a few days and if the bees are in any organized position to be moved, we'll move them home and combine them with a thriving hive. Cindy said if enough moved in, we could order a queen and start another hive.

This whole event has been so sobering for us as beekeepers. The thought of "here today, gone tomorrow," is not one we have considered often as beekeepers and it made us sad.

A man who works at the Blue Heron headquarters stopped by while we were working:

"We loved having the beehives," he said. "I hope this won't discourage you from putting them here again."

And we talked about the probability of another 100 year flood!

Below is the graph of the level of Nancy Creek - it's remarkable to see the difference in the flood yesterday and the level today:

10 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:10 PM

    OH my God Linda!! That is so, so sad to see that project get flooded out like that. You know you hear about these things and see them on news, but when it hits home like that, well that is terrible.

    I know you will all start over again. Best of luck and peace to you.

    Annette from Placerville California

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  2. Dear Linda,
    I am so sad to hear of your news. My husband and I were talking about it last night and were wondering what you would find.
    I too, know you will get to start over and wish you much luck. It was sad to see the dead bees.
    My condolences to you and the bees. Kudus to the muddy rescuers.

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  3. Dear Linda,
    Thanks for the great follow-up and slide show. Happy to hear that some of the bees were still around and you have a chance of getting the survivors home. Hope you can work out something for the gardens for next year.
    Laurel

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  4. Linda, I feel so very sad for your Blue Heron bees. I do hope you'll be able to keep hives there again one day soon.
    Susan

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  5. Linda: I know you're sick about this situation, and I know I would be a wreck about it if it happened to me. It broke my heart to read about the ones struggling in the mud. But I hope the survivors will bounce back. Good luck!

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  6. Linda! Deeply saddened by this story but I know you and your team will bounce back and get things done as you used to. I wish you all the best!

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  7. So sad about the bees and their homes. We have precious few as it is. Thanks for taking care of them. We all appreciate it.

    Vikki at http://www.survival-cooking.com

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  8. Anonymous12:04 PM

    Linda,

    Thanks for the report. It is very sad. I am grateful for your faithfulness with the blog and for the well done photo documentary.

    the other Julia

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  9. I'm glad you found some bees alive (even struggling to live) because after I heard about the flood I didn't know if there was much hope aside from absconding. Is that what these bees are doing? They absconded and now you are trying to wrangle them together and try to find a home for them with a queen?

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  10. Anonymous11:04 AM

    Oh Linda, my heart goes out to you and Julia and the others after the losses at Blue Heron. I know it has been an ordeal, and very discouraging (especially for the beginning beeks). But you have shared your story with the world, and we're out here rooting for you and the surviving bees!

    Thank you for being so diligent and informative--it takes enormous dedication. Your blog can be used to teach the next generation of future beekeepers, and make them better beeks. I will be introducing local NC teachers to the wonders of Linda's Bees so they can spread the word.

    How are your bees on the home front? Hope your home beeyard is well above high water line and they're all safe!

    Chantal

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