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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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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.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Beekeeper's Car and the Parking Attendant

A friend of mine and I eat lunch every other Wednesday. Today we met at a restaurant where you have to valet park. We had a delicious lunch and at the end of lunch, we walked down to the valet stand and each handed the attendant our claim tickets.

Moments later David's car arrived; he got in it and rode away. The people behind me got their car; the people standing in back of them got their car. Mine had yet to appear.

Finally my car arrived from the parking deck. The attendant jumped out out of the car, and two bees flew out with him.

"M'am," he said, "There are bees in your car!"

My guess is that he arrived to get my car and saw bees on the driver's side window. He waited, hoping they would move, but when they didn't, he screwed his courage to the sticking place and finally got in anyway. Of course, he arrived with my car and without any stings, but he probably felt insecure for the whole fifty feet of the drive!

I told him that I was a beekeeper and that there are almost always bees in my car at this time of year. He and the other attendants, listening in, looked shocked and then laughed.

I haven't mentioned yet that last night my friend Gina gave me a swarm that she collected. I drove over to her house to get it at 7:15 last night and took it straight to the Stonehurst Inn where the I-Beam swarm had absconded. I have been desperate to get bees for them and was delighted to get the swarm.

I installed the swarm in the hive at Stonehurst, but as usual when one installs a swarm, some of the bees remained in the original cardboard nuc box in which Gina had dumped them.

Hive box ready for the dumping of the cardboard nuc box.

The bees are in this cardboard nuc box.

I'm ready to put the cover over the hive when I realized two things: there were bees clustered on the outside of the top box just beneath the edge of the inner cover on both the front and back of the hive.
I had put the nuc from which they came in front of the hive, but nobody was using the front door. 

Often when you install a swarm, the rest of the bees will just file in the entrance to join the queen. Not these bees.

So I shook and brushed the excess bees onto the inner cover. I used my bee brush to gently roll the bees on the upper edges of the top box up and onto the inner cover.

I noticed bees with their bottoms in the air, signaling to their sisters that the queen was in the hive. That felt comforting but the lack of use of the front door was distressing to me, since the I-Beam swarm hadn't taken to these quarters. 

The bees began to treat the hole in the inner cover as their entry and started moving into it. I love to watch the process - it's like a slow moving river of bees.

To me this view from farther back gives you the feel of the move to the center hole. To get this moving flow of bees, I had shaken the cardboard box, shaken the empty box I had used as a pouring funnel, and brushed the bees off of the hive sides to the top. 

Although typically I would have left the cardboard nuc until the next day, I wanted to return it to Gina because the restaurant where I ate lunch was close to her house. Also it was supposed to pour rain today and I didn't want the box to get ruined. I took the cardboard box (with the few remaining fifteen or so bees) to my car. 

Thus the adventure was created for the parking attendant! 

I was so concerned after the I-Beam swarm absconded. I returned to Stonehurst tonight to check and indeed, the bees had found the front entrance and were using it well. Typically I put in an entrance reducer, but decided to leave this one wide open for now. I can reduce the entrance in the next week's visit.

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