Our Bees Get a New Home
The swarm took the bait and it’s time to move them to their new place!
By Cesar Rodriguez
The swarm that visited us last week (and caused us so much anxiety!) decided that they liked the new home we provided for them and took the bait and made themselves at home. Now that they’ve been in the box a few days it was time to see how they are doing so my good friend and now mentor Terry paid us a visit to check things out.
I don’t have any protective gear, or any beekeeper gear yet for that matter, so I stayed several feet back while Terry was checking things out. He put on his suit just in case and proceeded to open the box to check things out. A few puffs of smoke was all it took and we were pleasantly surprised to see that these bees are pretty chill so far. Maybe the flip flops helped keep them smooth!
If you remember my earlier post, the reason these bees got into our wall is because I left a gaping hole where I removed a guardrail 4×4 post as part of our ongoing deck replacement. Well, I have a bunch of pressure treated scrap wood lying around so all it took was some web searching for inspiration (Pinterest anyone?) and put the base together using my still rudimentary carpentry skill. I think it came out pretty good and it’s pretty solid. I still have some exterior paint from when we painted the house last year and off we go! I think I should have primed it but hey, pretty good for government work.
After a few more days we made plans to move them to their new digs. I located my brand spanking new stand in a spot in my backyard that I think is suitable. It meets County best practices (and requirements) for setback to my neighbor’s property line, far enough from a neighboring school playground, and it gives them lots of forage to feast on. I made sure to follow heed on the advice to locate the takeoff path pointing away from pedestrian traffic and I set up a water station. It requires manual fill for now but down the line it will get automated of course. I’ll have to read more on how to make sure to avoid breeding any mosquitoes in my water bucket that’s for sure.
The bees need to be moved at night or very early in the day before their work shift to make sure they are all home. We simply got together early in the morning, filled the entry hole with some steel-wool, and as the box was already strapped together I just carried it over down the stairs to their new spot. I read some advice to staple insect screen to keep them while avoiding to block their ventilation but Terry had this trick ready. The box fit on the base perfectly (I set it up with a slight front slope to drain any water that may get in) and since they were not creating any fuzz we removed the steel-wool plug and Shazam! that was it. Oh wait, we did sprinkle some ant killer granules around the perimeter to help keep ants at bay. I guess I’m committed now and will have to learn a lot more about our new Casa Rodriguez Bees!