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Author Topic: Bee Swarm in Arizona  (Read 2492 times)
Gramma Debbie
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« on: April 17, 2005, 12:58:30 PM »

Good Morning-
 
We are looking for contact information for a bee keeper in Tucson.  Recently, a swarm of bees has been  setting up house in a portable compost bin in the back yard of an elderly friend of ours.  Last week, some friends noticed a few bees coming and going, now they have seen a swarm coming in to the compost bin towards evening.  Yesterday, at any given point their were a minimum of 50 bees crawling on the outside of the container, and coming and going from the air holes in the sides of the container.  Another friend was helping out by doing some yard work two days ago, and was stung twice.
 
I would very much like to see a bee keeper be able to give them a more suitable home, rather than have someone come in and kill them.  If you could provide me with some direction in this area, I would greatly appreciate it.
 
Thanks much for your time-
Debbie Owens
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Gramma Debbie
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2005, 03:17:56 PM »

Okay, here is another thought of mine  Tongue .  I am not a squimish kinda gal.
I have lots of creepy, crawly, pets so don't let the "Gramma" part fool ya wink

If anyone has any ideas about how I could cover this portable compost bin, and transport it to a better location (where they could choose an area in the wild to make a hive, that would not be highly populated), I would be willing to give it a try.  The compost bin is actually a garbage can, on wheels, with a flip top lid, and holes drilled in the sides for ventilation.

Since the bee hive is so conveniently contained, it would be really easy to bag it, and kill the bees, but I very much want to preserve their lives and give them a chance to set up house in a safe place for them.

BTW-  Is it true that if you move the bee hive container at night, that the bees will not come out?  If so, that would make my job alot safer and easier.  I am reading thru the posts, so if you can point me to any links that would help me, I would be ever so greatful  Smiley

Thanks much,
Debbie
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BigRog
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2005, 03:30:04 PM »

I emailed one of our members in phoenix. maybe they can help you out.
Bees can get a bit upset when being moved, you would need protective gear. At night they should all be in the hive. It would seem to me that this would be a easy swarm capture. Good luck and I hope our member reads this and can help you.
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"Lurch my good man,…what did you mean when you said just now that 'You've got better things to do than run my petty little errands'…….?"
Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2005, 04:43:44 PM »

It's not true that bees won't defend at night.  They are more defensive at night.  I never bother them at night other than to close up an entrance so everyone is home at the time.  Smiley
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Jerrymac
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2005, 04:52:52 PM »

I will have to DIS-agree with Micheal as I went after a bunch of bees at night to fininsh up a capture. They were nothing like they were during the day.

If nothing else I think all you would have to do it simply open the top. Then they wouldn't have a place to build comb, and would be open to the weather. They will leave.
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

 Jerry

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Gramma Debbie
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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2005, 08:26:08 PM »

Big Rog-  Thanks for helping.  Appreciate it.  Hoping they see the post as well.

Jerrymac-That is an interesting solution that you offered up!  I wonder if opening the lid would work? There is a possibility that these bees could be Africanized, since we have had AHBs in Arizona quite a while.  Do you think they would be really PO'd in the morning, when they found the lid gone? Or would they just move on??  I just don't know bee behavior patterns very well  cry

I am hoping I don't have to kill them, but maybe I am unrealistic about the posibility of saving them.  We have had a very wet fall and winter here in Arizona, so they are telling us to expect a dramatic increase in the bee population.  Everyone in Arizona is scared to death of the AHBs.  Consequently, popular opinion is to kill them.  I am not sure I agree.

Thank you everyone who is able to post their opinions and experiences.  It helps alot  Cheesy

Debbie
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2005, 08:58:07 PM »

I"ve only opened a hive once at night.  It was a very gentle calm hive and I pulled the inner cover to put on some wet supers that I just extracted.  The reaction was sufficient to convince me not to ever try it again.  Not only were they agressive, but they were also very persistent.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2005, 09:19:09 PM »

I too have been zinged by bees at night.  I don't recommend it.  I wonder if since jerrymac was completing an extraction, they were without queen and demoralized or something along those lines.  Package bees that don't really have a home to protect are pretty docile.  Give em a box and let the queen lose, and it's a whole different animal.
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Gramma Debbie
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2005, 09:24:30 PM »

Hmmm.........  I wonder if it is possible that there is no queen yet??  I was within 3 feet of the compost bin and they never even gave me a second look.  

Debbie
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2005, 09:28:53 PM »

If they are building comb, there will be a queen.  Have you actually looked in there?  It's not just bees foraging for something in the bin?
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2005, 09:31:08 PM »

Ok. We will agree to disagree. If you have read post from the past, you might find how I got interested in bees. Had a colonie started in the control box of my well. I opened it at night and that is when I found them. They didn't move a bit. Then the next night I hit them with wasp/hornet spray. They didn't do much, and there were survivers of that assault on them. They started looking for a new home and was coming into my stove top vent.

Gramma Debbie,

Since Arizona is suppose to be infested with AHB i would say there is not a shortage of bees in the area. If you are worried about these being AHB perhaps you can do as you suggested and bag the whole mess. And don't think about it.

Or perhaps you could bag it. Carry it out some where and then open them up. Sit it out and let them settle for awhile. Then unbag them and let them settle for awhile. Then at night, hold your breath,flip the lid, and dive into your vehicle. They should abandon the thing in a couple of days.
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

 Jerry

My pictures.Type in password;  youview
     http://photobucket.com/albums/v225/Jerry-mac/
Gramma Debbie
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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2005, 09:41:24 PM »

thegolfpsycho-  I did not actually look in the bin.  One of the guys that was helping out with yard work the day before had seen a few bees around the bin for about 4 days, but did not pay much attention to it until he saw a huge black cloud of bees swarm towards the bin (in the evening), and proceed to enter thru the air holes in the sides.

When I got there the next morning, there were at least 50 bees crawling around the sides, around the air holes, while a few other bees intermittently flew away.  I was standing about 3 feet away, trying to figure out what they were doing.  They never bothered me, but I was afraid to push my luck.  They stayed that way for several hours.  I am not sure what they have been up to today.  I had to return home to Phoenix, and the bees are in Tucson.

What do you think?

Debbie
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Gramma Debbie
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« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2005, 10:04:57 PM »

Jerrymac-

We were posting at the same time Cheesy.  I had read on the web where another beekeeper had opened a behive at night, with a flashlight, because the bees are easier to handle.  May make a difference on the time of year???  Not sure so I thought I would ask for everyones experiences, which seem as varied as the dispositions of the bees themselves.  Cheesy

I just hate the thought of having to kill them  cry   I had also thought about the scenario you described with the stove pipe.  Even if I do get them to successfully vacate the compost bin, where might they go to next?  The safest thing is probably to kill them, or haul them off to some remote area.  Wonder if that is legal to relocate them?

Debbie
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2005, 11:21:11 PM »

I won't tell anyone. cheesy
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

 Jerry

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Gramma Debbie
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2005, 05:13:59 PM »

Well, I think I got my answer via email today cry  So, I will call a bee removal company and follow their recommendations for disposal of the bees.  It may just be that the only good AHB is a dead one.  Perhaps if I make a shift in my thinking, and try to look at it from the point of view that perhaps it will help preserve the colonies of our native bees, then I have not done such a bad thing.......................

 For those of you who have been following the thread, or are curious about the status of Arizona bees,  here is the response I got from Dr. Stephen Buchmann in Tucson.  (If you do an internet search, his name comes up everywhere with regards to bees.)   He was entomologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Arizona.  I am not sure if he is still affiliated with that program. He recently published a new book  "Letters from the Hive: An Intimate History of Bees, Honey and Humankind",so, I feel very confident about the advice he had to give:

Hello Debbie,

Sorry, but I don't have the information you need. You might try a
local firestation, sometimes they have the names of beekeepers
willing to remove swarms. Or, you might contact someone at the
USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Bee Research Center on 2000 E. Allen Rd.. They
should have lists of local beekeepers. Unfortunately, since all of
the bees in Tucson (assume you are in Tucosn) are now Africanized,
beekeepers don't want to come out and get agressive bees to
incorporate into their apiaries. I hate to kill bees as much (more,
actually) than the next person) but you can have a serious health
risk to your family, pets and neighbors if you have AHB's on your
property.

Best Regards,

Steve

Stephen Buchmann, President
The Bee Works
1870 W. Prince Road, Suite 16
Tucson, Arizona 85705
           
          ***********************************
Thank you for letting me post, and read thru other posts on the forum Cheesy
I have certainly learned alot, and I hope that I contributed in some small way to your lovely forum.

All my best-

Debbie
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