UPDATE ON THE BEE TREE:
Yesterday my wonderful arborist and I got the bees from the tree, and they're now busy like crazy in their new hive boxes in the beeyard at my house.
We filled 15 medium frames with their comb...which contained quite a bit of capped brood and larvae, but absolutely zero honey. It was pandemonium there for a while because the bees didn't want to go into their hive boxes with their comb, and you could just tell we didn't yet have the queen. I mean, for a while after we removed the last of their comb, the air was filled with frantic bees...I was wandering around feeling confused, too. Finding the queen in that open log with all those nooks and crannies was practically impossible for someone as green at it as I am.
But we had with us a home-rigged bee vac, and we sucked the last of the bees from both the inside and the outside of the trunk, and suddenly, all the bees wanted to go inside the box into which we'd sucked the bees. Bingo. Queen. And all that fanning began that said, "She's in here! Go in here!" It was awesome.
We left the hive boxes on the stump of the old tree until after dark, and then I moved them all home to their new yard. Many bees were on the outside of the box and couldn't be cajoled to get inside, but they didn't cause a bit of trouble in the car on the way home.
This morning they were zooming around their new yard looooong before the other hives were moving, and when I went to feed them about an hour ago, they were festooning and festooning and festooning. Yea. The air is filled with them right now...and they're orienting to beat the band.
I know, you want pictures! I'll have them here soon, but until then (I'm leaving town today and have run out of time to do this) I'm documenting some of this over at www.two-honeys.com
. The arborist wore a helmet cam, so we'll have something up on YouTube as soon as he learns how to edit his footage. Believe me, though, I am no JP...mostly I just wandered around looking bewildered and awestruck.