Posts Tagged ‘Rescue’
I know that we’ll have a few more cold spats before spring is *really* here – but here’s today’s update from the bee-yard.
After our freezes over the holidays. The 2 youngest nucs (which were rescues) did not survive the cold. The other nucs that were started earlier in the fall – doing fantastic! It was warm enough to do open feeding in the bee-yard today.
On another note – I’ve already started receiving calls for honeybee removals. Unless a homeowner absolutely HAS to have the bees out now – I try to schedule for either (a) the warmest day possible – preferably above 70 deg. F. (21c) or (b) later in the spring when nighttime temps are consistently above 50 deg. F. (10c).
Another late-in-the-year honeybee rescue/removal performed yesterday – just as the rains and cooler weather came through. The NTTA needed the bees removed from an irrigation valve box near the Addison Airport toll tunnel.
They had called an exterminator that uses “Bees” in part of their company their name to imply that they are beekeepers. They are NOT. And they had quoted an outrageous price to come kill the bees. The NTTA folks were concerned for the bees, and decided to call me to perform a live bee removal. I’m glad they did!
I’m often asked by a homeowner to perform a honeybee removal in the winter. My removals are “live” removals – and I do not kill the honeybees to remove them.
Education about aspects of the honeybee’s lives is essential to let homeowners know why I generally choose to NOT remove bees from someone’s home, tree, or utility box when the “timing is not right”.
Honeybees try to maintain a temperature within their hive at approximately 95 degrees Fahrenheit. During the summer, they will bring water into the cells of their hive and fan their wings to create a natural method of evaporative cooling.
During the winter, the honeybees consume their stored honey as a carbohydrate that allows them to shiver, and this generates heat from their cluster – to also maintain about 95 degrees Fahrenheit within the cluster of bees. Early in the fall/winter this cluster of bees also happens to be keeping the eggs and larvae warm. These last eggs and developing larvae are the bees that will get the colony through the winter – so their survival is essential to the success of a honeybee colony.
Imagine if you will – if your home was set at a comfortable heated temperature for us humans. Say about 70 degrees in the winter. But then, a natural disaster may hit and remove the roof of your home. Suddenly, you can no longer maintain 70 degrees outside, and you are subject to exposure to the elements and temperature of the outside. If it happens to be 40 degrees F. outside, then you may be subject to hypothermia. The same applies for the bees. The eggs and larvae must stay at 95 degrees in order to survive in their honeycomb cell long enough to hatch and join their colony.
When a hive is opened up, this allows the bees’ generated heat to escape. The honeycomb is exposed to the air temperatures that are present, and the brood can experience what’s called “chilled brood” – and they may die.
That, my friends, is why we don’t perform live honeybee removals in cold weather. Night time temperatures need to be well above 50 degrees F., and it’s preferable to have daytime temps above 75-80 deg. F.
I wanted to send a special shout-out and thank you to Kevin Inglin of Beekeeper’s Corner. Kevin noted this blog (and Harmony Hollow Apiaries) in Episode 31 of his podcast BKCorner. He also has a Facebook page HERE.
I have yet to build the hive-stand of Kevin’s design – however, I do plan on doing so in the near future. (Possibly in the Fall or winter “rebuild time”) I’ll keep you tuned in and will post photos as soon as I have it built.
On a separate note: My rescue line for the Dallas, Texas area will be inactive as of the end of June 2012. I will update the page to list only the line from our Tyler, Texas location.