I had seen a van parked near work, a big yellow van with "the Bee Wrangler" written down the side, and a week ago I bumped into the man himself, John. I asked about the possibility of getting hold of a swarm, he said he'd give me a call next one he got. His job is pest control, getting rid of problem bees and wasps. A few days later, the call came in, and he handed me a box of bees. I gave him a bottle of red, not for the bees, they were free, but for the box and flyscreen. Sounds good to me. He got them out of a branch of a camelia, and the bees were still wrapped around a small branch that he had cut off and put in the box. A few were crawling around the top of the box, under the mesh. Probably a mix of australian bees, he thought, some were fairly yellow, while others were quite black. Mix of caucasians and italians. A big fat drone was scoping us out from under the wire, watching the exchange.
|That'll be John, the Bee Wrangler.|
|Transport from Fitzroy to their new abode in Alphington. In comfort. Glad I didn't have an accident...|
|First thing, get that thing smoking....|
|That's me and Edis, my dad, in his brand new bee suit.|
He put on three pairs of socks to be sure his ankles were safe.
|Inside the box.....|
|I shook the bees down to the bottom of the box, then up-ended it over a fresh box full of frames.|
|This is the old box from the Dairy hive, the one that died out over winter.|
New coat of paint, new foundation on some of the frames (ie the ones that were nasty),
|A few taps on the top of the box to get them down...|
|...and Voila, that's the camelia branch that John found the swarm in...|
|...removing the branches one by one, shaking off the bees, smoking them down.|
|Dale, the box hill beekeeper from the Tree Hive showed me how to do this.|
It was getting dark, so I was keen to get this over with.
|Welcome to Baghdad.|
Looking forward to some Alphington honey in a while. Probably not this year, maybe next.
Thanks to Rima for the photos!