2011-11-20 Katrina's Swarm

My old bee-keeping friend Nada called, a friend of hers Katrina had a swarm turn up in her compost bin, in Preston. Compost bins seem like a popular choice, and why not, they are dark, warm from the composting process, and have a few vent slots for easy access.  Here's the situation below, they are in the black bin.  I placed the empty box full of frames as close as possible to the actual swarm location...

 Opening it up, the lid was kinda heavy.....lots of comb in there....
 The lid below, complete with a giant (almost foot-long) stalactite of comb in the middle, just like some of those 'top bar' hives I've seen pictures of.
 In the bin itself, heaps of comb. Beautiful white new comb. These girls had been there for at least a month, maybe two?  I reckon at least 20 combs in there, including capped brood, pollen, nectar, grubs...not much actual honey though, they'd been concentrating on sorting out their home. There was about a full box worth of comb in there, if you added it all up. And loads of bees. This was gonna be tricky. If it was a newly landed swarm, it would be just a matter of getting the bees into a box. Luckily, the bees were very calm, considering we were totally dismembering their home and nursery.
 Some of the capped brood, below. The Queen had been busy.
 After I'd detached all the comb, shaken off the bees and got the comb into a lidded bucket, this was what was left, in the photo below. In the past i've tried to salvage some of the comb as well, by skewering it onto a frame with just wire on it, but this proved to be a colossal pain in the arse later on, when it was all mis-aligned with the other frames. So all the comb was sacrificed, in this case. Shame.
 Lid, minus stalactite...
 Comb removed, I just scooped handfulls of bees into the nearby box, as quickly as possible. The bees went from fairly benign, to fairly berserk. Hopefully one of those handfulls had the queen in it. We did not spot her, despite looking pretty carefully, but the inside of the bin was chaos, very tricky to see what was going on.
 These girls decide to congregate on my hip for some reason. I know I should be wearing white clothes, but  I don't plan on getting any white jeans just for the bees sake. These moleskins are thick enough that the bees cant sting through them, at least.
 Job done, we scooped say 80 % of the bees in there, and there seemed to be bees heading into the box at the end, hopefully this means the queen is in there, and hopefully she's OK.
 Katrina below, with her tiara of bees.  She took all the photos (except this one), and was completely unfazed by the whole thing, in the middle of a cloud of pissed off bees...
 Her glove. Heaps of stingers. None got through to her. As for me, 3 hits: pinky, elbow, and neck (ouch!), just as I was getting the suit off.

++++++++++++++ ooooooooooooo ++++++++++++++
Jonas : 15 (13 this season)
Adrian : 1
Edis : 1
Jazmina : 3
++++++++++++++ ooooooooooooo ++++++++++++++

2010/11: 34 litres
20011/12: 11 Litres so far.

UPDATE 27 11 2011
These bees were moved from Preston over to my place in Northcote on Thursday night (2 k's distant as the bee flies, so should be OK...), and since then they are doing great, heaps of activity. The first morning they were kinda hovering around the box, getting their bearings. If anything, I need to move them out of here, there is just a little too much bee traffic for comfort, with 4 hives now in the back yard. The plan now is to unite them with my queenless hive, and move them up to St. Hellier, near Phillip Island, to Albinas place. That leaves 2 hives at my place, about the limit, really.

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