When you enter a storage unit, do you ever look up? Have you ever wondered what may be above your head. You know spiders and roaches may be on the floor, but what else may be lurking in the shadows? Maybe honey bees…
This is what was just inside the door of a local storage unit in Memphis, TN. The comb and bees were removed and relocated to Bartlett, TN. The queen was found and has been marked for tracking purposes in her new home.
Look up when entering a storage unit.
Three combs affixed to cinder blocks
Spring has sprung and the queens are building up their colonies of honey bees in the Mid-South. We have received calls from Bartlett, Memphis, Germantown, Cordova, Collierville and Oakland. Here are some photos so you can tell the difference between bees collecting groceries – pollen and nectar, and swarming – looking for a new home. These are photos of some of the swarms collected, so far, this Spring.
Swarm on a rose bush – half have fallen in the bucket.
Swarm high in a white oak (30 ft.)
Swarm in a Japanese maple
Swarm on the corner of a house
Swarm in a Bradford pear
As I am preparing for the new bee season I found a swarm that was previously un-posted. Here you go:
The West Clinic is known as a cancer treatment clinic, not as a bee breeding ground. Late in the bee year, we got a call on a swarm directly over their outside break area.
The swarm up in the tree.
A closer look.
Getting in position to shake the bees into the bucket.
Most of the bees made it into the bucket. The rest landed on the ground
The bucket (with the queen inside) is used to lure the rest in.
The bees follow the smell of the queen into the bucket.
Almost all in.
Just about done. Stragglers are making their way to the bucket where the queen is.
The bucket is capped and ready to be loaded in the BeeMobile
The Bartlett Bee Whisperer was invited to speak to the Germantown Kiwanis Club, discussing where our honey bees are going and what we can do to help save them.
Questions brought me into beekeeping.
Bees pollinate accidentally as they gather their own food.
When we talk about bees disappearing around the world, it is important to remember that there are many hazards faced by the bees as they go through their regular work day. As much as the media would like to jump on pesticides, there are also parasitic mites, bee specific viruses/diseases, changes in farming practices and the virtual food deserts that surround the bees habitats.
A life without bees, would have many “up a tree” pollinating with brushes.
In many locations, where bees are less numerous, people hand pollinate trees and plants. This is done with small brushes, distributing pollen from one flower to the next.
Thanks from the Germantown Kiwanis President
Give me another question. The last statement on the screen says, Saving our supper one hive at a time. Because I remove honey bees from homes, I feel that I am saving our supper every time I rescue a hive from a home. The homeowners’ options, when they find a swarm in their house, are to call a pest control company and kill the bees, try to kill them with wasp sprays, or to call a beekeeper. Call a beekeeper, please.
Okay, I had a totally “Twilight Zone” experience today:
Yellow Jacket Combs
I was called out to check on some bees in a horse barn.They ended up being yellow jackets nesting in the ground at the corner of the barn.
After removing them and making the barn safe again for the way-friendly horses, I got into a conversation with the home owner, which started with “So, what got you started working with honey bees?”
As I told my story, Ehud told me about a patient he’d treated in the ER, who “rescues honey bees” in the Memphis area by “removing them from houses and setting them up in hive boxes on farms in the Mid-South.” (Sound familiar?)
Yes, it took a few moments to realize that we had actually had this conversation back in September 2012 as he treated me in the ER for separated ribs. (In my defense he didn’t look like the doctor who had treated me. He didn’t have his white jacket on or his stethoscope out, and I wasn’t in any pain.)
Thank you Dr. Kamin for taking care of me last year and for the opportunity to help you this year. (I gave my business card to his wife this time.)
One of my hives had gone queen-less. I introduced a queen cell from a friend. She hatched out and took her maiden flight. She did not come back. She may have been eaten by a bird or got lost on her way back. Instead of purchasing a new queen, I have introduced a frame of brood from one of my peaceful, productive hives. The workers have started raising up new queens.Because queens is so much larger than the other bees, house bees have to elongate the waxed cells around the growing queens. The flat capped cells are workers and the peanut shaped cells extending from the comb are queens. In about a week the queens will hatch. The first out will find and kill her siblings. Here are photos of the new queen cells.
Three capped queen cells with capped and open worker cells.
For many in Mid-town Memphis, Young Avenue Deli is a staple for lunch and/or dinner. Would you believe they support saving the honey bees also??? Gotta love Tiger and the guys! I was called last night about a swarm of honey bees in a tree across Young Avenue. Their customers were watching from the deli patio as the bees were taken from the tree. They got the show of a lifetime, and a few laughs also. As the bees were shaken from the limb to a cardboard box, they left the box and returned to the limb. We finally had about 5 lbs. of bees in one box (taped securely), another with about 3 lbs. and a bucket with the queen and the remaining stragglers.
Very large swarm 20+ ft. up in the tree.
The bees stayed in a box overnight and while there they… They set up shop.
5 palm-sized combs started by the bees
After emptying 2 boxes and one bucket, they are entering their new home.
Deli bees in their new home
This tree has had honey bees in it for years. The current home owner saw them, but was entirely surprised when they decided to swarm out one day. “It was like they were flying around aimlessly, and then this conflagration of bees went off and didn’t come back.” Here is a photo of the tree. The rotten wood has been removed to better access the colony.
Full shot of a 7 ft. tree colony.
Bees from this tree were removed previously by heavily smoking it. Access holes were drilled into the base of the tree facilitating the smoke out. This smoking blackened the inside of the tree. At other locations the comb fell and desiccated. But, it did not kill the bees that remained. The blacken honey comb remained as did the queen and some bees, enough to set up shop in the tree again.
Heavily smoked comb and wood.
- New comb on the left. On the right, evidence of the old comb that fell after the smoke out.
After the comb was removed and boxed up, returning field bees and workers form the tree gathered above the entrance of the tree. They were quickly vacuumed and removed also.
Bees gathering at the top of the hive entrance.
Everyone knows there is a Tornado Alley from north Texas, running northeast through Oklahoma, northwest Arkansas, into Kansas and Missouri. I just found Honey Bee Alley. It is near the drainage aqueduct on Haleville rd. in Memphis, TN. I have been called to this specific area 4 times now.
This house has had (in different parts) colonies of bees for years. This is the second time I have removed bees from it.The first hive was between the 1st and 2nd floors in the floor joists. The second hive was below the front balcony.
The pest strip at the right is good for preventing bugs from moving into a home, but it is only good while the chemical is active. You also have to make sure nothing has moved in before you place it. These bees walked willy-nilly all over that thing.
After removing the face board, I drilled a pilot hole so I could scope the hive location.
Generally, when I do this, bees start popping out immediately. These were very reluctant to show themselves. Actually, they were almost shy about it, and when I removed them, they were very peaceful for the whole ordeal.
The scope showed that the best access would be made by removing the ceiling below the balcony. And here they are…
This was all brand new comb. The hive was removed and the bees vacuumed. They are now located in a hive body in Bartlett, TN. Here shortly they will be relocated to an apple farm in Arkansas. I will be helping the owner start his own hives. His harvests have been small and he remembers that while his Dad had bees the harvests were more productive.
FYI, the seeds in apples have to be pollinated for the flesh of the apples to grow well. It works with watermelons also (ignore the seedless ones). If you have ever seen a lopsided watermelon, you now know why it grew that way.