Tree Hive…branching out…Swarming…Part One

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Courtesy of Treescape
Billy cuts the small branches off

Well it is late in the season, Autumn in fact …….when we got this call about a swarm in a tree.

how high?” …always the first question
oh…about 2 meters (6feet) up…think they are building a nest as see some wax stuff…”
okay will come and have a look

This lovely lady called us last year for a swarm to bee removed and although very nervous about Bees because of her children she really wants to help save them (the last year swarm was successfully caught and re-housed by the way) Thanks Jenna : )

So off I went to have a look with my volunteer help… ( too shy to bee named ) …you know who you are and thanks for the photo’s and your efforts climbing up the tree : )

…2 meters?? I don’t think think so!!? …more like 8 meters! geez Louise holy mackerel!

Courtesy of Treescape
8 metres up in a Gingo Tree

Zoom in and you can clearly see wax comb.

Courtesy of Lynne
Zoom In
Courtesy of Lynne
…there it is

…all that was going through my head was Omigoodness!

couple of days to discuss options, leave and see? will they die?

not an option, the 10 neighbours in this right-of-way wanted to save them but a couple were thinking of pest-control

no option but to remove…umm…how?

long-ladder? nah the comb and colony would bee too heavy…the tree-branch was about a 6″ radius…that alone would have quite some weight…difficult to carry down a ladder??? what to do?!

what is needed is a lift…would give us height and would take the weight…suddenly

I love it when idea appears
I love it when idea appears

I needed to find some one who had access to a liftie-thingie..
I talked to a few of my contacts who suggested ‘Treescape’ a local company who I do see around quite a bit. So I rang and spoke to the lady on the phone and explained the predicament…said we do voluntaring for local council collecting swarms…etc…really would appreciate some help but don’t have the money…?

she kindly said leave it with me and I will see what we can do…that was at 1.30pm

2.00 pm got a call back from Matthew who is the Contract Supervisor of the Kumeu branch (get it? kumeu ‘branch‘) of Treescape….no problem, happy to help..awesome

So had to get to treehive site and get some gear by 3.00pm

had a large box which looked big enough chucked that in the back of Stealth. Tape, lots of tape an old large bed-sheet…suits, gloves, gumboots. Ready.

Off to site and went to tell the ‘neighbours’ and they all came out to have look. One came in and was concerned about ‘how long would it take?’ had to blag a bit and say not too long, as wasn’t really sure.

The Treescape guys arrived about 3 minutes to 3.00pm….
…the guys are Billy May and Ethan Phipps, both who are not beekeepers…and a lot nervous ! but you gotta hand it to them, they took it all in their stride…

I just went over, gave them suits and gloves, then suggested method to retrieve by cutting the branch “…shall we use the chainsaw?”
…umm no, too much vibration !- so Billy suggested a hand-saw – perfect ! … this would allow for a very gentle cut – cut would bee at both ends of the branch so the colony would stay intact with their comb.
I got the large card-board box out and cut-out some circles in the top-side of the box for the branch to sit across and stick out so we could use the branch like handles to move the colony intact.

Ethan was nervous but he managed to hold on to the colony with sweat dripping from his nervous concentration of holding the branch and the colony …he did so well.
Ethan then lifted the branch with its precious cargo down out of the liftie thingie to Billy, the box ready and waiting, and so – fantastically – like it was meant to bee, the branch sat nicely in the cut-outs, then as I took some more photos for them, we looked in and there it was, in all its glory !

Courtesy of Treescape
The Treehive has landed…wow and look at that drawn-comb

Here are the ‘boys at work’

Courtesy of Treescape
Ethan gently levering down the colony
Courtesy of Treescape
Ethan holding for all his efforts, passing over to Billy
Courtesy of Treescape
Billy cuts the small branches off

All taped up and the boys moved the precious cargo into Stealth…. then I get in the car and start her up and start to leave and I look at the time….

Loading up the Tree Hive Beehive
Loading up the Tree Hive Beehive

…and guess what time it is? it’s 3.23pm !! …wow what a great team Treescape gave us…with real can-do attitudes, making the whole ‘rescue’ go so smoothly.

Successfully helping us save another colony – what a great community spirit from Treescape, our hat goes off to Matthew Priestley – Contract Supervisor of the Kumeu Branch for supporting our ‘save the Bee’ efforts, by providing the lift thingie with operators Billy and Ethan – all at no charge!

If you need some work on your trees, contact 0800TREEWORK or call the Kumeu Branch directly on (09) 412 5017 or email Matthew directly at : [email protected]

Thank you thank you thank you.

now my work begins…

…off to the quarantine apiary to drop off the new colony ensconced in the large cardboard box, not ideal so I had to work out how I can put the colony into something more secure without destroying their resources and killing the queen…..

Courtesy of Lynne
Courtesy of Lynne
go…starter drill hole on my langstroth full depth hive-box.
Courtesy of Lynne
Jigsaw to cut out hole to fit branch

Ready to go to the quarantine apiary and add 'saved' colony
Ready to go to the quarantine apiary and add ‘saved’ colony

….to bee continued….

I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did enjoy the adventure of capturing this colony safely

Check out our next newsletter for the next part.

Thanks so much for reading and supporting the kiwimana buzz…

…kiwimana saving Bees, one hive at a time….


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