I got a call from a guy who said he had always wanted to keep hives. He said he was a Marine at Camp Smith in Honolulu. He saw a swarm “manned up,” his words not mine, and caught them. I asked him what he put them in since he didn’t have any equipment. He had them in a cardboard box, sealed very well. He brought them over and we put them in a nuc. My wife asked how he had caught them. He said he rolled down his sleeves, put a t shirt on his head and sunglasses. He said he held the box under them and shook the branch. How brave is that? He doesn’t have a place to keep them so we are going to help him out with that.
This morning my 9 year old granddaughter wanted to just be lazy and watch tv all day. I told her there was no way she was just sitting in front of the boob tube. A woman called and asked if we could place bees on her property. We went to take a look at the area. My granddaughter has never been close to any animal other than cats and dogs. This woman had chickens in her yard. They started following her around. She said they were chasing her, I let her know they were just following her because they thought she had food. The woman had a very large mango tree and gave her lots of mangos. Then we got a swarm call. It was at a house that backed up to a golf course. A swarm had landed in a large bush right near their deck. The golf course was beautiful and there was a large mango tree near the swarm. My granddaughter picked a few. This was the first time she has reloaded the smoker and was nervous but did great. She sat down to rest and the homeowner brought out a 2 week old chick. She let her hold it! My granddaughter was in 7th heaven. All she could say on the way home was “What a day!”
I got a call from the Hawaii Air National Guard. They have some impressive jets I couldn’t take pictures of. The woman who called wanted to know if she could help. She was just getting into bees because of her husband and loved it. We went to the flight line and couldn’t find the box where the bees were supposed to be. However, I did find lots of very angry bees hanging around the area she said they were supposed to be. They were hanging around a electrical box that was not in use. Then they found the crate with the bees. Someone had moved them to the cement flight line area. The temp was a bit over 86 with 70% humidity. The comb was attached to the top of the box, but had fallen. The comb was so soft I couldn’t pick it up without damaging it. The woman and I scooped bees and put them in a nuc. I think we got 90% of the bees.
Our granddaughters have been coming to help with swarms. The 10 year old is an old hand at this, she has done 6 swarms. The 8 year old hasn’t been to so many calls. This was her first time with bees falling on her jacket. I had her hold one end of the nuc while I held the other. Then I shook the branch to get the bees into the box. Of course not all of the bees fell into the box, some fell on her. She wasn’t sure what to do, so she just kept holding the box. The girls have their jobs to do when we get a swarm. The younger one sprays them with sugar water, the older one does the smoke. They are learning!
They said the bees had been there overnight. I had to work late. I started putting my stuff out and got everything in place to move the swarm. Just as I started putting on my jacket they started warming up to leave. I hurried and put my stuff on, sprayed them with sugar water and shook them into the nuc. This is the first time I have gotten the majority of the bees before we left. It looked like every bee that was there got into the box.
Got a call about bees on the trunk of a tree. So I grabbed my 10 year old granddaughter and we went. She has her own bee jacket, and when we got there she suited up. She grabbed the sugar water, I moved the nuc underneath the bees and she scooped them in. Then she waited for a bit, put the top on asked me to carry the nuc to the truck. She put the strap around it. When I said I was proud of her for doing it all by herself, she said, “it was no big deal.”
Bees must know I hate heights! I got a call from a Catholic school. I grabbed my two helpers and went out. When I got there I saw were the bees were and almost threw up. I told the guy I didn’t have a ladder that would go that high. He said, “Oh I have one.” Thanks. I got up as high as I could and scooped them into the nuc.
One of the things I like about catching swarms and removing bees is that you get to see such beautiful places. We got the call and my youngest granddaughter wanted to come. We pulled up to this house and saw the beautiful landscaping. He even had a koi pond! These people were so pleasant and wanted to know everything about bees.
I got a call from a guy who said he lived in Moanalua. I asked where in Moanalua he lived, he gave me his address and I realized it was only 5 houses away from me. My wife was gone so I asked my granddaughter if she would help me. She was game! We got there and I realized things were not going work like they usually did. Normally one of us would hold up the nuc, and the other would shake the limb. My granddaughter was too small to hold the box, so we got the ladder, I held the box and she shook the limb. She had been stung before and was kind of scared, but she kept up with helping. As time went on she got less scared and wanted to get into the middle of the bees.