Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Altadena Wall Bees

Are wall bees anything like wall flies?Earlier this week, I got a call from Lisa in Altadena. She witnessed a swarm of bees land on and move into her courtyard wall. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try out my prototype bee-vac. And newbee Nick from Altadena was looking for his first bees, so he met me at Lisa's and helped extract the bees.

Lisa's granfather had previously cut a hole in both sides of the wall, which allowed the bees' access to the hollow cavity. I felt it wasn't worthwhile to demolish the stucco wall to get to this swarm which had just moved in and had no comb or stores. So, I enlarged one of the openings to get a better glimpse of them:I removed a brick and made some small holes at the top of the wall for better access. Here's Nick checking out the girls:We used the bee-vac to remove the bees from the wall cavity. Here's Nick in action:

Once we had vacuumed out as many bees as we could. we replaced the top brick and temporarily closed off the openings with duct tape. Lisa will have someone run copper pipe to bring the faucet to the inside of the wall, and close the openings permanently with cement to prevent future bees from moving in.

We then went over to Nick's place to install the bees into his hive. As you can see, Nick is a very skilled and talented guy - he made his hive and stand into a lovely garden feature!
Nick is an avid gardener and must be used to having lots of honeybees around. He's very natural with them, so I stood back and talked him through the steps to install the bees into his hive. I had him give the bucket bee-vac one good whack on the ground before removing the inner lid and dumping them into his hive.

I had Nick remove the center four frames from his hive before dumping in the bees. So all that was left to do was to replace the frames and cover, and hope the bees stick around.
Nick has a gentle soul and a pleasure to work with. He and I will be cutting a hive out of a chest of drawers this Friday - please stay tuned for the story of our next adventure!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Get Yer Goat!

Now's the time to Get Yer Goat!

Chaffin Family Orchards in Oroville, CA is well known for its grass-fed beef as well as its olive oil. Chris Kerston is now taking orders for whole goats. But you have to act quickly - email Chris (Chris_Kerston at ChaffinFamilyOrchards dot com) and mail in your order form and deposit right away so they recieve it no later than this Friday. Their goats are super-popular and sell out quickly!

Birria de chivo, anyone?