Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Hate Ladders, I Hate Swarms - I'd Rather a Beer, In The Sun Where It's Warm!

I returned in the morning to supply breakfast to the swarm I collected waaay up a tree and moved into my yard the night before, and found that my guests had departed ahead of me.

They returned to the same tree.
This time higher up.
Stupid swarm!

Ungrateful bees! They are further up the tree. It is windy. It is a looong way down. The bucket is in case I need to throw-up. My son Arlen is riding shotgun and is the videographer today. His first experience with bees. Well done Arlen!

In this video notice how I much I love nature. I am actually hugging the tree a few times. It was so windy I had to stop and just hang on occasionally. The tree was tracking back and forth across the ladder. I had an old rock climbing harness used when I was doing some work on my roof many years ago, so I dusted it off for my two days of tree climbing. I stopped in at a local climbing store to buy a carabiner to hold my harness together in place of the rope that normally takes its place. They set me up with a couple more clip-in carabiners and enough rope to loop the tree. Doesn't help with getting up and down the ladder when I am not attached - like where you see me become a tree hugger - but it does provide some support and peace-of-mind when extending out from the tree.

Here the bees found me a little rough when I dislodged the branch and many took flight. Not having anything better to do, I thought I would wait them out for a while. I propped the end of the branch against another and waited patiently for them to settle back down onto the branch. Arlen is the eyes-on-the-ground assessing the number of bees in flight from his vantage point.

Waiting for them to settle worked out very well. After several minutes I was able to descend the ladder with nearly all the bees intact. Whacking the bees into the box is the most delightful part of swarm collection. I should know - I am getting lots of practice. Thank goodness I had the ramp set up!

Look: It's Boxing Day at Future Shop or Black Friday at WalMart. What a crowd! Hope no bees were trampled.


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