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bee experiment

…or maybe I should title this “the bee experiment that every beekeeper we’ve talked to has said is a really, really dumb idea.” But you know, we are just kind of like that. We get an idea in our heads and can’t seem to get it out. We know it probably won’t end well but we want to try it anyway.

When Gabriel first started his obsession, I mean interest, in bees he noticed a cedar tree is some one’s front yard that a hive in it. He’s been thinking about that tree ever since. A couple of weeks ago Carl and Gabriel went and knocked on the person’s door to ask about the tree and the bees. The owner didn’t even know that there were bees in his tree. The house is a family house so he need to get permission from the other family members for Carl to cut down the tree. While they waited Gabriel began working on the Miller Method so he could requeen the hive. The call finally came.

So the next Friday night in the dark of night they went and wrapped the tree in wire screen mesh. On Saturday they went and cut the tree down. It took a while…the new chain saw wouldn’t work properly so a neighbor came over with his and his front loader (I know, how many neighbors have a front loader?) and helped cut the tree down and load it onto the trailer.

When they got home they began to unwrap the tree and plugged two of the holes with Great Stuff.

Then they made a mesh tunnel from the tree to the top bar hive which Gabriel had already prepared with wax and syrup to lure them in.

This is from the observation window in the hive. In the middle hole you can see a couple of bees venturing in.

This is what our other hive (#1) was doing during this time. I’ve never seen them so active. I wonder if they know we’ve added more bees – even though we have the top bar have away from the bee yard.

Gabriel got stung on one pinkie – I bet you can guess which one. His smoker went out and he was trying to relight it instead of just getting the stinger out. Next time I think he’ll get the stinger out first. He swelled up pretty good  but it didn’t stay swollen as long as it did the last time he was stung.

In other bee news, Gabriel bought a Kona Queen from Hawaii to start another hive in one of the boxes that they got a few weeks ago. (we ordered with our beekeeper friend)  I think this experiment will work a little better.
The results so far…not looking so good. The queen tried to swarm and Gabriel caught her and put her and some workers in the top bar hive. She ended up dying. We’ve had lots of rain and the water has gotten into the tree. They cut the tree and hive apart and extracted about 3 cups of honey – with sawdust. We need to strain it more. We’re still cautiously hopeful that they will make a new queen with the brood that we gave them and live in the topbar hive.

Thanks for sharing with your friends!


Tuesday 18th of February 2014

That had to be very exciting. I don't know if I would have been brave enough to take on the hollow trees bees. The next time Gabriel gets stung you may want to try a holistic remidie called apis. My friend gave me some and when one of my helpers got stung I gave her the remedie and within minutes the swelling went down and she felt better. I want to keep some on hand all the time.

Angi Schneider

Wednesday 19th of February 2014

Thanks for the tip, we'll have to try that. Although he's beens stung so much that now he rarely even swells.


Tuesday 17th of July 2012

This is so exciting and the perfect way to learn! Just think, sweet honey on warm buttered biscuits.

Rachel E.

Monday 16th of July 2012

How exciting! I can tell he loves what he does. It's great to see him doing something as fruitful as beekeeping.


Tuesday 17th of July 2012

It really is fun. I love watching my kids follow their interests. They're all different so that's pretty cool, too.