Swarm report (June 2017)

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Bob reported for the first couple of days in June the following activity…

  • June 1, 2017: Bee swarm on Carey Road; The swarm was small, it only covered 4 frames when hived. The swarm was about 10 feet off the ground in an apple tree. With the use of a stepladder the capture went smoothly. I took the call.
  • June 2, 2017: Busy day with bumblebee calls.
    • In Saanich: They said that after cutting down some blackberries in the back, bumblebees were getting into the showroom through some vents. I phoned Catherine Culley (the only one listed for that area). The phone didn’t work. I phoned the company back and told them I could send someone but it would be a fee for service. They said that was O.K. So I sent Barry. He phoned back and said he had resolved the problem and charged them. (his minimum fee)
    • Leah Patterson; Reed St.: Bumblebees in garden. Eric Davies took the call. He said he would go after dark. Outcome unknown.
    • Cathy from Oak Bay called in a honeybee swarm: She said she had a bee swarm in her cedar hedge. She said it was approx 10 inches by 12 inches and it was approx 12 feet off the ground. Michelle Martin took the call. She reported she captured it without a problem.
    • Howard Street, Victora;  Bumblebee nest in the compost pile Reuben took the call. He reported back to say the owner had agreed it could stay in the compost pile for the next few months.
  • June 3, 2017: Peter reported…”Only one call today. Bumble bees in wall on Florence Lake Road.  Gave them Barry’s number.
  • June 7, 2017: Michelle reports…”The big bees swarm it was on June 7 when I got the call, she said there was a swarm and they were about 20 feet up in the tree. When my mentor and I got there in the mid afternoon around 2 o’clock we saw the bees were 40 feet up in the tree. The size of them looked like four footballs hanging down in a chain and at the bottom was another cluster of bees the size of a soccer ball. The whole length of the swarm looked like 4 feet long it was the biggest I’ve ever seen. We couldn’t reach them so I called him another beekeeper catcher of swarms. He said it was too dangerous to go up that high and get the bees swarm he wouldn’t do it. Well needless to say my mentor heard of what the old-timers used to do to catch swarms. They would hose them down and then the bees would fly up on a lower branch to dry off. So we decided to try this method. One and a half hours later we did wash them off they fell in clusters of clumps that were about the size of a softball into a fir tree that was beside the swarm tree. The density of the bushes and trees made it impossible to see where they fell. Around 5 o’clock a quarter of the swarms we’re back in the tree at the same place where we started. At 6 o’clock it looks basically the same. The following morning it was raining heavily and then it become very windy. The owner of the property met his neighbour and found out he used to be a beekeeper and had an orchard ladder twice the length of the owners ladder. The neighbour proceeded to climb up into the tree and he had no problems getting the swarm of bees, putting them into a box. while he was up on the ladder he noticed in the fir tree where the other part of the bee swarm went. The retired beekeeper taught the owner of the property how to catch the bees swarm in the fir tree so the owner of the property caught his first bee swarm that evening. He proceeded to call the owner of the beehives to let her know she got all her bees back. Pictures of the swarm attached.
  • June 8, 2017: Bob… “One call for bumblebees; Cordova Bay; Darryl got stung in the face by a bumblebee nesting in his compost bin. Patrick Love took the call. He said he would go take a look at this weekend.
  • June 9, 2017: Bumblebees, Bumblebees and more Bumblebees.
    • I relocated one nest tonight (Bethune) from some bumbles that nested in insulation and will be collecting another one tomorrow night in a birdhouse to relocate.
    • I had one inquiry that might be mason bees, but will have to get more information from the emailer. No address or phone so I sent pictures of yellow jackets and what to do (RAID) and pictures of mason bees. Does anyone in the club know much about relocating Mason bees? They are hived so may need to send them Barry’s business number if they get back to us.
    • The other Bumble Bee nest is in a compost bin and they may be willing to let them stay. I’ll send a collector if they need them moved. They might let them stay the season. I gave them more information on bumble bees so we’ll wait and see if they still want them moved.
  • June 13, 2-17: Werner forwarded me an inquiry of suspected Mason Bees.

    If anyone can confirm if this is indeed a Mason Bee or has any information we can pass along to the community the Swarm committee would be grateful. This is the information I passed on to the resident and I hope I gave her good advice. If anyone has anything to add or correct please let me know.Hi Chelsey,
    Let me tell you a little bit about Mason Bees…now I am quoting Wikipedia because of your concern for your small children.They are used both as an alternative to and as an augmentation for European honey bees. Mason bees used for orchard and other agricultural applications are all readily attracted to nesting holes – reeds, paper tubes, nesting trays, or drilled blocks of wood; in their dormant season they can be transported as intact nests (tubes, blocks, etc.), or as loose cocoons.[10] As is characteristic of solitary bees, Osmia are very docile and rarely sting when handled (only under distress such as when wet or squeezed), their sting is small and not painful, and their stinger is unbarbed.That being said I’ve attached a couple of pictures of mason bees. In the research I have done there appear to be a black or red variety.  I saw your picture but since there are about 500 bee species out there, your bees very well could be something else.As a bee club we focus primarily on honeybees and bumblebees for extraction and relocation. We don’t have any mason bee specialists volunteers at this time. I will ask at our next bee meeting if we have any such contacts and will refer them to you should I find one. If you contact a pest control agent he or she will be able to tell you if the bee is dangerous or a helpful gentle pollinator.

    To rid yourself of Mason bees, one method I have been told works is to wait for the bee to emerge from the hole. Once it flies away seal up the hole and she’ll have to find a new place to nest. Only one bee is in each hole so you won’t be hurting any bees this way. Each bee has it’s own ‘home’ and is not part of a colony so a swarm of mason bees is not something to worry about.

    If you choose to let them stay they will not increase in population each year. They die out and make a nest in a new location every year just like the bumble bees.

    Thank you so much for contacting us. I hope we’ve been of some help. If you need additional information don’t hesitate to email me.

    Jen Olson
    Swarm Coordinator CRBA

    After further research I found out there are actually over 25,000 known species of bees. WOW! Our club poster doesn’t even come close to documenting them all.

  • No calls June 14-18, 2017
  • June 20, 2017: Irene reports: 11:00 am – Victoria Shipyards Esquimalt; Situated on a small tree. Sent Peter Day, will be there in an hour. Peter checked in. The swarm was in a small in the middle of Esquimalt Road on the island – this was not conveyed to me. Peter is going to let it go. Too dangerous due to the traffic.
  • June 22, 2017: Bob reports: on the Gorge. A small football size swarm was underneath the overhang of a cement pillar. Michelle responded but by the time she arrived they had left. It was approx 8 to 9 feet off the ground.
  • June 24, 2017: Peter reports: Two calls today.  One from a member asking to be on the lookout for his
    bees that swarmed in the Menzies Street area. The second from the Esquimalt Fire Department about a swarm hanging over a sidewalk in Esquimalt. I attended and collected.
  • June 25, 2017: Peter reports: Got a late swarm call from Liberty Road in Metchosin. Gord Quaite
    Jen adds: Mike called in a beekeepers swarm 40 ft in an apple tree. Waiting to see if they were able to collect it. Nothing to report here as of yet.
  • June 26, 2017: Brad reports: Only one swarm on Topaz that was not retrievable.
  • June 28, 2017: Bob reported: Julie on Roseberry reported a swarm. Michelle’s hive on Roseberry had swarmed. She captured it and hived it. It left the next morning.
  • June 30, 2017:
    • Received a phone call from Casandra at Public Works at about 9:30 in the morning. She said she had received a phone call from a resident at Cook St. Village. who had reported a lot of flying insects. She didn’t didn’t have a contact number for me. I didn’t think it was a swarm since they tend to swarm in the warmest part of the day. I did get it checked out. It was a swarm departing not arriving.
    • I got a call from Michael from the city. He had received a call from Joan in Fairfield. I phoned Joanne and she told me that there was a rugby ball size swarm 15 foot up a Hawthorne tree. She phoned me back a couple of minutes after we hung up and I hadn’t been able to contact anyone yet. She said the swarm had taken off.

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