Since October, I have been continuing to maintain a few hives for some neighbors while they were on holiday vacation (which meant delicious educational experience and delicious honey). The plan was to keep the colonies going strong and to split the hives in Spring, allowing me to once again host some bees in my backyard. I am very impatient. Spring seemed like a really long way off.
The thoughtful and ever-adventurous Linden found out that some bees had moved into a coworker's tree--the hive had been there for awhile and grown drastically in size, and Coworker wanted the bees removed. What excellent news! Linden donned her bravest face and agreed to help me cut the hive from the tree.
As I was removing comb from the tree, the bees kept crawling higher and higher into the tree. Once all the comb was removed, suspended in frames, and placed in the hive box, Linden held a large white sheet below the hive as I shook the bees off of the tree and onto the sheet. We dumped the bees into the hive and stood back to watch.
The bees tried to leave their new home and return to the ball of bees in the tree. We had not moved the queen.
After a few more clumps of bees were dumped into the hive, errant bees began to collect outside the hive box and make their way inside. Bees crawled willingly down between the frames. The bee ball in the tree dispersed. All of this indicated that the queen was safe in the hive box, sending her pheromones off into the air to call her colony to her side.
With the queen and her colony safely in hive box, we taped up the hive and hit the road. Unfortunately for Dave, there were a few straggler bees that hid in our equipment and made their way into the van. Dave found himself with a few new bee friends fluttering about when he drove the car the next day.