The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Rising Waters and Bees

Wet weather

After three inches of rain in a week, the creek finally rose.  Now, I want you to imagine us carrying three boxes of buzzing bees (screened boxes, not cardboard boxes) across this footbridge.  Then hopping across those stepping stones and scrambling up a muddy bank.  It was quite an adventure!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I have my bees! Last night a friend got the call to pick up a swarm at a local school yard. I helped out. I didn't have a screened hat or anything like that. Just a t-shirt, jeans and some work gloves. This swarm was up in a tree so I climbed it and he stood below on a ladder with a box held up below the swarm. I tied a rope to the branch, climbed back down and tugged really hard. The bees plunked in the box and swarmed all over the dang place, but we didn't get stung once... that time. After awhile almost all of the bees had gone into the box, which told us the queen was probably in there. He took it home and started his hive.

This morning I got a call bright and early letting me know there was a swarm over in the next neighborhood. This time I came prepared with long sleeves, long socks over my pants, rubber gloves, a mosquito net hat and plenty of duct tape.

But these bees were swarming on the ground, something I'd never heard of and wasn't prepared for. During the next intense hour I slowly and patiently scooped bees up with my hands (tried several "tools" and none worked because they would get caught in the grass blades) and put them into the box. I took them home and poured them into my Top Bar hive, brushing in all of the straglers. At that point they went berzerk! I didn't quite get them all into the bar hive but I had to get away for a minute and let them chill out. They were all over the hive and all over me.

After about ten minutes they began to congregate around the openings so I figured all was good. Now, several hours later, only a few dozen are flying around the opening and the rest seem to be cozy in the hive.

During this entire ordeal I was only stung ONCE, and that was because I squatted down while a bee was on the backside of my knee. It was getting squashed.

But now I have my bees and so far watching them is just amazing.

Comment by Everett Fri May 8 17:29:49 2009
Wow!!! That sounds amazing! Did you take any pictures?
Comment by anna Sat May 9 08:26:23 2009

Some pictures of us getting bees for my friend can be found here:

I don't have nay pictures of me getting my own swarm because I had to do it all by myself, but I have video of the bees going crazy after I dumped them into the top bar hive. I'll try and get that posted soon, but I have to find the dang cord that connects my camera to my computer first. A regular USB doesn't work. Apparently the company wants me to buy their patented firewire cord or something.

Comment by Everett Mon May 11 11:23:03 2009
Thanks for the link, Everett --- great description and photo!
Comment by anna Mon May 11 11:51:38 2009

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