Beeing a Nuisance

Well, we are officially a neighborhood nuisance.  With four dogs, this should be a familiar feeling, but it still feels slightly strange.  Here’s the story:

I came home from work one day this past week around 7:45p or so and was surprised to find that I could not pull into my driveway because there was a large truck parked right in the middle.  Wayne was not due home from work for several hours (and he drives a Civic last time I checked) so I was understandably confused.  After sitting there for a minute trying to decide what to do, I saw a man walking toward the truck.  He pulled out of the driveway and allowed me to pull in.  I immediately got out of the car and walked over to ask if I could help him with something.  As it turns out, he is a beekeeper as well and was called to the neighborhood because of a suspected swarm.  Apparently the record high temperatures we’ve been having (over 100 several days in a row) have been sending large numbers of my bees after water in someone’s pool.  She thought it was a swarm and called a friend who called a friend, who sent this beekeeper to respond.  He tracked the bees from her pool into my yard.

Honestly, I’ve been a bit concerned this would happen.  I had read online that bees have a particular fondness for all the loveliness that exists in the chlorinated water of a pool.  There is only one pool that I know of around our house and she is our hives apparent primary target.   I knew the need for water would be pretty substantial in the heat and I set out a small dog waterer from Petsmart, but the bees showed no interest.  After wandering over to my beeyard and inspecting my hives, my visiting beekeeper suggested that I install my top feeders and fill them with water instead of syrup.  Brilliant plan (if it works).  While there, he also moved around a frame of the big hive to the middle hive which I knew was the weakest of the bunch and suggested that we install an entrance reducer.  I had been hesitant to do that mainly because of the heat.   As I was telling him about the big hive and the trouble we’ve had with them lately (slightly grumpy…like all the time), he suggested that we may need to requeen.  Eek!  Not an option that I’m interested in right now, but if we continue to have trouble with aggressive bees, I may not have any other options left.

So, dear, sweet, kind Wayne spent an hour or two the next day installing the top feeders and filling them and then setting up a birdbath in the garden with rocks and a small amount of water.

We since purchased an additional birdbath and set that up as well a bit further away from the hives.  I wandered out to check on the progress and managed to catch a few bees stopping for a drink.   I’m hoping this a good sign and that between the two much closer water sources, they’ll eventually leave my neighbor to float in peace.

Here’s how we ended the day.  I’ll have to get out there soon and inspect the purple hive, refill the water, and fix the mixed colors.   It’s amazing (or sad maybe?) that something as simple as the mixed colors of the hives could drive me a bit batty, but it does.   🙂

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One Response

  1. Hello, Julia! Sorry to hear about your dilemma, but I read a situation where a beekeeper found out his bees were avoiding his best efforts to keep them watered. Where were they going? Over to the neighbors window unit air conditioner which had puddles of water inside the ourdoor unit. The bees left his yard and ended up going in and out of the unit and scaring the neighbors. It took awhile but he was finally able to convince his girls to leave the air conditioner alone. And while I have a creek that is spitting distance from my hives — last year I found them getting water out of the splash guard under the gutters behind the house. Instead of flying 15 feet — they flew to the house and go that mucky water under the gutters. So don’t feel bad! Eventually they’ll get the message! Stay well and COOL too!

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