My radio played "She's Kerosene" by The Interrupters as I got in my car to travel to the club's bee sanctuary.
It started out like any other morning
The sky was read, he took it as a warning
She hit the hive, now the bees are swarming
Then played the victim 'til the crowd starts forming
I decided not to take the lyrics too seriously. Hearing a song on the radio that mentions bees while you're on your way to work with bees is a good thing even if the sentiment is not too bee friendly, right?
Long Beach Beekeepers has the good fortune to have the support of EDCO, the local family-owned waste collection and recycling company. EDCO opens their doors to us to give us a home for our monthly meetings. A club tradition thanks each of EDCO's 25 employees with a gift of honey for the holidays. In the past, club members contributed honey from their personal hives. I was on my way to meet Ray Teurman, sanctuary co-manager, to harvest some liquid gold from club hives for EDCO.
Sanctuary hives include a colony from the South 40 Community Garden that was overly defensive when the hive was transferred into replacement equipment in July. For safety concerns, we moved the bees to the sanctuary and split into two hives. On this trip, we found one hive did not survive the split. Robber bees took any honey stores long gone and all that was left was some old comb. I will process the wax for the club.
The other hive was thriving. We harvested some honey, being careful to leave enough for the bees to get through the holidays and the beginning of the year. We don't have much of a winter in Southern California, but floral sources are definitely few and far between right now. We also corrected some cross comb, using rubber bands to keep the remaining wax in place. Feral bees like a tidy hive, so they will get rid of the rubber bands once they have a chance to attach the comb to the frames. We also consolidated this hive, removing the top box so that the bees won't have so much real estate to heat.
The goal is to move the thriving colony back to the South 40 Community Garden so that we have a second teaching hive. If anyone would like to donate a hive stand for our teaching hives, it would be much appreciated. Ray estimates the bees will be ready to return to the South 40 in about a month. Home for the holidays.