Most of the new colonies were fairly docile and I could approach with only a hat, getting right up the ladder to their entrances without disturbing them. One new colony though was not as polite and no longer having a resident Beekeeper in Rodeo, I was on my own in dealing with this hive. Realizing that some form of protection was required I began mentally inventorying supplies that were available on the estate to create some form of protection so I could approach the hive. I realized I had an old flight suit that closed at the wrists and ankles, gloves were no problem, but the head covering stumped me until I realized there was some old screen used to cover the solar collectors to prevent overheating during the summer. Cutting a large piece and folding it in half the edges were secured with PVC tape (as useful as duct tape on the estate). Pulling this on over the wide brim of my hat would keep the bees at bay while I worked. I chose to seal up the new hive entrances during the heat of the day since most bees would be out collecting nectar and pollen so the number of bees inside the new hive would be minimal and provide the best chance for the colonies survival once they moved on. Initially using caulk to seal the entrances it became clear that the bees would chew through this obstruction so stucco was used to cover the caulk and seal the entrances. This proved a successful approach and the bees could initially be seen clustering around the sealed entrance. The next morning only a couple of bees were found around the old entrances, they had moved on to greener pastures or a location on another building I had yet to find.
In an effort to support the bees' and their important role in the ecology of the high desert landscape, the Painted Pony Resort is installing a bee box down in the riverbed. This will provide a permanent location and space for a hive where the colony will have easy access to the wildflowers and other blooming plants, encouraging the continued restoration of the landscape. It will also be a yummy source of honey for guests visiting the estate.
|Home made Rodeo bee bonnet|