We were very lucky to make many new friends who wanted to save honey bees. Instead of calling exterminators, they called us to relocate honey bee swarms. Many of these swarms had already established honeycomb for their nests, but some were still looking for a new residence. We actually saw exposed nests that survived changing temperature and weather.
When we relocate a swarm, we secure the honeycombs containing brood (developing eggs and larvae) in frames to place in our hives. If the weather is cool, we can also relocate the combs that contain honey and pollen. If the weather is too warm, the combs containing honey are too soft to move, so we bottle the honey and take it to market. We labeled that honey with the location of the hive and know that many of you enjoyed that wild honey this past year.
We maintain a map showing the locations of all the colonies that we relocated in 2015 and the date that we removed them. We use this information to place empty hives around the Houston area to lure the swarms away from houses.
Some of these hives were very gentle, while some were not. However, they all share the same characteristic that they survived the Winter of 2014-2015, so we wanted to add their genetics to the hives in our managed yards. If the hives were too defensive, we’d replace the queen with one from our gentle hives. If the hives showed promise as hard workers, brood factories, comb builders, or honey producers, we’ll use that queen in our queen rearing program. All of our hives contribute genetics by producing drones who open mate with our new queens.
2015 was a great year to add some new bees to our yards. We can’t wait to grow these hives in 2016 and bring their honey to market for you! We’ll see you in the Spring!