Skip to main content

Summer Swarm

While finishing up a few tasks on Monday morning, Lille (one of the new Sustainable Ag interns at SAGE) and I noticed a cloud gathering over the hive in our Bee Garden. The buzzing could be heard from 50 feet away!

For a few minutes we stood on stumps and were immersed in a blizzard of thousands and thousands of bees. Suddenly, and all at once, they began funneling down into three distinct balls on the branches of a nearby tree. Within the hour they had formed one large swarm, with a second small swarm on a branch just a few feet away.

Local beekeeper Payse Smith, a friend of Lillie's and an experienced swarm catcher, was in the neighborhood and arrived on the scene. Over the course of a half hour he and I managed to manipulate all of the bees into the main swarm and secure several obstructive branches out of the way with cords. Payse climbed a ladder and prepared to shake the bees off their branch while I held up an empty deep super for them to land in.

On the count of three he gave the branch several hard shakes and I was showered with thousands of bees. A few stings and apologies were exchanged between the little ladies and I, fairly enough, and in the end they happily accept their new found home. I am proud and excited to report that SAGE bee garden has gained a colony!


Follow up: The next day Karessa and I inspected the new hive and found they had already begun drawing a significant amount of comb down from the inner cover into the empty deep super. After some discussion about our options, we made the decision to allow the bees to continue to draw comb naturally from the inner cover but to also leave another super (with frames) as its base so as to create a kind of hybrid hive - not quite a top bar, but not exactly a Langstroth either. It is a fun experiment and only time will tell how things will turn out. Come visit the garden any time to watch their progress!

- Chris
(Garden Education Americorps Assistant)

Popular posts from this blog

Taking The High Road With Food Allergies (Sometimes)

I was getting all ready to write a post about how grateful I am. You know...one of those count-down-to-Thanksgiving posts where I list all the people or things that have helped me along the way.

And I am grateful. Really. Having virtual friends who have traveled this same food-allergy road is a wonderful gift. I can name so many times when my panic and frustration were alleviated by someone I've never even met in real life, but who took the time to give me a tip, or to console me.

But frankly, my lovely gratitude post went out the window when I received this email from a relative:

What can we bring to share? I have some ideas: Sweet Potatoes glazed with Chutney and Ginger, Green beans with Dijon and Caper sauce, Creamed Green beans with Dill sauce, or whatever you request.   I am aware of [FAB's son] dietary restriction.

My son is allergic to beans. We avoid all beans. Even green beans. The doctor was surprised by this, as green beans are the least allergenic of the bean family, b…

Beans, Beans and More (or Less) Allergenic Beans!

We have a little good news this week: my son passed a home bean challenge for both pinto and cannellini (white) beans last night. Hooray!

At our last allergist visit, they ran the numbers on a number of varieties of beans and many were Class 0, with values like 0.68. My son's doctor thought it was reasonable to try these at home.

Going to stop for a moment and interject: DON'T DO THIS WITHOUT YOUR DOCTOR'S DIRECTION. A lot of things go into whether home challenges are a good idea for your child: how serious the allergen typically is, how far the hospital, how experienced the parents are with recognizing reactions. Many doctors are not comfortable with this at all. But, in our case, it makes sense to do some challenges at home because my son tests slightly allergic to dozens of foods.

He has avoided all beans since around age five, when he started developing new allergies. First it was tuna. Then cashews. Then (to our great surprise), he suddenly became allergic to garbonzo be…

Best Food Allergy Tweets/Posts From 2013 ACAAI Meeting

Sorry, guys...I've been very busy the last couple of weeks, but just over a week ago one of the largest allergy and asthma conferences, the annual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, was tweeting its brains out.

Here were the tweets and (virtual) presentations I thought were most interesting:

ACE inhibitors are often used to treat high blood pressure. I believe Lisinopril was the one specifically mentioned. This goes hand in hand with the idea that older patients, especially men, can see changes in the severity of their allergic reactions as they age.

Here's an answer on the question many of us asked about component testing. Just as with RAST, the number itself doesn't matter; just the positive result.

Gross! But yes, give your kids the bobber after the dog/ brother/ mailman licked it.

Conversely, tree-nut-allergic individuals have a 30% incidence of concurrent peanut allergy. 
So stop blaming yourselves, FA mommies! I've said this consistently - Mother Natur…