As you've seen, our lives tend to alternate between a busy month of travel and events, followed by a more calm month of just staying home, scrapbooking, and doing some local things. That was June! JC did have to go to San Francisco for four days for work in the middle of the month but that doesn't count. :) One of these times when we can plan the trip further in advance I'd like to go with him as I haven't been to San Francisco since 1999!
Anyway, I got a lot of scrapping done in June so I invite you to check out the 2013 and Cedar Point album links on the right side as those web galleries have been updated with all of the progress I've made. We went to Cedar Point last August so even though I had to start a new album, I decided to keep the layout names in order so that here on the web it's just one big web gallery still sorted chronologically. So go to the end to see the half-dozen or so layouts I did about our trip last August!
The big excitement for us in June was that one Friday night, as I was getting ready to go play hockey, JC saw a huge cloud of insects suddenly descend upon our peach tree (which isn't fruiting). A few hours later, we had a BEE SWARM clinging to one of the braches! It was huge--around 6 inches deep, 8 inches wide and 2 feet tall!
The next morning, they were still there, and JC did some research online to find out that sometimes, a swarm of bees will leave their current hive to find a new place to live, and are in our tree either temporarily or they like it so much that they might make it permanent! The Colorado Beekeepers Association website said to call the hotline whenever you find a swarm, and a beekeeper will come out to you and collect the bees free of charge. The bee populations, as you know, are being wiped out by pesticides and chemicals, so the beekeepers want to get as many swarms as they can from being killed.
So, we called the hotline at around 10am and by 2:30pm we had a very nice woman from Boulder come out with her beekeeping equipment to capture the swarm. We had neighbors and cameras and it was one of the coolest things I've ever seen!
When she arrived, she got all suited up in our front yard and explained the process. Then, we took her to the peach tree to assess the size and location of the swarm. Here's what went down: First, she sprayed the swarm with honey water. This makes the bees all sticky and dirty and they preoccupy themselves with cleaning each other. This distracts them for when she takes a broom and a cardboard box and WOOSH--flings as much of the swarm as she can into the box! It was a tug of the branch and a fling of the brush, and she got the queen bee and a good portion of the swarm.
Then, she came down from the ladder and opened up her wooden box which will be the bees' home for at least a month. It's V-shaped inside and is covered with thin wood slats that also have a V shape to them so that when the box is covered, the bees can start making a hive from the V points. She turned the cardboard box upside down and THUMP--dumped the bees into the wooden box. She then put the wooden slats on top and then screwed down another cover that was a solid wooden lid.
However, we still had a lot of bees milling about, on the ground, and on the tree branch. This is when she propped the wood box onto some ladders, and opened the port on the side. Eventually the bees outside realized that the queen was gone, and migrated into the box through the port. Some scout bees initially figured out that the box was where the queen moved to, and they emitted scents and did a little dance to tell the others "SHE'S OVER HERE!" (at least that's what the beekeeper told us!).
So we watched for the next few hours as hundreds more bees flew into the box. The beekeeper's cousin came by at dusk to pick up the box, because by then the bees start hunkering down for the cold night and should all be in the box.
Of course, that was not the case. There was still a softball-sized clump of bees on the tree branch. In the dark, the second beekeeper and JC managed to cut the tree branch off, fling the remaining bees into the cardboard box, and transfer them into the wood box. JC said that when they opened up the wood box, the bees were all crammed into the bottom corner of the box to keep warm.
The most amazing thing is that the beekeepers told us that we had over 5,000 bees. FIVE THOUSAND!!!
And, the lady beekeeper gave me a jar of her homemade honey from her own hive! It's SO good!
So, now that you are educated in saving bee swarms, pass this along to everyone you know to educate them to not kill the bees, but instead, find their local beekeepers association and have them come pick them up!
You can see the whole thing unfold at the link below:
Our other big nature adventure in June was on the day JC left for San Francisco, I went to the Wild Animal Sanctuary with friends Lisa and Kent for a picnic and walk around. The Sanctuary stays open late during the summer, until dusk, so you can see more of the animals as they come out when it's not as hot. It was the BEST day I've ever had at the Santcuary--everyone was out! We saw a lot of lions, wolves, and bears, including the new mothers and babies that they recently rescued. The bears were rescued from a shut-down amusement park in Georgia and were suspected to be pregnant, but they were brought to the Sanctuary right before hibernation so no one knew for certain whether they were pregnant or not until the spring...when little babies came out of the cave with momma!
The Sanctuary is an organization near and dear to my heart so please consider visiting their website to learn more about them (link above), consider visiting them when you're in town, and please consider donating to them.
LIONS, TIGERS, BEARS...AND BEES!