July 21, 2001 2:00am
It’s Friday night at 2am and I’m in my bunk on the tour bus, and we just played a killer gig in Atlanta, Georgia. I know it’s been a long time since I wrote about the bees, but there has been a lot going on.
The hives have been getting enormous, and I knew a few were about to swarm. About 3 months ago, the #3 hive near our bedroom had a huge swarm and the bees ended up high in the ornamental strawberry tree there. Impossible to get down without risking a broken neck, but it was almost worth it. It was big.
Anyway, I left the hive alone, and let them rear a new Queen. When she went out on her maiden voyage to get impregnated, she swarmed in the big oak tree so Julian & I went out there and captured the swarm and hived it. We put it right outside the sliding glass doors by his bedroom.
I’m hoping the #3 hive will rear yet another Queen, but it doesn’t look good. The #2 hive with the Italian Queen took over a year and a half to get going, and is now piled up with 4 supers. That’s very high. I pulled the supers as we went, and stored the honey in the pantry.
2 days before I left for the G3 tour, about 4 weeks ago, I looked out over the hive and saw some funny activity happening. I thought it must be time to add another super because it was getting busy in there and maybe they were getting ready to swarm. So I went to my storage shed to get another super. I opened the door, walked in, closed the door and — right on the back of the door in front of me was an old mirror, about 5 feet high, and it was covered in the biggest swarm of bees I’ve ever seen. I was about 6 inches away from it, and it had to have at least 30000 bees. But I wasn’t going to let her get away from me again, that little Italian Queen. I fixed up a full depth super, sprayed sugar water on the enormous swarm and shook them down off of my mirror. I put the box on the ground about a foot away from where they landed, and amazingly they all marched right into the box.
I now have 5 colonies on my property in Encino and one in Hollywood. The three I had last year manufactured 90 frames of honey since the last harvest in September 2000. That’s about 700 pounds of honey, waiting to be harvested the day after I return home from G3. I can’t even imagine all the honey I’ll have next year, when all 6 hives mature. Oh well, sweet dreams.