Talk about a slow day at work. I figured with it being a holiday weekend that it would be pretty slow, but little did I know it would be painfully slow. As many of you know, I do news and talk shows for our local television station, and on both talk segments I had tonight, the time just dragged on. My guess is that a lot of people headed out of town for the weekend. I can't say I blame them, with the weather being gorgeous for the last few days, the beach had to be even better.
So during my long break (ten minutes between segments) I decided to go into the courtyard behind our office building and just chill out for a few minutes. The courtyard is completely enclosed and can't be accessed from the street or by the public, just our station personnel and the gun shop owners next door. The courtyard sits under this small tower that sends our signal by microwave relay to a 500 foot tower and antenna which is about 12 miles away. This little courtyard is a great little place to relax for a few minutes and just unwind.
But while I was taking my break, I kept noticing some flying insect examining the cracks in the brick firewall that isolates the courtyard. It would fly up, then down, and all side by side along the cracks -- then it would disappear for a few minutes. But then all of a sudden, this insect was back and doing it all over again. Initially I thought it may have been a bumblebee or carpenter bee. But no, it was too small to be those, but it was too big to be a yellowjacket. So I got closer and waited for it to land, and it finally did. To my surprise, it was a honey bee!
I watched her for a few minutes to see what she was doing. And finally I decided that it had to be a "scout" bee. I watched her carefully as she went from hole to hole in the brick wall. Then I found her going in one particular hole so I marked it in the mortar line between bricks.
You can see where I made a purple X mark on the bricks with my felt tip pen. Just to the left of my X and in the crack (where I added a red arrow) is one of the holes she was scouting. She went into the hole, came back out, flew around some, then went back inside. I'm assuming she was checking the possible accommodations for comfort and to see it is would be suitable as a new home. I went back into the station for a few minutes and when I came back out to check, she was back again and flying all along the wall. I'm just guessing that if she really was scouting this wall, she wanted to make darn sure that she found just the right spot. After all, she is a female, and has the right to change her mind. Eh, ladies?
After I got off the air at 7 o'clock, I went home and got a bottom board, 10-frame deep hive box, and a cover. This is the same hive equipment that arrived just yesterday from Brushy Mountain, so it looks like it may have arrived in the nick of time. It looks like their timing was perfect.
I didn't have any "store bought" swarm lure, but I've read stories where old-timers swear by Lemon Pledge. So I took the hive box and sat it between the two holes that I saw the scout frequent, and I soaked a cotton cloth in Lemon Pledge and put it inside the hive. Supposedly the bees that swarm will be drawn to the smell of the lemon oil because its the same kind of scent emitted by a swarm...and they follow their noses. And this new hive also has the fresh smell of beeswax inside that coats the new Pierco frames. So between the two odors, maybe the bees will be attracted to it and decide to move in. I have my fingers crossed anyway.
Whether or not I'll catch a swarm, I don't know. For all I know, maybe this was just a rogue bee who was being nosey or just killing some time before heading home for the night. But my hope (better yet..a wish) is that someone's hive may have swarmed and they're looking for a new home. Maybe since it was so close to night they decided to stay put overnight and will move tomorrow or before the weekend is over...and maybe into the television station's courtyard and right into my hive set-up. I'm hoping that when I check it out on Saturday or Sunday, I'll have a really nice surprise waiting for me.
I'll keep you posted on my adventure. And I hope the news is good!