Monday, August 29, 2011

The Aftermath

I am happy to report that all of the hives, including the ones living at the Added Value Farm in Red Hook, survived with no damage or flooding! As a reminder, here is how I prepped my hives for the oncoming hurricane.

First view of the farm Sunday morning.  Everything is standing!

Hives still secure and I don't see any water marks.  I removed the cinder blocks myself.

Bees!  Real live bees!  Flying!

We all got really lucky with this one, at least in the city. It could have been much worse. I was more or less resigned to losing some hives to flooding in low lying areas, but it seems that the seawalls held back the worst of it. Parts of the farm are under a couple of inches of water, but compared to the damage done by the tornado last year, I think that the bees (and the farm itself) will bounce back!

Standing water on the farm.  The pumpkins are still there!

So is the greenhouse!

Hooray!

Hives in Fort Greene hunkered down.  Tomato plants in the back looking pretty torn up.

Moving the hives back to their previous location and out of the  standing water on the roof.

There was also some excitement near my apiary location in Fort Greene. The storm had broken open a tree containing a large, healthy, feral bee colony in the south-east corner of the park. Since I was in the neighborhood to check on my hives anyways, I stopped by to lend a hand and watch. I didn't want the bees, I just wanted to see them get rescued. When I arrived, a couple of new beekeepers from the NYC Beekeeping Group and Andrew Cote of the NYC Beekeepers Association were already there and trying to figure out how to get at the bees and salvage the hive.

Majority of the hive up in the tree.  Healthy looking, 6-7 combs!

The bits of comb that fell with the branch.

One of the NYC Beekeeping Group members smoking the fallen section prior to cutting out the comb.

A small part of the hive had been pulled down with the fallen branch, but the vast majority of it remained 20-30 feet up in the tree. It was too high and windy to climb, so Andrew ended up calling Tony, the official beekeeper and bee-rescuer of the NYPD. Tony brought in the big toys; a cherry picker, chainsaw, rope, and more. Using the cherry picker, he cut the damaged branch containing the hive away from the tree and gently lowered it to the ground. He did a amazing job of it. I guess after 30 something years of keeping bees, he knows what he's doing.

Tony and his toys.

Lowering the hive to the ground.  Notice that the hive is wrapped with breathable cloth to prevent the bees from flying off.

Done!  Now on to their new home.

He and Cote sent the bagged hive home with the NYC Beekeeping Group members, who plan to combine with an existing hive that hadn't been doing well. Hopefully, with plenty of feeding, the combined hives will be able to make it through the winter!

After 5-6 hours of hive rescuing, we were treated with some dramatic lighting.

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