Swarming Fun

A few weeks ago I just happened to be home from work in the middle of the day and looked out the window to find this (click through to watch on youtube for the full impact):

It was the very first time I saw a swarm and the whole experience was remarkable.  After watching it for what seemed like ages, their landing spot became clear.

See all the black dots on the blue sky?  All bees.  I promise.  Unfortunately, that landing spot was the top of a tree to one side of our yard that was not terribly stable.  We didn’t have a ladder that could even reach it.   I called a local beekeeper that I found online.  He stopped by that evening with a bee suit and a ladder and discussion ensued.

Swarm

I stayed on the deck for the intense part of this process as my last few stings required a trip to the doctor.   The local beek headed up the ladder like it was no big deal with a cardboard box and shook the bees off the tree so they dropped down into the box.

retrieval

The box was literally turned upright to put the bees into a hive body that we happened to have in the garage and the box was left close to the hive for any late arrivals who were determined to stay exactly where they were.

Because I was concerned that the swarm maybe missing a queen (she could still be in the tree, or could have been injured/killed during the retrieval), Wayne grabbed a few frames of brood from the big hive (the original source of this swarm) and moved it into the new hive.

Moving Frames

After the move, I was very concerned that we may have moved the queen from the big hive into the smaller one although Wayne didn’t think he saw her on any of the frames.  Only time will tell.

Moving Frames

We made sure the entrance reducer was set to the smallest option and then left it hoping that nature will work some magic.

Swarm Retrieval Complete