Last weekend my bees swarmed!! I saw them go. I had stared at the hives at about 8am. No bees were out. I thought maybe they were dead or had all left. But really, 5 hives. What are the odds they would ALL bugger off the same time?
At 10am or so I walked by again. There were bees everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I heard a hum. A LOUD hum. Bees were pouring out of the hive of carniolans. The hive I had split a few weeks ago. Both that hive the the nuc I made from had looked plenty strong. Apparently they were.
Then I noticed at a buttload of bees were all apparently trying to eat about 5 flowers on the ninebark bush 10 feet from the hive. I thought "That looks like a swarm." Then it hit me. IT WAS a swarm. DUH. It was my first time. I was a swarm virgin.
Nice of them to wait until I was home and walking around. Had it been a weekday, I wouldn't have been there and would have lost them all.
I went to the ninebark and sure enough, a beard of bees hanging off a branch.
I literally dropped what I was doing (had to go hunting for various tools after the swarm was dealt with) and ran get my bee stuff and figure out a new home.
I had an extra hive body, a top and inner cover and a couple of crap bottoms that I was going to make better one of these days...oops.
Anyway, I put it all together and put in frames (note to self: next time put the frames in AFTER the bees). It's up on a pallet. Didn't have bricks or blocks but perhaps one of these days.
I grabbed a rubber tub with a lid and headed to the swarm. I shook the bee-jezuz out of the branch and many many bees fell into the box. I laid the lid on gently and took them to the new hive, quite a ways from the old hive and facing away from the beeyard. I want them to feel like they really moved.
I went back to the tree and there was a smaller beard on the
branch. Must not have gotten the queen. The 3rd trip back to check there was a tiny bee beard so I broke the branch off into the tub and took it all to the new hive. I did one more trip just to be sure.
I fed them but didn't have a feeder I liked so I put sugar and warm water in a quart jar, put a few holes in the lid, then up ended it on an over turned muffin tin. Worked just fine.
I didn't have any drawn comb to give them so put in empty frames of foundation.
Then I went to relax, hydrate (it was hot as blazes and I had to wear the bee hat. Didn't bother with gloves), and look up what to do about a swarm in my bee reference book. I pretty much nailed it. I have had some classes so I wasn't flying totally blind. The book said that a swarm is all prepped to draw comb so it is the best time to set up bees in a box of empty foundation if one must do that. Good to know.
They weren't all that interested in the sugar syrup so that is probably a sign they have plenty of real food out there.