Sunday, June 25, 2017


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.

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