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Friday, April 22, 2016

Catching Our Swarm


Yesterday our beekeeping adventure rose to new heights
as our purple hive split and swarmed.
We had noticed that the colony was increasing in size rapidly and had ordered a swarm trap and another hive in case they decided to split.  None of it got here in time though so we had to improvise. Thanks to my husband's quick thinking and design abilities, we were able to put together a makeshift hive from two hive boxes, some insulation board, a metal screen and tape!


Now we just had to get the bees out of the tree.  I just read about capturing swarms a few days ago but we had never seen this process in person or even on video.  Sometimes you just have to put on your suit and go for it and that is what we did.


A swarm is huge clump of bees all clustered around a queen hanging on to each other and attached to little else.  They can attach to anything: fences, eaves of houses, even cars.  Luckily, ours landed in a small pecan tree in our backyard.


Once the bee swarm finds a resting place, a few bee scouts go out and look for a new home.  We just made that process a little easier for them. It's amazing how the bees stayed calm and stayed together. 


I expected them to scatter more than they did.  Once they were in the hive box, we shook them off the small branches and they dropped in the box.


We previously placed foundation bars in another hive box for them to build their comb. So at this point, we put that on top and walked away.  The bees that didn't stay with the swarm found their way into the hive within an hour.  This morning we moved it back the our bee garden where they can settle in next door to their old home.  We hope they will be very happy there.

As new beekeepers, we are thrilled not only that our bees made it through their first winter (they often don't) but they are doing well enough to split and swarm!


Ruth 1:16
Where you go, I'll go.
Where you stay, I'll stay.


Note: if you see a swarm in the spring, leave them alone until they move on or call your county extension office or a beekeeping club near you to find someone to relocate them. Do NOT spray the bees please!



14 comments:

  1. I am with you on that don't spray the bee's! You guys amaze me!

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  2. Wow! Fantastic job! So glad the bees have a home with you.

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  3. You and your husband did a great job. I am not a fan of bees, but I would not kill them intentionally.

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    1. My oldest son is the one that beekeeps with me. My husband is allergic to stings. J is a much braver beekeeper than me and actually handles the bees without gloves many times. I love to watch the way he interacts with our bees. He did an awesome job getting the swarm out of the tree!

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  4. Yay - well done! Can you change your "do not spray" to all caps and bold and extra large font? Just kidding...sorta :-).

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  5. Hi Kim,

    Oh my goodness how I loved this post. It is so fascinating to me. I know nothing about bees so I loved reading this. More bee posts please! :-)

    Hugs,

    Dori

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  6. By the way, Kim, is that you with your son in the pictures? You are darling in your bee suit!

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    1. Yes, that is me. My oldest son and I are the family beekeepers. He is much more comfortable handling them than I am but I'm learning. Thanks for the compliment!

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  7. It's so exciting to catch a swarm...especially if it's one of your own trying to get away! And yes, a bit unnerving too. After 4 years I'm getting the hang of it, but still, I work quickly and keep a great mentor close by!

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  8. How exciting. One of our lives swarmed, but I wasn't as quick thinking as you were.

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  9. You did better than we did. The swarm we were called about didn't hang quite as nice as yours, good job on seeing it, improvising and catching it. "A swarm in May is worth a load of hay" as the saying goes.

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  10. Wow, nice job catching the swarm on your own!

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