Friday, May 14, 2010

Swarm! (Another Adventure in Beekeeping)

Someone once commented that my life is anything but boring.
I would have to agree with that.
It seems that every day brings some sort of adventure.

Yesterday afternoon was quite exciting...
heart-pounding exciting!

Shortly before I was ready to go out for afternoon feeding time,
I received a phone call from our friend Sam.
(We have two friends...Sam and Jim who help us out with the mowing.)
Sam called to tell me that earlier that afternoon,
as he was mowing the apple orchard,
he noticed a swarm of bees in the orchard.

Wasting no time, I hopped in the gator, and drove to the
bee garage, where I suited up and grabbed supplies.
I then went to my lower bee yard and got a new
hive box ready.
Then I headed to the orchard to check out the swarm.

This is what I saw...
thousands of bees clumped together on an apple tree branch.

I shook the branch and knocked most of the bees into a large
cardboard box.  I then covered the box and drove it down
to the lower bee yard.  Here I shook the bees into the new hive.
Then back to the orchard to cut down the limb that had the remaining
swarm attached to it.
I walked this limb down the lane to the hives and shook the
remaining bees into the hive.
One more trip back to the orchard to gather those bees that had been
flying and were now gathered in a cluster....
At this point, most of the bees were now in their new hive box.
I will check them tomorrow to see if they stayed there.
If there is a queen amongst the group
(hopefully she made the transfer with the rest of the bees)
they will all remain with her...attracted to the hive by her
pheromones.

I can only hope she is there. 
As a result, I will have a brand new hive.

Swarming is a natural occurence in a bee colony.  The colony builds up its
numbers and hatches a new queen.  That new queen then takes half of the
colony and sets out to find a new home. 
This is a natural process of hive reproduction.
If you are lucky enough to find a your swarm...
you can end up with another hive.
Otherwise the hive goes wild and finds another place to live
such as a hollow tree, or your neighbors, barn, or attic.

Catching a swarm and installing into a new hive is most
definitely the better choice.

As you said....never a dull moment here!

8 comments:

  1. Wow, I thought I wanted a hive but I have decided you are sooooooooo much braver then I am. I'm not sure even with a bee suit I would have got within 20 ft of that hive. But here's to a new hive and more honey!!! Yep, never a dull moment!

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  2. Great job Bev! You are truly brave. I love the pic with the bee looking at the lens. I finally gave up beekeeping for good. Last year I gave all my hives, beekeeping "stuff" to a blog friend. I seem to have better luck with bigger organisms. The winters are just too harsh and I lost too many bees. I know you welcome the honey crop from these new additions.

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  3. Way cool, and you had the nerve while doing all that to take pictures!! You are one amazing gal!

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  4. wow and to think we just started our first hive and may get to the point of doing something like this! Amazing can not wait to show my new beekeeping hubby this post!

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  5. Ta! Shot #6 makes for a great example for how close you get! Ya' had a lens hog show up! LOL That is just so awesome! Great to hear this kind of news while all the reports of hives dieing off keep coming around.

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  6. The man in charge of the backwards beekeepers, is always being called upon when it is swarming season. He has found bees in some odd places. He catches the bees and gives the bees away to someone who is interested.

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  7. Ok, I have to say You are one gutsy gal! I would be running to the nearest cover! lol!
    But in the end, you will have the Best honey..besides Jack..lol!
    Have fun & don't get stung!
    Sorry I missed your call..I was out playing in the Garden of Weedin'....lol!
    hugz

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  8. wowzah! and you are sooooooooo cute - taking a photo of your experience while *wrangling* thousands of bees!!!!

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