Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Swarm Capture

It's swarm season.   As soon as we start seeing drones, we know that the hives are working full tilt to expand for the season.  The hive assesses things and decides it's time to split.  They make new queen cells and raise new queens and when the first ones start to come out, the old queen gathers half the hive and they swarm.

This swarm came from a friend of ours who had a hive in a tree in her backyard.   Happy, calm bees.  They swarmed and she called us and by the time we could gather stuff and get there, they had clustered nicely in a branch just a few feet away.  

Eric cut the ends off the branches and then put the whole cluster in a bucket.  I stood below to catch and Lily took the pics.

When the first part of the cluster hit the bucket, Eric got pinged a few times.   Serious ouch.

This is me looking through the cluster for the queen.   Never found her, but the bees were fanning, so we figured she was in there.

Notice the frame of drawn comb with a bit of honey in the bucket.   I hoped that would make them feel at home.

Then I trimmed the branch down as far as I could so we could cover the bucket with a canvas.  

We bungeed the canvas down and then strapped the bucket in the back of the truck for the long ride home.

It wasn't as dark out as these pics make it look.   We took the cluster out of the bucket and put it into the hive with that frame of comb and several honey balls.

Bees love honey balls.

We put empty supers on this hive so there would be plenty of room for the branch.

Then we closed her up.

The first day they seemed to like the box, but two days later they absconded. 

Since they came from a tree, I figure the queen wanted another one.  Since we have an abundance of hollow trees out here, I figure they found a tree they like better than our boxes.  

You win some, you lose some.


  1. I'm sure that like you and Eric, apartment life was not for them. Give them a home in the country. :-)

  2. I'm amazed you can handle them without gloves! Scary! Sorry they left though.

  3. Bummer. I'm just itching for my first swarm...hoping for good luck, but keeping realistic too!

  4. Did you consider putting on a queen "includer" until the queen had started laying?


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