Late Sunday afternoon, my friend Debbie called. They had received a call from someone in the area that had a swarm of bees in a tree…not very high off the ground…and did they want it?
Their hives are full and they didn’t want to start another so they called me. Of course, they knew I’d want them.
I had just handed Jim his supper….he was eating as fast as he could…I put my plate on the counter..went to the shop and made a swarm trap out of a cardboard box by cutting a hole in 2 sides and taping window screen over them.
We headed to the swarm tree. It was a very small swarm and there was a group on the ground. The bees on the ground were in a circle about 7” in diameter. I laid the box on it’s side and with my bee brush coaxed most of them in the box. After a few minutes they settled a bit and then I held the box under the swarm in the tree…shook the branch so they dropped in the box.
I smoked the tree limb where they had swarmed to discourage all the returning bees from settling there, and made sure there were no bees left on the ground, then stirred that up with my shoe to cover any scent.
Just as it was getting dark all the bees had gone into the box. We closed it up…taped the flaps and it rode home on my lap. Only a mile or so.
Once home it was dark. Jim grabbed the honey bear and a flashlight. I placed a little honey on a strip of board and laid it in the bottom of the hive. We battled mosquitos while dumping the bees into the Top Bar Hive.
This morning I was up early to watch the bees venture out from their new home.
Once the sun hit the front of the hive they started coming out and doing their orientation flights to learn where their new home is.
I was happy to see them come out…..but even happier to see some of them going back in.
The Blue Flags (Iris?) are all within 20’ of the hive and I have 2 Bottlebrush bushes blooming in the front yard.
Yesterday both Bottlebrush had bees on them but today they were humming. I watched several leave and fly to the hive ….so some of the bees were ours.
The Tangelo is just to the R of the bush above and there is a small Navel Orange tree near that. It is just starting to bloom. There should be plenty for them to forage on without having to travel too far. Just down the drive are a lot of weeds and wild flowers blooming.
It is a very small swarm. I don’t know if there are enough bees for them to survive ….but I hope so.
Here is a look inside the observation window…you can see there are not a lot of bees. Of course, several were already outside.
Here is some of the action at the hive entrance this afternoon.
Today is Tuesday and they are still here….so maybe the hive we built has passed the test and they are willing to live there.