Friday, May 2, 2014

Honey Bee Swarm 5.1.14

This morning I was surprised to see a lot of bees around the swarm catcher and the Top Bar Hive.

We figured they were trying to decide where to take the swarm.


We didn’t think we would be catching two swarms on the same day at the same time.


I watched them for several hours then decided to do some work . A while later Jim knocked on the window…

Here’s what he saw. The air was full of Honey Bees but we could not tell where they came from.


There is a hole in the front…


The swarm catcher is on top of a 14’ step ladder…..tied down with a ratchet strap. Jim placed a smaller step ladder behind the hives…then we closed up the big ladder…placed the base against a big tub full of dirt and slowly lowered it down so it rested on the shorter ladder. Once Jim was able to get ahold of the hive I loosened the ratchet strap.

I had the Top Bar Hive ready….shook most of them inside…


I put the bars in the swarm catcher in the Top Bar…they were already festooning in preparation of making comb. They have a small started strip to get them building straight. No frames.


We started hearing thunder in the distance so I did some more shaking and got most of the bees in the hive or on the top. Several of the bees had their butts stuck in the air fanning…good sign the Queen is inside and they are fanning her pheromones for the other bees to follow.

Jim got me a spray bottle of water and I gave them a light misting….they all headed inside…I put the rest of the bars in place…got the top on…just in time. It really poured.

I left the box sitting on the ground under the hive because there were still a few bees in it.

Two of the 3 entrances are stuffed with dry grass. They will remove it when they need the room.

I have a jar with some honey in it and a jar of sugar water to get them started.

This wasn’t their first choice so we are hoping they will decide to stay since there is a food supply in it.

This video is a bit of the swarm catcher, the Top Bar and then the swarm.

If they stay we will have 3 hives.

It was thrilling to see them swarmed on that catcher and even more fun putting them in their new home.


They are still here. I checked through the window in the back of the hive and they had finished most of the honey (only 1/4 jar) and 2/3 of the sugar water. I removed the honey and added another jar of sugar water because it was starting to sprinkle and knew they would be out if it rained all day and couldn’t get out for nectar.

I stuffed two entrance holes with grass but the bottom one is open.


Since we weren’t sure where the swarm came from and possibly from one of the hives next to the Top Bar Hive, I put a couple of ferns near the entrance. This way when the bees come out they will have to orient themselves with the new entrance.


There are a few finding their way around the ferns. I will remove them tomorrow after all the foragers have had a chance to exit and reenter.

Looks like it’s going to rain all day…so maybe they’ll make themselves comfortable and decide it’s not such a bad place.

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