Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bee swarm - 05/05/09

Bee swarm and ladder.Got home today and had to work with the bees. I had not been able to check them for a week. My new hive needed fed and my old hive needed sugar dusted. Mandi decided to pull up a chair so we could chat while I was working. Right after I got started she noticed a very large swarm about 12 feet up in the air. My first ever swarm!

I thought I would have one soon and was preparing a place but it wasn't ready yet. I quickly pulled out my old Black and Decker Workmate and put one of my old hives from last year on it. I grabbed a frame of wax with some nectar from another hive and put in a feeder. During this time Mandi had called my dad and he came over to lend a hand. He used to have nine hives and had captured several swarms before.

Bee swarm.The swarm was on about four different branches. It appeared to be around four pounds of bees. If it had been lower it wouldn't have been too bad but the spot wasn't very level and I don't like ladders. My dad thought I should shake them into a box but I want to try and cut them down. The cutting went ok at first but I found out pretty quickly that what I thought was a slight movement could dislodge a few thousand bees. By the time I was done with the cutting I had half of them in the hive and the other half was forming another ball a little bit further out of reach.

Bee swarm closeup.I decided to get a box and then shook the remaining bees into it. I then dumped these bees into the hive with the rest of the bees. I couldn't guarantee that I had gotten the queen but felt pretty good that I had. I noticed about 1000 bees making a new ball in the tree and that had me worried. About that time I noticed a very small ball of bees forming on the outside of the hive. I gently ran my finger under the ball and the queen walked right out of it onto my hand! I couldn't believe it. That was a real blessing. I put my hand down into the hive and she walked off of my finger into the bees.

I put the top on the bees and noticed that the small ball in the tree was gone. There were about 50 bees on the front porch of the hive with their abdomens in the air and flapping their wings. I assume they are putting out the chemicals to let the remaining bees know where to come to. About two hours later I went out and several bees were doing orientation flights.

This was not only a lot of fun but was also a great learning experience for me. Here's a link to the Youtube video.


  1. chaindrivecharlieMay 6, 2009 at 5:32 PM

    Wow John, that was cool to watch. You are a blessed man, friends and Family to help You. It was good to hear a bunch of Georgia crackers talking. Yall make me home sick I want ya to know.

    God Bless You All

  2. Really interesting, & great video! How did they settle in their new home? Give us an update!