Lucky catch

I caught my first honeybee swarm yesterday!

I was really glad I’d gotten off the kiln-loading shift at the woodfiring I was doing on Saturday, because when I got home Josh excitedly told me that my bees had swarmed! He was able to show me right where they were. I quick enlisted a friend to put together some sugar-water spray while I shrugged on my bee suit and Josh put together the camera.

After lots of sugar water and brush cutting, I managed to get the bulk of bees into a box. They’re super docile when swarming, so I wasn’t too nervous.

Also I’ve been subscribing to the Backwards Beekeepers‘ blog and they post videos on swarm catching, so I some idea of what to do. Thanks Backwards Beekeepers – there’s no way I would have been prepared without your help!

I let the box sit for a few minutes to see if I had gotten the queen inside. Gradually most of the bees moved inside, so I thought I had the queen.

I made this video about the whole process if you want more information and some horrifying footage of buzzing bowling-ball-size clumps of beeeeeezzzzz!

I tumbled them into the Darjeeling hive that had been waiting for the colony arriving on May 14th. I’m so glad I had something ready.

Now I have two hives instead of one – it’s like my farm’s livestock has had its first baby.

This gardening year’s starting out on a good note!

13 Responses to “Lucky catch”

  1. Rose Says:

    How cool! And lucky! :mrgreen:

  2. Amy Says:

    You are now, officially, my hero! Honestly – I love to read your blog and see what you are up to. Never ever a dull moment :grin:

  3. Mrs. Brent Parker Says:

    Were did the bees swarm from? Your old hive? Was there not enough room?

  4. Erin Says:

    Cool beans:smile: Now to plant something fro them to pollinate :mrgreen: ;)

  5. diana Says:

    That’s right Stacey, remember a week ago when I posted about moving the hive and was like, “Wow! They were really crowded! I should probably check for queen cells!” But then I didn’t. And this is what happens I guess! :D

    Erin, aw, shut it. :) No, but seriously I feel like my head is weeks and weeks behind. I keep thinking it’s the beginning of April and it’s always a shock to remember that it’s May! I am so behind this year! I don’t know what happened – I should have been really on top of things this time since last year I did the hardest part!

  6. Mike Says:

    Well done Diana!

  7. Leslie Says:

    Congratulations!

    Very exciting.

    Feed the new hive, a lot. All summer, really.

    Does this mean you have an extra package of bees coming now? I’d gladly buy it from you, one of my hives didn’t make it through the winter.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Go Diana!!!

  9. Lindsay Says:

    Go Diana!!! Awesome video!

  10. Journey11 Says:

    Hi, I am here visiting after I saw your link on Backwards Beekeepers. I really enjoyed your swarm capture video and really got a kick out of your friend freaking out in the background. :mrgreen: That was a huge swarm! Did you get any stings? If/when mine go, I hope they land on my apple tree and not on a chainlink fence! That looked awkward to try to get them off of there. Good job! I’m glad you got them settled into their new home. :cool:

  11. diana Says:

    Mike & Lindsay: Thanks!

    Leslie – yup, I’m feeding them. And we can definitely talk about that bee package thing. It’s been delayed by a few days apparently, so there’s time to figure stuff out.

    Journey – I didn’t get stung at all that day! And you’re right, it was a tough capture. Not like on BB where I see them cutting into walls and stuff, but hard enough. I left about a cup’s worth of bees over there because I just couldn’t get them. But they eventually found their way to the new hive I think. If you see my next capture, it was muuuuuch easier. I’ll think positive thoughts about trees and bees for you!

  12. Lisa and Robb Says:

    My favorite part of the video? “Run away, Josh.”

    You certainly have a higher tolerance for being surrounded by agitated bees than I do. But then, on my last two swarm captures, I managed to get stung in the crotch, which did *not* impress the homeowners who called me in. I tend to be too dainty with the bees. You on the other hand, don’t mess around.

    Good for you!

    http://howsrobb.blogspot.com/search/label/bees

  13. diana Says:

    Oh good lord, stung in the crotch! I was attacked by a different colony a few days later (opened up the hive without smoking first) and they all went for my upper thighs – I suspect because my pants are too tight. :/ It certainly did seem like they wanted to sting me where it would hurt the most!

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