Friday, March 2, 2012

Honeybee wrestling or our first swarm

I have worked with the Bee Boss over the past two years and have watched him wrestle bees.  I guess for real beekeepers the term would be going on a "swarm call".  So yesterday was a nice 75 +  degree Fahrenheit day and I wanted to check out our Charlotte bee yard which is located in the backyard of some new friends and new beekeepers.  I put the call out to our friend and she said "sounded good".  A short time later I received a happily frantic call with the news that there was a swarm in one of the nearby trees.  The bee wrestling/wrangling had begun.

It took me about an hour to load up the bee mobile. A second call from her indicated there might be 2 swarms so I had to come up with additional gear for a possible second swarm.  The good news was that everything was close to the ground.

When I arrived to assess the situation, one of the swarms had vanished.  Upon closer inspection it appeared that perhaps the bees had been overzealous and gone out on a limb so to speak on one of the swarm locations. My wife and I discussed theories as to why bees would swarm on a warm stone on the ground rather than in a high tree branch.  Perhaps, once again, those darn bees had not read their bee manual and were not swarming the  "right way".

So with assistance from my new bee assistant,  we shook the stones and bees over a new hive body.  I had prepped the hive body by spraying the frames with sugar water.  There appeared to be a flurry of bees but they started clustering in the hive. I put a screen top over the hive but to the bees, screen schmeem.  I gently attempted brushing them into the box to no avail.  My next plan of attack was to spray them with sugar water and gently use a dust pan and escort them one by one into the new hive.  My thinking here was that if we got enough bees inside the hive, their little pheromones would kick in with the come home scent and the rest of the swarm would join them.

When I left, there were a few bees flying in and out but not enough to convince me we had a queen, the bees were happy and they would stay.  Give it a day or so and we'll see.

Bee boy out.

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