Sunday, 20 May 2012

Sue's swarm

The swarming season has certainly started now. A few members have reported that their hives have swarmed or that they have managed to get a swarm.

Fortunately, Sue H' emailed me a short story and some pictures of her experience yesterday. Well done Sue, especially as it was your first swarm catch. Great news that you caught them and that, as a result, Wendy is now in business with some natural bees. We look forward to updates and more pictures please Sue and Wendy.

A reminder to others:
Remember that a digital camera is one of your best bee tools. Taking photos of your exploits not only gives you an enjoyable permanent record, it also allows you to blow up the pictures after the event and study your bees for signs of health, etc..

Sue's story

I had been watching them over the last fortnight showing signs of swarming. When I had looked at the hive around 10:00 in the morning there were very few flying so I didn't expect them to be leaving today, as the weather was not that bright.

I didn't see the swarm leave my hive, but noticed them buzzing around the back wall of the garden around 2:15 in the afternoon.

They spent about 15-20 minutes flying around the back wall before all went quiet again. I didn't see them fly off so I went into the field below my garden and found them in two separate clusters about 2-3 feet above the ground on a bramble bush. I was surprised by this as advice was to put bait hives 15 feet from the ground.

By the time I had got together my kit, a cardboard box, Wendy for moral support and returned to the field they had move into one mass closer to the ground and in more accessible position. We cut the brambles away around the swarm then cut and picked up the main stem to shake into the box. We didn't get many the first time around as some clung to the surrounding bushes, but bit by bit we added more bees to the box. By this time there were a few on the outside of the box. The box had a hole in the side as I had it on the roof for a bait hive, but the bees decided they wanted to go the edge of the opening on the top of the box.

We left the box in the field until dusk and could see no more bees going in. Then we passed them back over the hedge and tipped them into Wendy's hive.


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