On a chance walkabout in the orchard between torrential rain showers this afternoon, we discovered a swarm of bees in the plum tree: an extraordinary sight to behold. Our original bees had come under attack from robber bees three weeks ago and have been having a hard time in the last few weeks, so this swarm could have been our own hive splitting in half and evacuating with a new queen. The original hive is now calm and not being robbed. (We’ll take a look in there tomorrow.)
The swarm on the plum branch seemed like a casual gift, almost accidental – like Mother Nature threw us a bone – to make up for the fact that our original hive was robbed. It was nice to be with bees that were happy. The swarm was docile, as all bees without a home are, as they have nothing to protect. We had to act quickly because more rain was forecast.
We found an old hive with a stand and made a covering for it with quilted tin foil and wood, seeing the swarm just hanging in the tree, top right:
Using branch snippers, we cut the branch off which the swarm was hanging and plopped it down on top of the hive, like so:
Gave the thing a little shake and snipped off more branches so the bees wouldn’t get crushed and in the process discovered the new queen.
Put the foil top on the hive, covered with a wooden plank and then put some stones on top. Meanwhile, we laid the branch in front of the hive and all the bees jumped into the box:
They took to their new, temporary home instantly. Guard bees were seen plugging up the hole to the hive (bottom right). Wish us luck.