Bee Update: Catching a Swarm

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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:

© J.N. Urbanski – Usage prohibited without consent

Using branch snippers, we cut the branch off which the swarm was hanging and plopped it down on top of the hive, like so:

© J.N. Urbanski – Usage prohibited without consent

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.

© J.N. Urbanski – Usage prohibited without consent

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:

© J.N. Urbanski – Usage prohibited without consent

They took to their new, temporary home instantly. Guard bees were seen plugging up the hole to the hive (bottom right). Wish us luck. 

One thought on “Bee Update: Catching a Swarm

  1. Charles Rowe

    You have another issue with your bees. If your colony is being robbed by other bees it means your colony is too weak to protect it’s self or the bees have died out and thats why other bees are robbing what’s left. I will be in Kingston in October and would be willing to give you guys some of my knowledge concerning your bees.

    Reply

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