Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I caught my first swarm!

A swarm in May is worth a load of hay
A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon
A swarm in July — let them fly

There were 3 clusters of bees in this bush making up the swarm. The largest is in the background of this photo on the left.

"Swarming is the natural means of reproduction of honey bee colonies. A new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees, a process called swarming. In the prime swarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen. This swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees. Swarming is mainly a spring phenomenon, usually within a two- or three-week period depending on the locale, but occasional swarms can happen throughout the producing season." from Wikipedia
I will remember today for a long time. Seeing a swarm and getting it to go into a hive box was an amazing accomplishment. I grabbed by bee gloves and bee vail first. I brought my camera too. I carried a hive box with some frames in it and placed under the swarm.

Then I shook the swarm and they dropped into the box, but thousands of bees were flying around. I did this again with another box.

 I left for a while and when I came back all the bees had moved into one of the boxes, the box with the queen, I assume because the bees follow her by scent (pheremones). In the evening when all the bees were settled I moved them back to my bee yard. I will check them in the morning.
It's the morning after catching my first swarm. Today Huck and I went to see if the bees liked their new home. (Huck does not come anywhere near the bee yard, he was stung once. He is a quick learner)
They like it! It has plenty of room for a growing family and they love the neighbors (the Honeybees of Colts Neck). It's done deal. Closing took place this morning.
I took this video showing how I checked the hive box to see if the swarm was still there.

After removing the outer cover, I could see and hear the swarm through the inner cover!!!! See them? I feel like a new mother!

I will watch the weather and feed them only if it is really cold or extremely rainy. Bees can't fly in the rain (watch the Bee Movie).  In a couple of weeks I'll check inside the hive to see if the queen laying brood and the workers are building up honey stores.

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