…and you may just attract a swarm.
Catch bee if you can…
Today was interesting. Just as the oil tank guys showed up to replace the old one, they were forced to stop and watch a swarm fly by. It was actually pretty funny. When I walked right in the middle of it in shorts and tshirt, they began to relax a little.
It was wild. It was probably the most dramatic swarm of our beekeeping history. For a while they just hovered near the house just above our heads. They then attached themselves to the dogwood tree which was nice and low. I began clipping branches away to make the catch easier but they weren’t having it and took off to the hedge higher up. This attempt was hard. I got on the ladder with a huge cardboard box. I dangled a frame by a string for about 20 min until I had about 1/4. I cut the rest of the branch and brought the self absorbed bees to ground.
But again, one by one they flew away and into the hedge again! That’s when I decided to wait. They were still close enough to catch but they might play this catch and chase game all day with me.
And they did fly off again way up high but they were so indecisive. Finally after about half a day, they settled for a low hanging Garry oak branch. I left that hive underneath in the hopes that they would fly in on their own but that wasn’t the case.
Finally I got them in the cardboard box. This time with a few frames. And the next morning when I went to open it, it was like a present. The bees were all nicely attached to the frames.
So yea, the trick is to wait until dusk. Otherwise they have too much energy/will power.
But the story doesn’t end there because this is not your usual swarm. Usually you would vaporize them and then leave them bee but I decided to check for the black queen. And we find this:
She’s light brown, not black!!! On top of that, she’s already laying eggs!!!!
And this whole time we thought the black queen had taken off. But nope, she’s still in the old hive keeping up with queen duties.
So yea, we’re not even going to make sense of what just happened. Did the swarm come from someone else? Did we completely overlook queen cells? We’re not totally sure but if we had to make a bet, we’d say it came from elsewhere. And the reason for that is this:
It’s that forgotten corner of your garden stacked with items to clean on your “to do” list that you never get around to. For us that’s old frames and boxes mixed with remnants of crusty honey. Oh yea, it is the perfect spot to settle. I’d seen a few scout it out in days leading up but I never gave it any thought. But as I watched the swarm move around, I realized they were determined to settle on our property. I’m not sure why in the end they decided against this attractive corner but in the future, we are leaving our shit out and about intentionally! 🙂