Thursday, May 27, 2010


Well, it was a creative idea, but when we went to get them at 11:30 last night, they were gone.  We are not sure why it did not work.  I sure hope we get another opportunity to get a swarm soon.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Catching a swarm

Last night Brian got a call at work to pick-up a swarm. He said he could come this morning. I went with him. He tried an interesting strategy that worked with varying success. We will know better later. Rather than using a cardboard box or a nuc box, he actually brought along a hive box with frames, someone with previous drawn comb, which will be where they will live. He put an inside cover on the box attached with a hinge; it has a small opening in the top. It makes it easier because they won't have to be moved again, but it sure did not make it easier to collect them. (I found an interesting forum conversation about how some other beekeepers collect swarms and from an urban beekeeper's blog and another blog from a rural area in Oklahoma. Like they say at the San Mateo Beekeepers' Guild meetings, if you ask 9 beekeepers how to do something, you will get 10 answers.) They were swarming around a branch on a bush at the fence line. Brian pruned the branch and shook it over the box, first with the lid open and then with it closed. He got the majority of the swarm, but did not know if he got the queen. Some mini-swarms remained in the tree and on the fence. He kept scooping them up. Most went in. I asked him if he thought they would continue to go in. He asked if I noticed that their butts were up in the air. He said that meant they were telling the rest of the swarm that they had found a good place to live and come on in. He said that they would even call the queen if she was not already inside. He told the owner of the property that he would come back late tonight to pick-up the box as if he went back later this morning, they might be out foraging. He did not bother to mention that he would not be home from work until 10:45 and then has to get the car and go up there. I wonder what it will be like to go to a more upscale suburban neighborhood close to midnight and wander into someones yard.