Sunday, April 8, 2012


Looked out the window and noticed lots and lots of bees flying from the hive, spiraling up in the air.  uh oh, they are going to swarm.

Yep, they did.  But they landed in a dogwood tree in the front yard.  Not too high up.

Call the SWARM PATROL!  We are members of the Orange County Beekeepers Association and we called the swarm patrol.  Members who are informed and experienced go out and capture swarms.

Bees swarm when the hive gets too crowded.  They get together and discuss options.  Contrary to popular opinion, it is not the decision of the Queen Bee.  When they all agree to swarm, they push the queen out with them.  Then they land somewhere and scouts go looking for a new home.

There is a lot of advice on how to avoid your colony swarming but the general consensus is, they will swarm.  Some beekeepers try to put them back in the hive but they will just leave again.  They have made up their minds. 

Here is our esteemed swarm captain surveying the swarm.  Looks like he will need a ladder.

Taking a bucket with him, empty hive body on the ground, he climbs to the swarm.  (excuse the pictures, I took them from the safety of the house.)

Using a bee brush he brushed them into the bucket, placed the lid on it and climbed down the ladder to the hive box on the ground.

Dumped then bees in the box and put the lid on it.  Then dump buckets of bees on the ground in front of the box with the hope they will go into the box.  Some did, some did not as you can see them flying all around him.  

He repeated this process several times.  Finally after getting a lot of the bees on the ground or in the box he left to see if they would settle down.  He had another swarm to try and capture, just down the road.   They were not cooperating and he was stung several times.

He will return in a couple of hours to see if it was successful or if they leave again.  If the queen is in the hive box, they will stay with her.

This spring has been exceptionally busy for the swarm patrol.

When the Captain returned the colony was much calmer.  All seemed to be in the hive box.

 So he carefully closed the hive box, strapped it tight, wore his veil and drove home with the swarm.
Happy life in your new home girls.