Last week, our bees swarmed.
Something I’d been looking forward to happening, to watch our bees be healthy and happy. The previous week I’d seen a few queen cells, so hoped it’d happen soon. Of course, one of the worries about a swarm is when it doesn’t move to your own land. The role of a beekeeper is to manage swarms from our bees.
When the bees swarm, the workers will fill their tummies with lots of honey for the journey. The (old) queen will leave the hive with her workers, and go to what is effectively a staging area. The swarm will hang around there while scout bees go and find a nice new home. The swarm will stay on the staging area anywhere between a few hours, or a few days.
So as my first swarm, I did a pile of research. I was confident on collecting a swarm from low branches. Collecting from high branches. Or collecting from tricky spots, like a a post.
Where do you think my bees swarmed to?
- low branches
- high branches
Now all the books and websites said that all you need to do is take a box, tap the branch the bees are on gently, and let them fall into the box. Leave the box there until dark, then take to their new home.
Nothing about how to collect from long grass.
Turns out that a bee vacuum is the easiest way (yes! It is a thing!).
Or you can put the box near them on the ground, and let them just walk on in.
That’s what we chose to do.
I was a litle impatient, and ended up collecting a pile of bees and dumping them in. Then the rest of the bees started to move into the box. By putting a ceramic tile down, the bees could leave a scent trail for the rest to follow.
A little bit of a tidy-up, and ready to move to their new home.
And now in their new home.
After moving the hive to the new spot (that night, don’t want the bees to think the Yukka is a nice home!)
I put a cardboard box over the remaining mound in the grass. By mid-morning, the bees had climbed into the box and were filling it out nicely. I was able to carry them to join their Queen, and then return the box back for any stragglers.
What would I do differently? I’d put the box up on a brick or something, so it was higher than the grass / yukka stem the bees were on. That way they’d be more likely to enter the hive themselves.
Follow-up visit has shown the queen is laying – I’m seeing brood cells, and some eggs. Well done Beatrice!