So my darn bees decided now would be a good time to swarm, you know, while my leg is broken and I can’t catch them. So, I talked my wife into it, she did great and got them into a nuc. Luckily I had a few frames with honey still so we put 1 in with them, pulled a few with comb out from the freezer and will put them in tomorrow as they thaw. Now I will have to find someone in the area that needs some bees for an empty hive. It was crazy when they were swarming because we were getting some winds from the hurricane, so they were everywhere!! Pretty cool, I should have videoed it. Oh well, just thought I’d share some pics with y’all.
I think in the US the term is the bees threw you a curve ball. Just when you think you have everything right they change the game.
I noticed that in your first photo, there is a wasp at the right hand side of the photo. Could it be possible that the hive absconded after being harassed by wasps? This is the time of year for that to happen. If it is possible, make sure your entrances are reduced, and try to find and destroy the wasp nest.
Here is a recent article by Rusty Burlew to show you what I mean:
If that is the case, you may not want to part with the bees, as the parent hive may be mostly empty now.
Hey @Dawn_SD, that is funny you say that (not really funny just I was trying to take a picture of that bee). The hive swarmed as all three hives are still booming at my hive stand. Anyway, back to the bee, we never saw anything like that guy. He was huge, I was trying to get a better pic so we could google what the heck it was. After the swarm made stop at our pine, he flew there for about 1 minute then left and never came back, so I’m not sure he was trying to attack it anything and we never saw one around the hives. Our best guess looking was a European hornet, but not 100 percent . And all our hives have entrance reducers too.
Id check and make sure the parent hive isn’t Honeybound and that’s what triggered it.Here in Mo their just starting to backfill…maybe u can combine them back if u can’t find someone who wants em,or overwinter them in that much if you have some extra drawn comb and stores, possibly find a mated Queen unless she’s laying good soon.Good luck
I don’t think that honeybound frames in the brood, as long as there is an empty space somewhere else in the hive, to be an issue. The bees will soon shift honey around to make room for the queen to lay, if they so desire.
It could be that the bees were optimistic of drones being available to mate with virgin queens, as well as enough time to rebuild before winter sets in, so they swarmed.
Good you kept the swarm BUT your wife is certainly a keeper
May I ask what is in the hand held spray, it’s in the photos. Liquid smoke?
It is a 50/50 sugar water mix.
It’s bee calming instead of smoke? Perhaps I don’t understand how you use it. Never done that before. Something new…great.
Nobody really taught me how to catch a swarm. So last year was my first, I caught 4, then 5 this year. I just assumed, I use sugar water when I put a package in so I figured same thing for a swarm. It has worked great for me.
It is on my must try list. Thanks.
Hi Tony, one thing I always use when catching a swarm is a frame containing lots of open brood. Brood that needs nursing. I rarely shake a swarm. I’ll sit the frame of brood in the capture box, directly under the swarm, barely touching it. Almost instantly, the bees start marching down over the brood & filling the box. A couple of drops of lemongrass oil smeered over the frames as well can also help.
These videos we made a few years ago show my technique:
These videos show what to do when a swarm can’t be shaked.
Great videos Jeff, certainly food, or brood for thought, thanks for sharing.
Hi & you’re welcome Skeggley. My first mentor told me about using brood when catching swarms, so I’ve used it successfully ever since - for the most part. I always use an unwanted baby as an illustration. Where would be the best place to drop an unwanted baby off, so it got cared for? At the steps of a hospital, where nurses will look after & feed it. I think of bees the same way. A swarm has lots of nurses & only too keen to look after abandoned babies, given the opportunity.
PS, since making those videos, I no long leave the entrances at full width, especially during winter. Also bees emerge, not hatch. Thank you @Dawn_SD. No doubt, I’ll be pointing out some emerging bees to some bee customers this afternoon, provided they bring their bee suit
You are so funny, @JeffH! Thank you for thanking me, but thank you for using the information and teaching others about correct terminology too!
Thanks, watched the video. The uncapped brood and Lemon grass are neat ideas. I will try both. But I have a hive of bees that don’t chase me away so I intend to do numerous splits next year. I also have a full on government bee inspection and I am varroa free, so hopefully splits will keep me that way.
I read on the forum about an Australian growing herb artemisia absinthe next to the hives and the seeds are on the way, from China.
I have 2 x6 frame polynucs coming for next year.
Just make sure they don’t send you dandelions and nettles!
Good luck with whatever seeds you get from China. I guess the UK bio-security laws are more relaxed than in Australia where they would be incinerated on arriving here.
Not true Peter let’s not confuse fact from opinion.
artemisia absinthe Is permitted according to Bicon.
Wormwood is available at almost any nursery outlet here.