Fun with the bees

Yesterday Neil got a call from a friend who is a beekeeper to say she had a swarm of bees and would Neil like them.  He jumped at the chance since all his bees had died last year.  So Jan caught the swarm in a box and a sheet and brought them over and emptied them out where Neil had prepared a hive for them.  He put a piece of hardboard across the stand and hoped that they would process along the ramp and into the hive.  but unfortunately instead they settled under the ramp, in a big cluster around the queen.

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Neil put a pheromone lure and a sugar syrup feed (one to one ratio of sugar and water)  into the hive to encourage them into it, but we were sitting in the front garden this afternoon having a cup of tea and we suddenly heard this loud buzzing coming towards us, and they had swarmed again.  Now they have settled in a tree the other side of our garage, a really difficult place to get to.  It seems they weren’t interested in taking up home in Neil’s nice new hive for them, but maybe they are just a flighty lot and will keep on moving.  Anyhow it would appear we have lost them now.  Such a shame as I was looking forward to some of our own honey again.

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10 Comments »

  1. If you had dumped the mass of bees – making sure you got the queen – into the hive rather than in front of it I bet they would have stayed.

    Maybe they’ll come back to your lured hive, maybe not. But you’re ready for the next opportunity and I hope you get your own colony and some yummy honey soon.

    • Thanks, you are probably right, we must learn from this time.
      When are we going to hear from you again on the blog?? I miss your blogging.

      • Well, we got another 3 chickens (rescued them from a free-range organic egg farm where they’d reached the age where the dog food factory was their next step) and that almost got me going again. I’m still not sure if I will get back into blogging. I miss it but I also enjoy walking around the farm and not seeing things through the eyes of a blogger, just enjoying them for themselves without crafting words around my experiences and trying to get the photo to complement it all. Time will tell…

      • Well I hope in time you do come back to blogging. I love to hear what is happening the other side of the world. Maybe just do a couple every now and again, rather than regularly. I’ll watch this space!!

      • Okay, I’ve done it. I’m back. I put a new post on my blog today and I’m going to be posting more in the following days and probably get back into it – though maybe less regularly, as you suggest. Your comment helped me take the plunge again – thanks.

      • Well done, its lovely to hear from you again

  2. Nikitaland said

    Since I know absolutely nothing about bees, and very allergic to them, how in the heck does one just catch a swarm of bees & move them easily? I see that Jan caught the swam in a box & a sheet, but that sounds so dangerous. Would love to hear more on this!

    • It can be difficult catching them. Depends on where they have landed as a swarm. If they are in a cluster and hanging off a post or fence, you can brush them down into a box to transport them. If they have got into a chimney or loft, then you have to try and lure them into a hive with the pheromone lure, but that often doesn’t work and they fly off someone else of their own accord. Neil has got another call this afternoon about a swarm of bees that are hanging off a roof. It is too dangerous to climb up and get them so he has taken a hive and lure with him which he will set up underneath, and then it is a question of waiting to see if they will take the bait and move into the hive.
      The whole process is quite hit and miss to be honest.

      • Nikitaland said

        WOW, that is all amazing! I always wondered how people do this, but I will leave this up to those who know what they are doing. Tell Neil to be careful!

  3. If I can be so bold as to add my 2 cents worth about swarms…. Catching them isn’t generally dangerous at all unless they have placed themselves somewhere awkward. All the danger is in the climbing and reaching and none of it comes from the bees. A swarm of bees is a docile thing. They have no honey, no eggs, no babies, therefore nothing to protect. They don’t like stinging because they die so will only sting as a desperate measure to save the hive. When they swarm they are temporarily hiveless so you can stick your hand in a swarm (something I’d never do – why tempt fate) and none of them will sting you.

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