Posts

Showing posts from August, 2017

Catching a Swarm for Our Second Hive

Image
Things have calmed down here considerably since this weekend’s bee tornado, when our colony decided to split and swarm to create a second group of bees. Once they settled down and found their queen, they all clustered up on a sheltered post of our grape arbor: 

This is a lot of bees, and they wouldn’t stay there forever. Their next job was to look for a new place to build comb for a hive — a hollow log would be nice, but it’s just as likely that they would find a hole in a wall and build their nest in a house or garage.
That’s not exactly good publicity for honeybees when it comes to the neighbors, so our job was to catch that swarm and give it a new home. To do that, I dug an old box out of the recycling bin and donned my bee suit to grab those bees and give them some shelter before the sun set. Kirk was called in to work, so I had to do it myself. This would have been better as a two-person job, since climbing on a chair and holding that box in one hand while scooping bees with the…

Swarm!

Image
This afternoon Jonas called me to look out the window because the wind was acting weird and things were flying around in circles in the back yard.
It wasn’t the wind.

What Jonas was lucky enough to notice was that the bees were swarming.
Honeybees do this when their colony is doing well. It’s a way to reproduce by creating a new queen and sending the old one out into the world with a bunch of workers to build a new hive somewhere. 
When they do it, it looks like a bee tornado.

The first video was early — probably not too long after they decided to ship out of the hive — but during the second they were starting to coalesce a bit. You can hear the buzzing if you listen closely. (Jonas was not exactly delighted by any of this.) Eventually I saw that they were beginning to land on the grape vines, and in another half hour or so they had all decided on a post of the grape arbor.

This is a nice, sheltered spot, and hopefully they have a little trouble finding a suitable log or hole to move…