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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Monday, April 06, 2009

What I did Before Going to Work Today: I Collected a Swarm

Today I got an email from someone in Chamblee, a part of Atlanta about 15 minutes from my house. She had a swarm of bees in a shrub in her yard and wanted my help to rescue them. I was excited to go get them because my April 1 swarm from last year is a very strong hive this year.

I found out about the swarm at 10 AM and I had to be at my professional office at noon. I threw on my beesuit over my work clothes. I jumped in my car, Google maps directions in hand. Luckily most of my bee stuff was still in my car from the Blue Heron inspection on Saturday. I called her on the cell phone as I drove to make sure I knew where to look at her house.

When I arrived the bees were easy to find. The swarm was quite small - probably a second swarm thrown by a hive. Often the first swarm from a hive is about half the bees in the hive plus the old queen. Then a hive may throw several smaller swarms with virgin queens. This swarm looked like the latter description would fit.

I was desperate to find something to take with me to collect the swarm. My very neat daughter and her husband are living with me until they move into their new house in May. As a result, I have no cardboard boxes sitting around - when one arrives it is immediately flattened and recycled. It's a great habit, but leaves me with no help for swarm collecting! So I got a nuc box and bungee-corded it to its bottom so I would have a box of sorts.

Because I was short on time, I drove home in my beesuit wearing my gloves. The bees who had no gate on the front of the nuc and a poorly fitted top over the bungee cords were flying around the back of the car. The driver behind me did a double take seeing bees flying in my back window and then nearly doubled over when he passed me and looked at my bee get-up.

When I got home with the swarm my son-in-law Kevin was there and was willing to photograph the bees being dumped into their new home. I feel so thankful that he was OK with doing this for me.

Here's a slide show of the whole event. Click on it to make the slideshow bigger and so that you can control how long each slide remains in view:

9 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:24 PM

    Thanks Linda! We hope they thrive as well. Meg and Matt -- Chamblee

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  2. Linda, I have recently discovered your blog and as an armchair bee enthusiast, and lover of bees I am thrilled to be here. Your posts are so interesting and informative--keep up the good work!

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  3. Anonymous12:40 AM

    OH I so enjoyed watching this swarm capture. I pray I can get something as easy as this one.

    Thanks for the thrill Linda

    Sincerely
    Annette from Placerville California

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  5. The only proper word to describe this is... ninja. Absolutely brilliant, totally hardcore! How do you keep the new bees from leaving? (sorry, newbie question)

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  6. I can't guarantee that they won't leave, but the goal of the swarm is to find a home. Since I've provided them with the real estate, it smells like bees because bees have lived there before (bees really like that) and swarming is hard on the bees and the queen, they will probably stay. So far the swarms I've captured have stayed but there's no way to force the bees to do anything - that's part of what I like about beekeeping.

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  7. Simply incredible!

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  8. Amazing story. I can imagine the shock of the driver behind you. The look on his face must have been priceless!

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