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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 19th year of beekeeping in April 2024. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

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.Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Indeed it is SWARM season!

On Monday, my house is going to be all topsy-turvy as my kitchen renovation begins and for about six to eight weeks, I will be without the ability to cook at home - at least not as I am used to.  I have spent the last few days organizing and re-organizing to make ready for the big event.

I was walking out to take some recycling to the curb (result of all my cleaning/organizing) when a neighbor and great gardener, Hal, walked up.  "Fortunate that you are here," he said.  He sounds like the perfect Southern novel when he speaks.  He told me that there was a bee swarm just down the street and he wondered if I could come see it.

I was delighted and walked with him to the corner where there was a huge swarm on a branch about seven feet up in my neighbor's tree.  Scott, the neighbor, said the bees had just landed there about 10 minutes before.  I have all of my windows open and would have heard a swarm gathering in my yard if they were my bees, so I am pretty sure they came from somewhere else.

About two cats, I'd say.  I went home to get all my swarm catching gear:  sheet, spray container of sugar syrup, ladder, banker's box, ventilated hive cover, straps, bee brush, veil, jacket, old comb, my swarm catcher and mop handle.  I came back and up walked George Andl, a neighbor, beekeeper, and fellow blogger.  George wanted to help and went home to get his gear.

When he came back, I climbed the ladder and held the branch in one hand and the plastic banker's box in the other.  I shook the branch and most of the bees fell into the banker's box.  I used the water cooler bottle of my swarm catcher to gather most of the remaining bees.

I set the banker's box on the ground and the bees began nasanov emissions.  I assume that means I got the queen but a number of bees stayed on the tree branch, drawn, I suppose, to her pheromone.  I forgot to bring anything to cover the ventilated cover and make it dark in the box, so I just sort of wrapped the sheet up over the box.  Bees continued to go into it.

Since I literally live three houses away.  I didn't strap the top onto the box, but instead completely surrounded the box with sheet and gently lifted it into my car.  

When I got home, the bees were mostly clinging to the underside of the ventilated hive cover.  I poured the bees into a waiting hive box.

When I brought the bees home, there was a small clump still up in the tree.  I went back to Scott's house and put an old nuc box under the cluster.  I put in the nuc box the old comb that I had baited the banker's box with when I shook the swarm.  I thought that might smell like "mommy" to them.  I left the nuc box with the lid ajar and went to dinner.

As dark fell,  I returned to Scott's where all the bees had pretty much gone into the nuc box.  I brought it home and set it on the banker's box so that the entry to the nuc box faced the entry to the hive in which I had put the swarm.  In the morning perhaps the nuc bees will go home to mommy in the new hive box!

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