I was thrilled because my hive at the Morningside Community Garden has died and I want to have a hive at that community garden. The beehive makes for a good ambassador for beekeeping and it's educational for the people who come by the garden.
So I got the call at 8 PM and headed off to Oakdale Road, a street very close to me. It was almost dark and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find the bees although the caller said they were on a shrub about a foot from the ground near the sidewalk.
I arrived and quickly found the bees, but OH, what a DIFFICULT swarm to capture. It was in a shrub with tiny branches from the main trunk. The branches came out of the trunk all the way down to the ground. There was nothing to cut or shake and the bees were on about twelve branches all together. The swarm was the size of a fat football.
I put a white sheet right up against the swarm which, although the top of it was about a foot from the ground, was actually sitting right on the ground.
This out of focus photo was taken with my cell phone. I cut all of those branches sticking out from the swarm so I could get close to it.
A very sweet relatively new beekeeper named Anne had seen the bees while running and made the swarm call, so she came to see me "get" the swarm. I am so very, very grateful. If it weren't for her and her deft use of the flashlight, I might still be over there trying to scoop up bees.
I used my milk carton scoop to try to scoop the bees but only a few tablespoons of them were in the milk carton at a time to dump into the box. This was because the bees were not just on one branch of the shrub to be easily scooped off. Instead every scoop ran into the multitude of branches. It was just about hopeless.
I put my box at an angle right up against it and shook what I could into it.
I put a ventilated top on the box and left about a 1/2 inch opening. Some bees were doing the nasonov dance on the edge of the box, but I don't think I got the queen.
I got stung (an unusual thing to happen while trying to collect a swarm) at least 15 times - maybe 20. I counted eight on my hands and arms, four on my stomach, and I haven't looked at my legs yet but there are at least five there.
In the end I left the box with the opening there right next to the swarm. I'll go in the morning before work. At best, I will find all the bees happily in the box. At worst, I'll find the box, sheet and bees all gone. At medium, I'll find all the bees out of the box and back surrounding their queen.
Driving home I got stung two more times! My car was full of random bees when I locked it up at my house and went inside and had a beer.
If tomorrow they are back on the shrub, good luck to them. I hope they find a happy home, but it won't be at the Morningside community garden!!!!!
PS. Post a bath and a beer the only stings still evident are one on my right hand and three on my left hand (the one that was doing the scooping). As this is my 10th year of beekeeping, it makes sense that my immunity to stings has grown. The four that I can still see happened early in the process when I couldn't scrape the stinger out. One on my left hand drew blood, which means the stinger hit a small blood vessel, probably, and that would cause more of a reaction.