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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I began my 12th year of beekeeping in April 2017. Now there are almost 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.

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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.

Need help with an Atlanta area swarm? Visit Found a Swarm? Call a Beekeeper. (678) 597-8443

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Atlanta Bee Swarm - My First of the Season

I got a call to go to a house near Chastain Park to collect a swarm. The man who owned the house is a beekeeper and these were his bees. He understood that if we came to help him, he would be giving the bees away. I assured him that I would install them in the community garden near my house.

Bee swarms are always their own unique challenge. He had reported that these bees were 20 feet up in a tree but that he was fine going up a tall ladder. So I arrived to find the bees high up in the tree, as he had said:


I spread my sheet twenty feet below, under the swarm. There was a deep, deep hole directly under the swarm and I kept forgetting about it and stepping into it as I walked on the sheet.

First Peter climbed his yellow ladder and jabbed the swarm with my swarm catcher on a pole. Many  bees fell into it.



We dumped the bees into the box and covered them with the ventilated cover. It was clear that we hadn't gotten the queen because a huge ball of bees flew back to the branch and the bees in the box were not sending the nasonov signal.


So now Peter gets his largest ladder and climbs even higher in the tree, preparing to cut the limb on which the bees are gathered. I am not thinking this through well. Peter cuts the limb and it falls onto the sheet - bad plan - I should have been on the other ladder with the swarm catcher. Still no queen or at least the bees are not indicating that she is in the box.



So we tried one more time (and there's not a photo because this time I held the swarm catcher right under the branch as he cut it.)


This time we got the queen and the bees are signalling. All seems well with the world of this swarm.

There were still many bees on the sheet (from the falling branch), so I wrapped the box which also had a lot of bees on the outside in the sheet; put the whole contraption in my car and took the swarm off to their new home.

Good job, Peter. I'm hoping he becomes more involved with the local beekeepers. 

I put all of the photos on Google + (they are doing away with Picasa where all my photo albums and slideshows are).



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