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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 17th year of beekeeping in April 2022. 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. 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, March 21, 2022

A Swarm in my Own Backyard

As a responsible beekeeper, I try very hard to pay attention to my hives and make efforts to keep them from swarming. On my largest hive this spring, I have taken a split from it. (I didn't actually split the hive, but took frames of brood and eggs and made a split.) I also have been checker boarding the hive to give them the idea that they had plenty of room. 

We had heavy rains in Atlanta. I moved in June of last year to a house, new to me. I just discovered in the last month that sometimes in the heavy rains, the back corner of my backyard and the back fence area of my backyard fill with water. The water literally came up to the bottom of the cinder blocks on which my largest hive - the one I've been checkerboarding like mad - sits. 

Yesterday I took that entire hive apart all the way down to the cinder blocks and moved the cinder blocks forward the length of a cinder block.

The green arrow indicates where the edge of the water was after the heavy rains (and it stayed there all day and night). The blue oval marks the footprint of the original hive position. Moving the hive forward about a foot didn't seem to bother the bees. They appeared to adapt immediately.

And today, despite three checkerboarded boxes on the top of the hive, they swarmed. My grandson and I were building a chicken coop in the backyard and the bees just wouldn't leave us alone. Then we realized that they were swarming.

This is a four year old survivor hive and I really didn't want them to swarm, and if they did choose to swarm, I wanted to collect the swarm. These bees flew into an evergreen tree about twenty feet from the hive and about ten feet up. It was 2:30 in the afternoon. 

The timing was terrible. Dylan, my grandson, had to go home for soccer practice. As I drove him home, I kept thinking about where I would put this swarm. I didn't plan to climb ladders this year, but I was going to today to get that swarm. Intermittently I reminded myself that you are not supposed to count your chickens before they are hatched. 

Sure enough, I ran into my backyard and the swarm wasn't up high in the tree. But bees were still buzzing around and I discovered that the whole swarm had moved down to a much lower branch.

It was a quick and easy (no ladder) swarm capture. I then left the box for about an hour for the bees to settle into their transport container. Then I installed the swarm about 20 minutes away in the Morningside Community Garden.

I'll check on it tomorrow. And when I post the YouTube of the capture and install, I'll put a link here.

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