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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.

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

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Second Atlanta swarm on I-Beam in Forest Park

My second swarm call of the year came just a couple of days after the first one. I was told the bees were on rebar at a construction company. When I arrived I found the bees tucked into the squared corners of an I-Beam!

So I did the swarm catching prep while I decided how to get these bees that I couldn't shake and didn't want to make angry.
I set up a sheet under the swarm, got my ladder, my plastic banker's box, a spray bottle of sugar water, and my bee brush. I climbed up the ladder.

I held the box and brushed the majority of bees into it, but huge numbers flew back to the I-Beam. The bees in the box were not tail-up and were not sending out nasonov. The queen must still be on the I-Beam.....

I felt discouraged after several brushing attempts and angry bees in response. So I took a round Ziploc 16 oz container and scraped the bees into it by running it along the interior of the I-Beam. Then I dumped them into the box and repeated, dumped, repeated, etc.

I decided to leave them for lunch and see if the queen was in the box after lunch. Forest Park is 30 minutes from my house so I drove back the 30 minutes, had lunch with Julia, and returned to the scene.

The bees were in the box and had left the I-Beam. I must have gotten the queen in one of my Ziploc container sweeps.

Because there were lots of bees outside the box on top of the ventilated cover, I decided to bring them home just like that. I secured the cover with the bungee cord and then gently wrapped the box, exterior bees and all, in the sheet. I carried it to the car and set them in the back. Now I'm driving with hundreds of bees outside the travel container!

I installed this swarm at Stonehurst Place Inn on Piedmont. Their bees died over the winter and they were glad to see me. I hope they will do well in the hive at the bed and breakfast.


  1. Hi Linda,
    This looks like it was really challenging - working up on a ladder is never easy! One thing that may have helped that I have done before - position a box as close to directly under the swarm as possible and use one of those very thin, flexible plastic cutting boards to dislodge the swarm from the surface. Slip the plastic between the bees and the surface and the entire clump will fall off as one piece. Thanks for sharing your adventures!

  2. Brilliant idea, Adam - thanks - I have a small one that would have been perfect. I did position the box directly under and very close to the swarm (the edge was touching the bottom of the I-beam), but the plastic cutting board would have been the best idea. If I ever face a challenge like that again, I'll have one in my swarm kit.

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