Posted by: Pam B. Newberry | April 3, 2012

April Fool’s Swarm – Our First! No Joke!


We had our first swarm!

Saturday, April 1, Hobbit King and I were working down in the garden. Hobbit Princess and Grand Dog had come over to help out. The day before, we had treated the hives with the second application of Terramycin  (See previous post regarding first treatment).

Grand Dog watching over Hobbit’s Bend Farm!

Grand Dog was sitting out in the field watching the action and making sure we were all safe and happy. All of a sudden, I heard this buzz begin to come out of the hive area. It was just as you might imagine several thousand bees would sound.

The amazing part is that it took the bees several minutes to get themselves to where they were moving with a purpose. They swarmed around the hive for a very long time. Just as suddenly as the swarm started coming out of the hive, the swarm seemed to take shape and begin to follow the queen.

It was obvious the swarm was stabilizing when it no longer looked like the bees where just flying around like a “mad hatter” running around. It actually took on the shape of a well formed tornado. That is, it looked just like I’d seen cartoonist draw a bee swarm in a funnel shape. The bees were flying in a whirl and the whirl moved over to the pine trees about 100 yards away from the hive. Alas no picture of this! Yes, I know. Where’s a blasted camera when you need one!

Hobbit King went up to get the camera and I positioned myself just far enough away from the swarm so I could watch where they might land.

Bees moving toward Pine Tree

The queen moved over to the tree and the bees appeared to be trying to determine where to go as you can see in the picture the bees are flying in mass, but it is not well formed.

Just as suddenly, the swarm formed perfectly on the tree branch.

Fully formed swarm of bees on tree branch

Hobbit King gathered up his equipment, the tractor, a ladder, and we dressed in our gear. He wanted to try and capture the swarm. Keep in mind, this was something we had only heard about others doing. We had not seen nor were we real sure just what would happen.

Preparing to capture the swarm

Hobbit Princess said she’d stay back and keep Grand Dog out of the middle of things. With the tractor positioned, the ladder securely in place, the nuc box in position with a platform on the forks of the tractor, Hobbit King ventured up while I snapped pictures. Yep, you can say I had the easier job. One I liked. 🙂

These pictures show Hobbit King shaking the branches and hoping we had moved the queen into the box.

Hobbit King wiping the bees into the nuc box looking for the queen

Partial knock-down of the swarm

Bees moving to the box -- we hope the Queen is in there!

Next you see the bees that landed on the platform. They began to march into the box where the queen was now resting. As many times as I’ve heard this described, I can only say that seeing it first hand is just miraculous. No, it’s amazing! Just breathe taking! Nature working in such a wonderful way.

Bees on the platform beginning to move into the Nuc Box where the Queen is located

Closeup of bees moving into the Nuc Box

 

While we let the bees take their time moving into the nuc box, Hobbit King quickly built a special stand to set the nuc box until we can get a permanent hive built. Yes, you guessed it. We weren’t ready for a swarm. Lesson learned!

We will go the end of the week and purchase the materials we need to build a full hive. And, yes, we will buy extra to have on hand.

It was an awesome experience and one I hope we will see again, except we hope to be better prepared. Oh the joys of spring!!

Here’s hoping your April is as full of surprises as our April Fool’s Swarm was for us!

Honey Cheers,
Hobbit Queen

 

 


Responses

  1. […] The four swarms we captured and gave to a fellow beekeeper, who had lost his bees this winter, are still thriving as well. We are so pleased. And, the bees we tried to capture from the old house, well, they are now living in an observation hive at our town’s visitor center. (For more on swarms, see an earlier post April Fool’s – No Joke!). […]

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  2. […] April Fool’s Swarm – Our First! No Joke! (honeybeesandme.com) […]

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  3. Wow, what an exciting event! It’s like a first-class movie thriller, only it’s real life! Thanks for sharing it, HQ, and thanks for all the great pictures. Almost as good as the movie. Good actors, too (I meant the bees, but I guess you’d call them extras – okay, Hobbit King did his part well too :P).

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    • Hey Sandra…it is exciting isn’t it! I mean what a thrill. Wish you could have been here to see it live. I do not have a command of the English language that does the description of what we experienced justice. Hobbit King did an awesome job indeed. You are correct, those little ladies and new drones were impressive!

      Thanks for visiting my blog! I cherish your feedback!
      Honey Cheers,
      HQ

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  4. Yes, a swarm is always exciting but does mean you won’t have honey from that hive this year! But fortunately, it was accessible and you now have another hive! Good luck.

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    • Hi Garden Diaries!

      Yes, you are right, we won’t get honey from the hive that swarmed, the “new” hive. We’re not sure about the other half of the hive that didn’t swarm. Time will tell. Should we expect to get honey from it?

      I love your sight! Thanks so much for visiting my blog!
      Cheers,
      HQ

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      • If you have a good strong hive with lots of traffic you should. My honey flow is right now and I can stand in front and just tell that lots is going on inside. I will open it up in a few days and see what is going on. And I am getting another nuc in May- just insurance for next year! I love the unpredictability of beekeeping. Sometimes you bomb, but sometimes you hit the jackpot!

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      • Oh sooo true!! The swarm we captured…well, you guessed it! It “re-swarmed!” Worse part, we hadn’t had a chance to get the hive. This time the hive was up about 40 ft in the air, too high to retrieve. The saga continues…

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  5. So many bees! Great stuff 🙂

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    • Thanks so much Emily! It was an exciting time for sure! I feel like a “bee” keeper now. 🙂

      Cheers,
      HQ

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  6. Very cool. We’re newbies at beekeeping too, and we have a box to catch the swarm, but no hive. That’s a good idea to have one ready, just in case. Thanks for the tip.

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    • Hi Ruby,

      So glad our experience is helping you, too. This first year of beekeeping has been such an adventure. We seem to “bee” thinking about the bees daily now. I wish you all the luck we’ve been having so far, too. How many hives do you have?

      Cheers,
      HQ

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      • Hi HQ, We only have one so far, but are expecting in a few weeks 😉 Busy with the last coats of paint on the hive and foundation, but last years hive is doing great. So far so good.

        Good luck with your busy-buzzies!
        Ruby

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  7. […] Follow this link: April Fool's Swarm – Our First! No Joke! « Miss Beehaven with … […]

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  8. […] Read more from the original source: April Fool's Swarm – Our First! No Joke! « Miss Beehaven with … […]

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