Swarm Capture

by Ginny. 0 Comments

Swarm of bees in the holly tree
The third and final cluster was close to the ground
Raised garden beds
New raised beds

We were outside building new raised beds for a vegetable garden in the front yard. The hives are close to the new raised beds so we were aware of the hives being lively on a warm sunny day. One of the hives (Oceanic815), the new 4 pound package installed this spring, became busier and busier around 1:30pm. We realized they were swarming. What an amazing thing to watch. The air filled with bees, flying around and around, and you could see the gathering moving as a whole, edging closer to the holly tree which is about 30 feet from their hive.
They settled high in the holly tree. It turns out holly is not the easiest tree to remove a swarm from.
Gavin climbed up a ladder with hand pruners (no safety gear) while I stood on the ground with a cardboard box at the ready, in full beekeeping geek attire. He clipped the branches and placed the swarm into the box. By then many bees had dropped or flew off. So they began to congregate again below where the first cluster was. We let them gather a bit and repeated the process. Gavin only got 2 stings.
We let the remaining bees settle again and this time the cluster was within arm’s reach of the ground, in the same holly tree.
The final group of bees was much easier to capture.

Capturing the swarm
The swarm settled in the holly tree

Then a trip down to Beez Neez Apiary Supply to purchase a new hive. I had originally intended to get a nuc box to have ready for this kind of occasion but Jim at Beez Neez said my swarm was too big, nuc boxes are really for splits. So I ended up buying parts for a new hive (#4!). While they were being painted we set up a temporary hive, which was an extra deep brood box I have ready for my new split hive, a make-shift bottom Gavin constructed for me, and a piece of plywood for a top. And a feeder I’m not using on the other hives. Works great.

Gavin shoveling purchased topsoil for raised garden beds
Mmmm… topsoil

So back to gardening! These raised beds we built out of discarded Trex (plastic decking material). We purchased topsoil for the 3 in the lower yard since the soil there is very shallow, and amended the soil with commercial steer manure. We are going to plant our sun-lovingest plants down here. Tomatoes, squashes, cucumbers, basil. I have rarely had much luck with tomatoes, and I have high hopes for this new location with the raised beds.

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