As the days are getting hotter and the hives are all brooding up for the nectar flows, it’s the time of year that you’ll see large clumps of bees hanging on and around the entrance of the hive to keep cool and let more circulation of airflow into the hive. It’s totally normal and occurs when the hives are all brooded up in the spring and summer as the weather gets hotter both night and day.
During this time of year and into the hot summer months, be sure to check that there is adequate airflow around your hives, your hives are well shaded for a good portion of the day and be sure to keep replenishing the source of water for the bees as they can go through a lot of water on those hot summer days!
The other day… well really June 25th, my phone rang at about 6:00pm just as I was sitting down to dinner. It was Margaret. “Guess what?!” she exclaimed. I took a wild guess: “your little hive bees swarmed?” “Yes!” she said. “Want to go on a swarming adventure and catch them?” so about 10 min later when I had finished eating, I gathered my bee supplies and headed out to catch a late swarm of the season.
It was quite the adventure of the day! David and Simone (Margaret’s son and his partner) were there to watch and take pictures and Billy witnessed the excitement from the kitchen window with his binoculars. There they were, thousands of buzzing bees all clumped up together hanging from the branch of an apple tree. Margaret cut the branch the bees were on while I held it and gently lowered the whole cluster of bees and branch into the box and put on the lid. Hardly a buzz to be heard… it was a very smooth swarm catch!
We secured the box onto the top of the ladder to let all of the bees get in and later that night Margaret closed the box and moved them into a sheltered place under a russian olive tree waiting for us to install them into the hive the following day.
We carried the box over to the new hive location after the evening goat milking. With the false-back just after the 11th top bar toward the front, we removed 9 of the bars leaving on each end to serve as a sort of lip for the bees to get into the hive. “Vhooom!” They were in with a bustle of energy. As the bees crawled up to the top of the hive, we replaced the top bars and sat by the hive, waiting for a bit to make sure they seemed content and satisfied with their new home. Everyone was crowding on the landing board sticking their butts up in the air “fanning” to let the other bees- and the world- know where their new home is. We watched as they all slowly made their way into the hive until only a few bees remained on the landing board. What a late season adventure it was!! Ironically, this very group was the one Margaret and I caught in mid April from one of my hives that had been hers the previous year. Hopefully these girls will be happy in their new home and find lots of nectar to keep them through the winter safe and strong. What a great swarming season it was!! All in all, backyard hive and bee guardians around the area caught about 70 swarms this season. Whew!!
~Photos courtesy of David Hollander~
This is a story Una Morera wrote about her recent trip to Mexico, difficult decisions and her encounters with honeybees and humans in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico. Enjoy! Claire
At times we are asked to reflect about the qualities we like about ourselves. We come up with list in our head, we look in the mirror at ourselves, we contemplate on our meditation cushions, or we discover it in a meaningful conversation with someone we barely know or someone we know really well. One of qualities I really like about myself is my ability to love and care for honeybees. It’s a deep concern and profound love I have for these amazing insects. I am always in awe when I meet others who share this love, or at the very least, this respect. Currently, my boyfriend and I are the proud guardians of two top bar hives. These hives not only provide us with honey but also relaxation, curiosity and the kind of pride that happens when you know you are doing something right. We both feel that it’s improper to try and make money from the honey or even mess with the honeybee’s way of life. We take a truly hands-off approach. Continue reading
Just the other day I was out catching swarms and for the first time I saw the full on swarming activity. It was simply awe-some in every sense of the word! I got a call on the swarm hotline number, goggled the location and within an hour or two I met up with a fellow beeguardian/beekeeper who saw a swarm of bees swarm into a tree way up within a few blocks of his house. We walked over to the swarm tree together and he pointed the swarm out to me. It was a massive swarm… probably basketball sized all clumped up in a ball about 40′ up out on a limb of a very tall pine tree. Continue reading
The Swarm Fetchers are in!!
These newly designed swarm fetchers have three uses:
1) They are designed to be placed in trees to attract a swarm of bees into them by the queen pheromone placed in the middle. After placing them in a tree, you will know when a swarm has found it when you see activity out near the entrance. Plus, with the 5 golden mean top bars that lay across the top of the box, you don’t have to check on them so often because the bees will start building comb on the bars and as the bars are normal golden mean top bars, you can easily exchange the top bars with the empty ones in your hive for easy installation without the usual furry of bee activity and confusion as they adjust to a new place. Continue reading
April, 21 2010
Earlier today as I was leaving a message for Amy, a fellow bee person, about us not doing hive stuff as planned today because of the weather, I noticed a swarm of bees right outside of one of my hives!! Continue reading