Monday, May 14, 2012
Batch of Bees
About two weeks ago my wife saw a cloud of bees above our orchard. I have this one very large and productive hive and thought "Arrrgh, I didn't prevent a swarming from that hive!" (swarming is a natural reaction to not enough space in a hive or perceived lack of space by a hive of bees, usually occurring in the spring). For the last two weeks, there was still a lot of activity around that hive, so maybe it wasn't my bees that my wife had seen swarming. But today, as I drove passed our orchard on my way home from work, I glanced at the orchard and saw a dark mass in one of our apple trees. Another swarm! This is the season and as I checked my hive in the orchard I realized that this swarm was too massive to have come from my hive and my hive was doing just fine. I quickly gathered some odds and ends of hive bodies and frames I had in our shed and luckily was able to assemble a new hive structure from pieces I had recently ordered (with the only problem being that I hadn't painted two of the supers yet but I figured that was the least of my worries). It was threatening to rain and I had to try to move the swarm into the new hive before the swarm traveled somewhere else. I placed two frames of honey from my large hive into the new hive. I then proceeded to shake the bees off the branch of the apple tree into a bucket and transfer them to the new hive. Success with the transfer! I will know in a few days if they have taken to their new home. Now to order a few missing parts for the hive and then we will be all set with three hives instead of two. As for the swarming in the orchard, I reflect on this spring and think that maybe swarms may be attracted to the orchard because of the apple blossoms as a plentiful close source of food. So in the future I may have to insure I have a spare hive at the ready in the spring for just such an event. An exciting Monday!