Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 10 swarm (Andy's)

Jack called me on Sunday, because an unusual amount of bees were flying around the hive. I told him not to worry, since this is a recent package that has barely filled one hive body and still has two more bodies empty, the reason they are flying out is probably the heat, but if the bees were congregating on a tree branch or other similar place, he should call me back, although it was very unlikely ... several minutes later, Jack called back: "we have a swarm". I took my spare hive and my equipment and drove to his house. Here is my first sight of the swarm:

As the bees were congregating on a tree branch, that branch eventually broke and fell to the ground. Luckily, the swarm did not look for another place to regroup, as they usually do in case of a disruption of the cluster.
Jack and I lost no time and started to get ready. Before putting the suits on, we set my spare hive in the desired location, ready to receive the bees.
I believe Jack was using his suit for the first time.

I was not too sure how to catch all the bees laying on the ground, so we intended to try the white sheet method:

A white sheet is layed on the ground, to make the dark entrance of the box more attractive to the bees. If we are lucky, they are going to march en mass toward the box. I never tried this method, nor do I think it is very efficient, but I thought why not try it?

After setting the sheet and the box, I realized that most of the bees were still on the branch, so I lifted the branch, and Jack started to cut the extra length:

After lifting up the branch, it was pretty clear that the queen and most of the bees were on it, so we decided to dump the swarm directly into its hive.

Jack started to cut each branch holding bees, and I shook the bees in the hive:

Piece by piece, the whole swarm ended inside the hive. Jack used the sugar water spray to reduce the amount of bees flying:

Here are the bees left on the rock:

There were still a lot of bees flying around, but about half an hour after the following picture was taken, the rock was clean and most of the bees were inside the hive.

Jack finished up the hiving process, by placing the cloth, the quilt and the roof:

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