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I've been keeping this blog for nine years and I began my 10th year of beekeeping in April 2015. Now there are about 1270 posts on this blog. . Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

Need help with an Atlanta area swarm? Visit Found a Swarm? Call a Beekeeper. (678) 597-8443

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Indeed it is SWARM season!

On Monday, my house is going to be all topsy-turvy as my kitchen renovation begins and for about six to eight weeks, I will be without the ability to cook at home - at least not as I am used to.  I have spent the last few days organizing and re-organizing to make ready for the big event.

I was walking out to take some recycling to the curb (result of all my cleaning/organizing) when a neighbor and great gardener, Hal, walked up.  "Fortunate that you are here," he said.  He sounds like the perfect Southern novel when he speaks.  He told me that there was a bee swarm just down the street and he wondered if I could come see it.

I was delighted and walked with him to the corner where there was a huge swarm on a branch about seven feet up in my neighbor's tree.  Scott, the neighbor, said the bees had just landed there about 10 minutes before.  I have all of my windows open and would have heard a swarm gathering in my yard if they were my bees, so I am pretty sure they came from somewhere else.

About two cats, I'd say.  I went home to get all my swarm catching gear:  sheet, spray container of sugar syrup, ladder, banker's box, ventilated hive cover, straps, bee brush, veil, jacket, old comb, my swarm catcher and mop handle.  I came back and up walked George Andl, a neighbor, beekeeper, and fellow blogger.  George wanted to help and went home to get his gear.

When he came back, I climbed the ladder and held the branch in one hand and the plastic banker's box in the other.  I shook the branch and most of the bees fell into the banker's box.  I used the water cooler bottle of my swarm catcher to gather most of the remaining bees.

I set the banker's box on the ground and the bees began nasanov emissions.  I assume that means I got the queen but a number of bees stayed on the tree branch, drawn, I suppose, to her pheromone.  I forgot to bring anything to cover the ventilated cover and make it dark in the box, so I just sort of wrapped the sheet up over the box.  Bees continued to go into it.

Since I literally live three houses away.  I didn't strap the top onto the box, but instead completely surrounded the box with sheet and gently lifted it into my car.  

When I got home, the bees were mostly clinging to the underside of the ventilated hive cover.  I poured the bees into a waiting hive box.

When I brought the bees home, there was a small clump still up in the tree.  I went back to Scott's house and put an old nuc box under the cluster.  I put in the nuc box the old comb that I had baited the banker's box with when I shook the swarm.  I thought that might smell like "mommy" to them.  I left the nuc box with the lid ajar and went to dinner.

As dark fell,  I returned to Scott's where all the bees had pretty much gone into the nuc box.  I brought it home and set it on the banker's box so that the entry to the nuc box faced the entry to the hive in which I had put the swarm.  In the morning perhaps the nuc bees will go home to mommy in the new hive box!

1 comment:

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