Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Seven is Heaven

Dad took the call.

Someone in our city had a swarm in their back yard.  Could we come?

Normally we would refer them to our Swarm Collector List but in this case it just so happened that the swarm was in our subdivision.

It was only two streets away.  In fact it was a house on my sister's street.  And it was the house right next door to hers.  Dad called me and we went over.  It was around 8:00 p.m.

I called my sister.
"Dad and I are collecting a swarm on your street."
"Where?" she asked.
"We're going to the pink house," I said.
"What pink house?" she asked
"The one next to you.  On the corner."
"Oh!"
"Yes, so go on over and we'll meet you there," I said.

Dad was already there when I arrived, along with the home owner, and my sister.  The owner stayed a ways back from the swarm.  That's not unexpected.  He was being cautious.

I handed my camera to my sister.  She could be the paparazzi.  I noticed she stood a lot closer and wasn't afraid.

She hasn't been to the yard a lot but she's heard so much about bees and has been my beta reader for my book so she's learned a lot about them.

The swarm had placed themselves in perfect reach about 4 feet from the ground.

Isn't it handy that the bees often swarm on a branch close to the ground?  I know they don't always do it so nicely, but the last two swarms were very considerate.

Dad and I opted to do the shake method since the limb was fairly substantial.  This is where the light cardboard nuc comes in handy - it's easy to hold up to the limb.

After a couple good shakes there were lots of bees in the air so I took to using the brush instead and this actually worked better than shaking.  I held the nuc lid under the limb and brushed the bees into it.  They fell in large clumps.  Then I tipped the lid and shook them into the nuc.

It would probably work well to have the deep on the ground and use the cardboard lid to catch them and then shake into the deep instead.  I had a deep there but didn't want to use it because I wanted to clean it up first before putting it into service.
I took the nuc to Mom and Dad's for the night.
The next morning I put the nuc frames into the deep along with a hive top feeder.

Dad had to return the next day because there were more bees clustered around the limb - so we hadn't gotten them all--I should have left the nuc until after dark and given the bees more time.

Mom had her plates of water with sticks again and I asked Dad who removed the rocks from the bird bath?
"I did," he said.  "I thought some kid put them in there."
"Yes," I said, "Mom was the kid."
We explained the rocks were there for the bees to sit on when they got a drink.

Once again Mom has a hive to observe.  At least for a week or so until we move it to the bee yard.

We have seven hives now but we still haven't found a new location for our yard.
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