Wednesday, August 3, 2011

They Say It'll Never Happen

I've been told by many beekeepers when I ask.  "No, it'll never happen."

The question?  "If I put an empty hive into my bee yard will a swarm move into it?"

I'd ask the question when chatting one on one with a beekeeper.  I'd ask the question at meetings or at visits to bee yards.  They'd all shake their heads, "No, they won't move into it."

I'd always ask why but no one seemed to know why it doesn't work.

But one beekeeper told a rare story about how a swarm flew into his yard and moved into a nuc box that he had sitting in the back of his truck.  Now that's convenient and considerate bees.  I think those kind of genetics should be carried forward in bee breeding.

 I'm here to tell you that it did happen.  To me.

After extracting I set out about four supers with wet frames on my robbing table.  We weren't booked for rain but just in case I placed inner covers on top to shelter them.  The bees were quite happy and many came to lick up the honey.

I returned about four days later.  The first thing I did was check the trees close by to see if there might be a swarm (one time there was!).  I checked the robbing station.  There were only a few bees on the combs.  The combs were dry and licked clean and not much interest to the bees anymore.

I worked in the yard most of the afternoon, inspecting and checking supers.  When taking a break I noticed a lot of bees flying over the station.  They were doing circles, around and around but not landing.  I knew right away it was a swarm.

Walking over I checked the trees for a swarm but saw none.  There were drones there too and they were landing on one of the supers.  The bees began to clump there and then several put their rears in the air and Nasonoved.  Homing scent.

This wasn't the activity of robbing bees.  I noticed they were coming from the west.  I happened to have a bottom board so I put that under the super and placed a lid on.  They all moved inside and within a half hour they were home scenting from the stoop.

Mind you this swarm is really small and some would say a swarm in July ain't worth a fly.  Regardless, it did happen, really!
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