Thursday, April 9, 2009

Swarm Season

Swarm season is upon us.

I have bees coming out of my ears.

I have caught 6 swarms in the past three weeks, lost two, and currently have five hives sitting in my beeyard.

Unfortunately, my beeyard is also my backyard. UPDATE: The picture above actually shows SIX hives in my back yard, all with bees in them. Can you spot them all?

CJ is evicting the bees. (More on this in the next post.)

As I got home last night from the university, I noticed yet another swarm on the fence behind my house. I had an unfinished top bar hive in the garage, but decided to call my friend GP and see if he wanted this swarm as well as the Langstroth hive colony, which, it turns out, is responsible for all of the swarms in my yard.
He was still in the field, so I left a message for him to call me back and quickly went to work finishing the last top bar hive in case he were unable to collect the swarm. Fortunately, he called me back. He got to my house this morning at about 9:30 and I had just completed vacuuming up the swarm. (I will have to write an ode to my bee vac. I love it that much.)

We got the swarm transplanted into a new hive body that he had brought with him, then proceeded to open the four other hives scattered about my property. Each one has a different and unique story, and I guess this post is to catalog those stories.

The Langstroth hive is by far the strongest of all of my colonies. We opened it up and found about 10 closed queen cells and an equal number of open queen cells.

I actually cut one of the closed queen cells open and out popped a beautiful virgin queen, ready to go to work. I caught her and was about to throw her into one of the hives that we believe to be queenless (this is not a good idea), and she flew away from me. She'll likely die, but there's little I can do about that now.

I just got a call that I have two more swarms to catch, one in my yard and one at another friend's house. I'll have to finish this post later tonight...

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