My First Swarm

Spring 2008

One morning my wife and I were sitting on the deck drinking breakfast coffee when she remarked, “Look, is that a swarm of your bees?”

Bee swarm01

As you can see by the distance from the swarm, my wife and photographer for all my adventures wasn't getting too close at this point.

viewing the swarm

A close-up of the swarm.

viewing the swarm

Well, I immediately sprang into action. I gathered the beekeepers most useful tools; a plastic bucket, a bee smoker, and a ladder. Oh yes, I also donned my Brushy Mountain Bee Farm hat to show the bees my authority and dominion over them.

trimming the limb

Climbing the ladder I sprayed a little sugar water on them and then I carefully clipped away a limb to allow me better access to the swarm.

That caused the remainder of the limb to bounce, which caused a ball of bees about the size of a softball to drop on my left arm then onto the top of the ladder. Undaunted, and sure of my dominion, I pressed on.

bees on arm

At that moment, a group of Russian Separatist bees (they may even have been Al Qaeda!!) struck and stung me several times on my left arm and hand. (For my non-beekeeping readers, Russian bees are a breed of bees, some others are Italian and Carnolian bees). So much for believing swarming bees won't sting, and my dominion over them.

Gathering the bees.

bees on ladder

I folded up the ladder, lugged it over to the bucket and shook them in. Then I put a screen cover over the bucket and waited until all the missed bees collected on the screen.

bucket of bees

Having the queen bee in the bucket will cause the bees to swarm to her, having a screen over the bucket keeps her from flying away. I then took the bucket and screen now covered in bees to their new home.

swarm in hive

The bees installed in their new home.

interior view

Bees entering hive from bucket

After the bees settled down a bit, I unplugged the entrance reducer and let the few remaining bees in the bucket soldier into the hive.

finished hive

Mission Accomplished.