Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rescuing a swarm

This is a swarm we rescued from outside of a building. Everyone was freaking out because the bees were flying around trying to get to the rest of the swarm. People don't realize that bees are at their "best" when they swarm, they're not out to sting you especially on purpose. The reason they are grouped together in a clump is they are protecting their queen. When the rest of the bees arrive and the scouts come back with the information on how to get to their new place, they all take off again. Sometimes this can be an hour or up to two to three days. The bees are really gentle especially during this time. They gorge themselves on honey before they leave so they will have enough energy to make it to their new home. You are the last thing on their minds. And they are not seeking you out to sting you, if you get in their way you might have a collision but no sting;-)

When we get to a swarm we lightly spray them with sugar water, a one to one ratio(1-sugar1-water)let it get to the outside temperature, you don't want to freeze them or boil them.
Depending on where they are depends on how you get them in the container. It's very wise to make sure you have a container that has screen secured to it so the bees have plenty of ventilation, they need air, not directly blowing on them but they need to breathe. Since this hive was against a building and there was allot of crevices that they were going up into I used a fine brush to gently brush them out, this of course was after I gently swept the hanging ones with my hand into the cooler.
Once we got them home we set them up in a hive box with frames. We like to spray the frames with sugar water so it will entice them to start pulling out the comb. We also put a top hive feeder on and put sugar water in it to give them a head start until they can figure out where things are blooming near their new home, which doesn't take them long at all. I really enjoy watching them and watching their colony grow, they are truly fascinating creatures. This is my new therapy;-) "Bee Buzzin"

For some reason they kept climbing out and clinging onto the outside of the box, I do know they were without a queen but this is the hive that just hatched a queen....story was the first post. I'm a little backwards getting this together but that's me I always start from the end and go forward....go figure. That's how I read a magazine too;-)
You don't have to use a top hive feeder to feed them we also use jars turned upside down inside of a swarm box. Punch very small pin holes or very very small nail holes into the lid at least 20 or so, turn it upside down and set it on two small pieces of board or block so they can get under it to drink. I place this inside the box with them because when we first get them home we only put a few frames in the box depending on the size of the swarm. Close them up and let them "bee";-)
It's okay to check on them the next day just to make sure they're still there and every things fine. I'm noisy so I'm always in one or more of our hives. That's not a bad thing around here because of all of the pests (NOT ME) that are constantly getting into the hives. We have an awful time with wax moths(next post) and small hive beetles. I almost lost my favorite hive about a month or so ago due to wax moths. It was not pretty. I am happy to say that they are on the rebound and are doing great. That is one super hive and I am so proud of them.
Until next time, I hope you a bizzy life filled with hopes and dreams;-)
BEE Positive,


  1. Great post! You and Joe are amazing! I swear by sugar water - we used it more than smoke. Works wonders. And I love the picture of you sweeping the bees - you look so happy.

  2. You're right! We rarely use the smoker it causes more aggravation to us than the bees. And yes I am happy, I just love working in the bees they're more calm than some people I know;-)At least IF I get stung by a bee I know why.