More honey bee swarms, and a reversal of fortune

So last time, we had honey bees swarming on a low fence and my bee keeper was out of town. I heroically saved the day by sidling up to the bees and knocking them into a box. It was an amazing bit of bee work, standing there on the ground with my box. I could have gotten a paper cut. Very dangerous.

The Mrs. and I had a meeting with two different companies in Myrtle Beach, SC. We drove down midday, met the first people, grabbed dinner, slept, woke, met the second people, then drove home. It wasn’t the most relaxing trip, but that wouldn’t stop me from rubbing it in in the below exchange.

Text conversation about a bee swarm

I’m sitting at a restaurant with the Mrs. We’ve just sat down when I receive the text from my neighbor with the picture of bee swarm. Like last time, I thank God that I have a bee keeper who takes such good care of us. But I’m wary, last time she was in Utah. Will she be there this time? Ahh, “I can be there in an hour.” Perfect, just what I wanted to hear, (Waitress! One more drink please.), especially since I’m three hours away at the moment. Then the next exchange happens a bit later, oh about one hour later when she arrives.

Text conversation about being at the beach

I am a bad person. Rather than just say no, I have to rub it in that I have a “tropical” view. I mean, she was in Utah when I needed her last time, right? So I owe her one. Plus it isn’t unusual that I’ll answer the “Are you around?” question with a picture rather than a statement. This is another answer I’ve sent to that inquiry.

View of left wing and the ground from a Cessna 172

A picture says a thousand words. Plus, I’m flying. I’m like…busy. I don’t have time to type out a whole message. Instead I have time to take a picture and forward it. Totally not the same thing. Stop looking at me like that.

So back to the bees. Apparently the lower branch, which was already 10 feet off the ground, wasn’t good enough for these overachieving bees. They’ve moved to another tree, and to a higher branch during the hour of transit time for Jennifer.

Bee swarm very high in a tree

Normally what we’d do in that situation is fire up our bucket truck and put Jennifer way up in the air to get these bees. It would really be easy, as they are sitting just above the drive way. All I’d need to do is to walk over, crank the truck, drive about 100 feet, set the truck up and raise her right where she wanted to be. I mean, she’s terrified of heights, so there is that, but overall not a lot of work to be performed. Instead, the guys are gone and I’m sitting in South Carolina. Jennifer had to adapt and overcome.

To be honest, I don’t know how she did it. She’s on the largest A frame ladder we have, and she’s not even half way to these bees. Maybe she levitated using some bee magic? Girl magic? Bee girl magic? I don’t really know how any of that works, especially the girl part, but somehow she captured about 1/2 of the swarm, 30′ off the ground, with a 10′ ladder and a stick. She managed to get the half with the queen because the next day, all the bees had decided to move into her hastily provided bee hive and were merrily going about bee duties enjoying the spring weather.

These bees most likely came from our hives. That means that in the end, this is kind of like picking your kid up from jail. You are glad to have him back, but all you did was get your own troublemaker back in the house, with no small amount of trouble for yourself in the process. Capturing someone else’s swarm, now that is a net add to your bee population.

But rather than having to do a split, these bees have made their own split so we have added two new hives to the apiary the past few weeks. With the spring weather, they’ll all be pouring in the honey as fast as they can go.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

One Reply to “More honey bee swarms, and a reversal of fortune”

  1. The ladder photo is dark because it was. By the time I assembled the gear and ran through 6 things that didn’t work it was about 8:00. And of course it was one of those nights where everyone had to be somewhere else. Miguel was busy at the drive through ordering something with ranch dressing, Vicente had an appointment, and you were in another area code. So just me and my lonesome.

    The solution looks obvious from the photo – she had a limb saw, so she cut the branch and the bees all came down in a tidy package. But no! Not a leaf was harmed in this escapade. Plus a falling 5lb ball of bees to the head was one of the options already ruled out. In the end the magic formula was the limb saw and 5 gallon bucket combination.

    Seems easy enough but gravity has a sick sense of humor when you have weight at the end of a very long stick. It took 5 attempts and a surprising amount of language but I must have knocked the queen in at some point. Even a blind squirrel…

    At last check the girls were having a huge time in the new home 5′ left of where they originated. I’m expecting great things from them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *