We were at a beekeeping meeting last night, listening to a talk by the Bee Inspector for our region. Very informative & interesting evening. So this morning, Denny heads out to feed goats & chickens, he went looking for a post to finish up on the building project at the goat house. Then everything stopped & went into another direction. HE SPOTTED A SWARM OF BEES in the cedar tree!!!
For those who are not up on the life of bees, here is the story:
There are 3 kinds of bees: the workers (all female) the drones (all male) and the QUEEN! She is the most important bee in the hive. To quote The Highlander, "There can only be ONE!" However, for the survival of the hive, more queens are born, as the hive grows. About this time of year the old Queen leaves the old hive in search of a new home & her new daughter, the newbee Queen, will kill any new Queens that have not yet emerged from the larval stage & she will start laying eggs in the old hive within a few days of the old Queen leaving. About half of the bees in the old hive who have pledged their allegiance to the old Queen, leave with her & the workers cover her with their bodies to keep her warm. The trick is to find the swarm and get it into another hive box with frames of wax so they can start drawing out comb & the Queen can continue to lay eggs & they work to bring in honey & pollen. We had to work fast, so they wouldn't leave where they first swarmed. Today is cold & overcast...NOT the most ideal weather for a bee to swarm in. But maybe it worked in our favor because the workers were very busy trying to keep the Queen warm, so they did not leave & we were able to get them in the hive box.
It is NOT easy! They were about 18 ft up in the tree. We made a catch bag on a pole & then cut the limb & let it fall into the bag & then shook it into the box. The picture below shows the bag on a pole. He climbed the ladder & we had another pole for lowering the limb & I held the bag up as close to the swarm as I could get & he would snip the limb & I would catch it in the bag & we'd walk over to the new hive box & shake it in.
But doing all the above had to be done about three times over because some bees continued to cling to the tree & we had to make sure we gotten the Queen, so we had to keep going back until we got them all! What a job for a day we expected to be slow, Lol! But we are thrilled we got the swarm!! Thank You, Jesus!!!
But there is MORE!..........