It’s swarm season and swarm season is my favorite time/part of beekeeping! Swarming is a natural part of a bee colony but one that is pretty unsettling to folks who see it happening. In the last 10 days or so, I have gotten two good calls about swarms of bees in Charleston.
The first call was from a postal carrier who was walking in a neighborhood delivering mail. He came upon a swarm hanging low in a bush. The homeowner initially wanted to call an exterminator, but the postal worker pulled out his phone and found my contact info. I was delighted to come and take care of the “problem”. Most people are terrified and also fascinated/curious about swarms so I try to describe what happened, what I am going to do and why it is so important to save bees rather than kill them.
So this swarm was easy. I placed my sheet on the ground and my nucleus hive box on top. With a quick shake and a giggle, most of the bees dropped into the box and my work was done. It’s unusual, but I actually saw the queen on the top of the pile of bees. I watched as she marched into the box whereupon I put the lid in place and waited for the rest of the colony to catch up with her!
A few days later, Charleston’s 911 dispatch called me about a large swarm in the middle of the city in a fairly public area. When I arrived, the fire department was in place keeping people away. They had taped off a large area and were waiting nearby patiently. I whipped in and saw a very large swarm stuck to a solid concrete retaining wall. Luckily, I brought along my handy-dandy-bee-swarm-retrieving dustpan. I am pretty tough but I cannot shake bees off of a concrete wall so I just used the dustpan to gently scoop the bees into my hive box. Easy-peasy!
I am pretty vain so I figure that is most of the reason why I love catching swarms so much. I always get an audience and lots of oohhhs and aahhhs. It’s usually relatively safe and pretty simple to catch a swarm, but I look brave and tough. It’s a vain man’s dream! And on top of that, I get free bees which will (hopefully) make me lots of wonderful sweet honey. Heck, the world needs more bees as well as more sweet honey so it’s a win all the way around!
4 thoughts on “Two swarms so far”
I may have said this before but I always felt kind of like the Ghostbusters rolling up to rid a ghost when helping my parents catch bees. It was always nice to have an audience watch us do our thing.
It’s exactly like ghost busters! Perfect comparison!
I was walking Hampton the other morning, and I would have sworn that I heard a whole swarm of bees right at the tree line that were coming my way to attack me. I didn’t say it was a logical conclusion- it was actually just 1 bee who stopped at a lavender plant- but it sure sounded like danger coming to kill me by stinging me to death.
My first thought, was to duck & roll to safety (I was in the middle of the yard, there was no cover lol). My next thought, if there really is a swarm, I’m going to have to call that Warren guy who blogs to come and rescue them!
Heck yeah Mrs A! I love catching swarms!
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