There is an old saying in beekeeping…”A swarm in May is worth a load of hay. A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon. A swarm in July isn’t worth a fly.” I am not sure what a swarm in September is worth but I am pretty sure I owe somebody something.
You see, I got a call over the holiday weekend about a swarm that had just landed at someone’s house. I sort of had to do a double-take. Honeybees don’t usually swarm this late. I figured the homeowner had seen a hornets’ nest or maybe a bunch of wasps or yellow jackets. Those critters are all pretty common this time of year and I often get calls from people asking me to deal with their “bees”.
I looked at the picture they sent and sure enough, they had a swarm of honeybees swarming on their gutter. Now swarm catching is one of my all-time fav-o-rite things to do in beekeeping so I grabbed my stuff and headed over.
Sure enough, a small swarm had chosen the lucky homeowners and it wasn’t too high off the ground for me to get. I coaxed the bees into the swarm box that is part of the swarm catching gear that makes my excited trip each time I get a call. Into the back of the car they went and we all happily headed home! The bees are currently on my garden wall where they will probably remain through the next few weeks until I can determine if they are worth trying to keep all winter as-is or if I should combine them with another colony.
So, what caused them to swarm this late in the season? Who knows? Maybe their tree-home was cut or fell down. Maybe a bear or other creature messed up their place. I do not know for sure but I think this is my first ever swarm that is worth less than even single fly!