Swarms, Extractions, Sweat

We caught a swarm…. It was about the size of a soccer ball.

My husband and I got on a ladder, I held the box over my head while the husband shook the bees down into the box.  They didn’t seem to mind.

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We got the queen on the first try, gave them some food, and they seemed quite content.

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They liked the box and decided to hang out with us.

The next day, we got to go extract bees from the inside of an run down farm house.  We tore out the wall, and segmented their comb.  We placed their comb into frames, and put them into a box.

The comb looks like 2×4’s between the studs on the wall, but that is beautiful uniform beeswax comb with honey and brood.  About 9 sections total, all about 4.5″ in length.

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It was hot and sweaty work, but very rewarding. They did escaped, and had to be reset into the hive, but they seem to be doing well.  Hot sweaty work in close quarters with lots of smoke.

Bees are really amazing little things.

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This queen has a green dot on her back.  She’s a Red Italian Queen Bee.  The Italians are a very calm, and productive bee.  She’s doing a great job.  She’s in one of our other established hive.  We suspect the swarm we caught is one of her daughters, and some of the bees from this hive.

We got to catch our own bees.  Ironic.  I felt like the momma again.  “You had better get home! It’s past your bedtime, and I’m not chasing you all over this property.  Now, get in that box!”  Thankfully, they didn’t give us any lip back, and seemed happy to have their own room.  Children….

The last few weeks have been a crash course in Swarming, honey flows, Re Queening weak hives, and just how bees are in the Spring.  It’s the busy time, and they have taught us quite a bit.

Next week….it will be time to pull some honey.  I’m pretty pumped about that.  I can only imagine what I will get to learn next!

18 thoughts on “Swarms, Extractions, Sweat

  1. Amazing, Wendy! Those little tireless pollinators are simply amazing. Do you have problems down south with Africanized bees? I heard that they can be quite aggressive.

    • They are here for sure. We know 2 bee keepers that specialize in them. The Africanized don’t suffer from the colony collapse disorder, they don’t have varroa mites, and they produce honey like crazy…..but they are mean.
      Our girls get mean when they are queenless. And we will get stalkers if they get pissed off. We have one hive that we re-queening next week. They are so pissy right now, we have to change up the genetics.
      Our other hives are so calm, I usually don’t have to wear gloves.
      The colony we took out of that farm house last weekend were the absolute calmest bees I have encountered ever. I got one in my veil. I walked outside, took off my veil, and she sort of flittered off. She didn’t get mad or buzz around me at all. None of them tried to sting while we were tearing down their hive. They just hung out, until we scooped them into the box. It was amazing.

    • Hahahaha! It sounds like something I might do!
      I’m just so short, that even on the ladder I couldn’t reach the swarm while my husband held the box.
      So I held it up over my head, which made me feel better. I was a little nervous that they might attack, and I didn’t want my face over the box. Even wearing a veil, they will bombard the fabric to try to sting if they are really mad.

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