Friday, May 08, 2009


Jim is the guy I called yesterday to get the playground swarm, since I was busy at work. He sent me some pictures that illustrate the wisdom of delegating.
The bees had moved to a tree across the street, about 15 feet up. Jim, his wife and his buddy almost missed it, then had to come up with some means of getting up there. They actually found a woman cleaning out her garage who was getting rid of a ladder! Kids, don't try this at home.
They got the bees down and boxed up without any mishaps, and the bees are now ensconced in Jim's top-bar hive.

Meanwhile, I ordered a pheromone lure to put in my hive, on the off chance that a passing swarm could just decide to install itself. It's been known to happen!
The lure is little vial of liquid that smells amazingly like the lemongrass oil I've already put in the hive. But I'm assured it's different to a bee, and even more attractive.
I went out in the dark of night and put it in the hive. Here, it's hung from a nail over the entrance. But I changed my mind later and hung it from a string instead, so I can pull it out easily without disturbing the bees.
Cross your fingers!


  1. I am impressed with all you have done. I have never seen a bee swarm and I am surprised at how many you have heard of. Does this happen more often in the spring?

  2. Yea, if only I had put that chem light on a string.


    That is soo cool. Love the pictures.

  3. Peggy, most people go their whole lives without ever seeing a swarm, so my seeing so many last year was what got me interested in beekeeping. The bees were trying to tell me something!

    Swarms happen in the spring and into early summer. They're the species way of reproducing itself. If a colony is healthy, it will start to outgrow the space it has, so the bees produce a new queen, while the old queen flies off with half the workers and looks for a new home. They stuff themselves with honey first.

    So most fresh swarms are really docile, because the bees are kind of logy from being so full! And they have nothing to defend; they just want to be where the queen is.

    Sister*B, I'm sorry that experience didn't work out for you! But you learned a lot. You'll get more bees, I'm sure.

  4. I'll be interested to see if the swarm lure has any more success than the lemongrass oil.

  5. I was the lucky guy who got to help Jim capture this swarm. Other than being a little high in the tree, they were pretty easy to catch. I climbed up the tree, tied a rope to the branch and climbed back down. When Jim had the box positioned under the swarm (he had to climb a ladder that was in the bed of my truck) I yanked on the rope with a few very hard tugs and the bees fell into the box.

    Jim called me later that evening about a swarm on the ground in Lakewood, which I went to get myself. Let me tell you - I'll take a swarm in a tree any day over a swarm on the ground! We're talking about two hours of patient, nerve-wracking bee scooping. The tool I'd made wouldn't work so I ended up having to use my gloved hands.

    Still - Two swarms in two days and only one sting, which was a result of me crushing a poor bee who was resting on the back side of my knee when I squatted down.

    I just love watching my girls come and go from the hive!

  6. Fingers crossed, Gord!

    Hey Everett. Thanks for filling in the details! I thought you guys cut the branch and lowered it with the rope. Your way is much kinder to the tree.

    And I'm glad you got that ground swarm! I was tempted to go, but I feared it would be a long process, and I didn't have the time.

    I'll give you guys a call if I find myself in another swarm bind, for sure.

  7. I hoping a swarm finds you, but I also would love to read your first hand account of capturing one.

  8. That is so cool. These bees now reside in Parker on my land. We've only had them a few hours, but they are already active. Thank you so much!


  9. Hi, E. (or I.)! I had to check with Jim before I published your comment because I thought it was some kind of weird spam. But he confirmed that you really do have his bees. Have fun with them! I hope they settle in well.

  10. Just wanted to update you on the Bees. Ian and Keith moved them from your horizontal hive into their own 2 weeks ago. It was quite a site to be seen. They both wore their bee suits, but Keith wore sandals and they stung the heck out of his feet!

    E cigarette