It was mid-morning and I received a call from a friend who was enjoying her first day of retirement. They had a swarm of honey bees in their backyard. When a new queen bee leaves the existing hive along with a large group of worker bees to create a new colony, it’s called a swarm. Up high in a cedar tree was, in deed, a swarm. Her sons, Todd and Adam, own Adam’s Roofing and by the time we drove up to their house they had cut down the branch. We had seen an episode of Live Free Or Die where a couple caught a swarm, but that was our only experience with a swarm…if you can call watching a TV show an experience.
We made a makeshift holding device out of an old Styrofoam cooler and a small piece of screen. After separating the football sized swarm from the rest of the tree branch, we set the it on top of the cooler. Matt trimmed off as many little twigs as possible and then we waited. There was another small cluster still hovering up in the tree. We hoped they would fly down and join the rest of the group.
Since we used our extra hives last week for the new bees, we took a quick trip to Runnings for a new hive. We use warre hives and the hives at Runnings are langstroth, but we’re pretty sure the bees won’t mind. It just changes a few aspects for us.
As we walked out of Runnings, we noticed a storm had quickly rolled in. We looked at each other and picked up the pace. We needed to get the bees before the rain hit and it was just starting to lightly sprinkle.
Once back in the backyard, we noticed the bees that were hovering above were now gone. We assume with the poor weather approaching, they flew to join the rest of the swarm. Lid on the cooler, in the truck, and back to our house. About 2 minutes after we walked into our garage, the downpour started. Perfect timing.
Around 5pm, the skies cleared and it was a beautiful evening. Matt decided to drive out to the farm and release the bees while it was calm, clear, and warm.
They seem pretty happy in their new home. And, we were happy to rescue them and provide a new home. Our friends have been promised some honey from “their” bees when we start to harvest. Overall, it was an interesting and exhilarating experience.
This is our new “farm” life and we love it.