I’ve been around the block a time or two with beekeeping and swarm season. This is my 13th year as a Beekeeper.
Most years I get into the hives in early to mid March to determine if I should split the hive, add another hive box or just switch the empty box on the bottom to a position on the top.
Having mostly single deeps this spring, and also knowing that they were busting at the seams, I opted to DO NOTHING!!
Now I am not saying that I just wanted to be lazy, although there is some merit in “Lazy Beekeeping” (I think there is a book with that name). This year, I determined that I would let nature takes it’s course and let them swarm!!!
AND OH MY – DID THEY EVER!!!!
**Did you know that a Queen only flies during her mating flight and does not fly and leave the hive again, until she swarms.
First it was the main swarms from the hives. The mated queen goes out and lands on a tree and half of the bees in the hive follow her. Sometimes that tree is a low bush and sometimes that tree is a 30-40 foot pine tree! I had one of each. The low one was easy to catch and get into a hive. The one that decided it wanted to go 30- 40 feet in the pine tree actually hung on that branch for over a week.
I had one swarm trap and decided to get another as it appeared that bees were already looking and interested in the first swarm trap. I got the second trap ready and placed in under a covered, open part of my shed, strapped it to a post on the shed and within hours, the swarm in the tree found it and moved in. They were “raggled” as they had hung on that tree through a rain storm and a wind storm. How they did it….only God knows!!!
It’s almost like they did not want to leave my property. I do grow lots and lots of forage for them and the land behind me is full of good forage. It is protected land around a lake. I’m glad they decided to stay!!
As I sit here writing this blog, both of my swarm traps are full and I have 3 more swarms hanging (thankfully) in lower bushes and branches of my trees. These are most likely secondary swarms with virgin queens.
I’M TIRED!!! I offered for someone in the local bee school to come help capture the remaining 3 swarms. I would give a swarm to the student for helping. I think that is a fair trade. I might even mentor the student if we get along??
I guess I had better get busy!!