Saturday, April 30, 2011

Catching a Swarm

So while I was away this morning helping a friend with a project, one of our honeybee colonies decided to swarm. A swarm is when a colony divides itself naturally with about 1/2 of the workforce leaving the hive in a matter of seconds, taking the queen with them. Usually they perch on a branch while they find a new home which can take a day or two. At our place the majority of swarms choose branches that are way too high up to safely reach. This VERY large swarm chose a highbush blueberry tree very low to the ground. These are the ones you love to catch.

In this video I'm shaking the bees off of the branch and into a box filled with combs that I've set up underneath it. Newly issued swarms are generally so docile that you can put your hand into them without fear of being stung. I did so with this one to show one of my son's friends that it was indeed possible. After the swarm drops into the box there will be a period of confusion as the bees get reorganized and hopefully begin fanning at the entrance to indicate that they accept this as their new home. Enjoy.

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