Recently we responded at a moment’s notice to a Craigslist ad concerning a swarm of bees (thanks Allison for thinking of us!). It was a quintissential swarm- a large ball hanging from a tree limb, easily reached with the help of a ladder, and extemely docile in nature (they are engorged with honey and actively seeking a new home). We couldn’t have been more pleased. Not to mention it was an early swarm, therefore, it must be coming from a healthy hive (swarming season, really, is just beginning now). And a local queen to boot!
I’d like to think that each time we interact with these amazing, but still terrifying creatures we are slightly less adrenaline filled, more sure of ourselves, and move with just a little more grace (and wear a little less protective clothing!).
Still, with our hearts in our throat (but way less than the first time we raided a wild bee hive), we brainstormed the very best way to cut down the swarm and get it into our box, queen and all.
Finally we just went for it. Chris held the branch with the swarm while I made a few cuts with garden shears and slowly, carefully, we put the swarm into the box, branch and all. Our tried and true way of sealing the box (you don’t want bees loose in the car!): plastic wrap. Hunter, a very brave 12 year old, insisted on carrying the box to our car, wearing only his shorts and t-shirt. This was a friendly swarm indeed.
We grabbed some sushi in the city (our friends didn’t seem to be all that impressed that we had 25,000 or so bees waiting for us in our car) and then made our way back to our little mountain home. With a strong shake we dumped them into our top bar bee hive.
We are feeding them sugar syrup to help them get established, and further entice them to stay. Each day we check for signs that they are making our box a more permanent home. They are busy bees, and are especially noticeable in the orchard among the fragrant, blooming orange tree.
It appears they are here to stay, but then again, we don’t know anything : ).