What a day!!! Our weather has been beautiful now for days, and Saturday came the big family reunion on my Mother's side. She was one of 13 children, who had children and their children had children. You can only venture a guess how many people were here, we all love children, so there were lots and lots. We turned the heat up in our pool to 88 degrees and it was wonderful for the kids to swim long into the night, yeah!!!! We were all assembled to our family reunion. Since the passing of my last Aunt last year, I am now the Matriarch of my Mother's side, and I wanted to gather our family. It was a hoot and a hollar. We have so much cultivated land, there were little parties going on all over the place, where different folk gathered to chat and visit. And the food, wow, thank goodness for my Sister and family that shares our property, we pulled off a great night.
It is getting dark now in our area by about 7:30 PM, twilight for the half hour, then the darkness falls.
Just as the burgers were all being put on the barbeques, my oldest Nephew who lives on our property came running to me like a streak of lightening, out of breath and could barely speak. He and his buddy had been hanging out behind the apiary, walking around the property, looking at things. He said that the found a ball of bees in a tree, he thought it might be my bees. I thought, no way on this good greeen earth. Probably a bald-faced hornets nest. So, I took a walk. He showed me the tree. Sure enough, a very large swarm clustered on a reasonably low branch. 6:30 PM, one hour til the twilight is set.
I went back to the house, announced to a couple of my family that I had some fun to get into, they kind of looked at me weird. Told them that I had to go and capture a swarm. Well, you would have thought that Frankenstein would have walked into the yard. People's jaws dropped and I heard sounds of alarm and then sounds of intrigued minds. I had a following all the way out the back. Many people bringing their cameras, all wanting to see what I was going to do.
First thing was my husband got his extension ladder. I went to the bee house and got equipment. Prepared for the capture, taking my time. My husband went to the tree, we both observed the manner in which we would get them into their box. Loooked like a pretty simple one to me, and thank goodness it wasn't too far up.
I donned all my gear (even gloves for goodness sakes). Took my cardboard box that has a hinged lid and up the tree I went. The limb was thick, not a chance of cutting it down, so I pushed the bees into the box, got almost all of them in by pushing them along, they all fell exactly where I wanted them.
Back down the tree, dump the bees into the box. Put the frames back into the box, inner cover on, lid on. Now back up to the tree to get the rest. So I did. Went back down to the box and dumped the bees onto the pilllow case that I had on the ground infront. Bees are obeyed lovely and walked right up into the box. Yeah!!!! The queen was there, as the bees stayed. By this time my crowd of fans and started to diminish, guess they saw how many bees were floating around and got kind of worried. A few of the more adventurous ones remained with me and my husband. We stood watching them, talking about what was going on with this colony.
What a day, and it was fun to be able to show all my family what things I am up to with the bees, I was able to show off some of my learned new skills. Yeah!!!!!
After it was dark my husband and I went and closed up the entrances, and put this colony into its new home in my apiary, opened the reducer and left them alone. They will be happy and welll looked after. I will perform a mite count sticky board on them today, leave that in for 3 days.
I know this question will come up. Are they my bees that swarmed. Nope, absolutely not, not a doubt in my mind. The activity in my apiary has not changed one little bit, the hives look identical (as far as hive numbers go) as they have. I am positive it is from another beekeeper that has his bees only a few properties away. I had examined my colonies indepth about a week ago and there are no queen cells.
This was not a reproductive swarm, this colony that the bees came from must have been simply way, way too overcrowded. We don't get swarms this time of year in my climate. The end of July is pretty much the latest. Unless there is something that I am not just understanding. I think these bees have not been looked after as far as swarm controls go. The beekeeper probably is just too busy and hasn't kept an eye on things.
I have not yet ascertained what I will do with this swarm. It was a very, very large one. I don't have an awful lot to compare to, but it pretty much filled the bottom 1/3 of the box and I had trouble putting the frames back in as it was so full, but I gently pushed the bees out of the frame's way.
It is too late for building up for wintertime, unless I give it several frames of capped brood. We have winter cluster occurring around the beginning of November, so I actually have no clue if they could build up in a month and a half. Maybe I can get some advice here from my forum friends?
I am thinking that I should unite this swarm with another weaker colony, but the colonies are all pretty strong looking, especially some of them. I am thinking that there would be too many bees if I united this swarm colony with any of my colonies.
This weekend was a blast, family, bees and lovin' and livin' my life. Have a wonderful day. Time to get kids ready for school. Cindi