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Author Topic: My First Swarm Call  (Read 1093 times)
Sean Kelly
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« on: June 20, 2008, 12:37:24 AM »

Went to my first swarm call today!  As a matter of fact, I've never actually seen a swarm before in my life!  A supervisor from Washington United Terminals at the Port of Tacoma called and said a swarm landed around lunch time in their rail yard on one of the trains and had to be removed as soon as possible.  It kind of made me nervous after hearing all the stories about weird bugs coming in on containers at these shipyards from overseas and thought it might be some kind of weird hornet or something.
But he was right, nice good ole honeybees hanging in a small (or so I thought) ball under the rail-car's frame.  The bees looked very strange to me, a little larger than my Italians and half their abdomen black, the other half amber with one small black band half way to the thorax.  Their faces are jet black and the thorax dark brown.  I've only owned Italians which have usually been lighter in color, so this was a shock to me.  As soon as these bees get used to their new home I'll take some pictures and hopefully you guys can help me identify what race they are.
The bees were extremely calm and quiet.  Moving them from the train to a empty hive deep with drawn frames was a snap.  I sprayed the frames with a little sugar syrup mixed with a dab of Honey-B-Healthy.  Hardly any bees took to flight and the ones that did went right to the new home quickly.  Not sure if I got the queen, I'm assuming I did since they seemed to take to their new home right away.
The only thing that went wrong was I forgot to tie the lid to the hive body and a dozen or so bees escaped in my van on the ride home.

They made it home safe and are taking syrup just fine.  This swarm couldn't have come at a better time, after loosing three of my 5 hives due to bad weather.  Can't wait to find out what kind they are.

Here's a pretty cool picture of the swarm in their new home (had to take it with my camera phone since I forgot to take my good camera).  Not every day you see a hive on a railcar!

Blessings,

Sean Kelly

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"My son,  eat  thou honey,  because it is good;  and the honeycomb,  which is sweet  to thy taste"          - Proverbs 24:13
KONASDAD
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2008, 08:25:10 AM »

good job! Swarms are so cool and fascinating. Just wait until you see one take off right in front of your eyes. Yes you lose the bees, but see one of natures miracles. Sounds like a train roar and off they go into the wild blue yonder! Keep these bees separta and watch how they differ from your Italians. Interesting stuff.
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poka-bee
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2008, 11:00:58 AM »

WTG Sean!  Yes, pics are needed! It will be interesting to see the differences for you in the bees.  Isn't today "the day"Huh?
Best wishes & prayers!!  Jody
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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2008, 11:15:56 AM »

Isn't today "the day"Huh?

Yep!  We leave the house here in a hour to go to the hospital.  There's another thread I started in the Coffee House about our new baby.  Pics and stuff will posted there as I find time to update.

Sean Kelly
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"My son,  eat  thou honey,  because it is good;  and the honeycomb,  which is sweet  to thy taste"          - Proverbs 24:13
Sean Kelly
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2008, 04:14:16 AM »

Just an update on this swarm I caught...

Checked on them today and I got lucky and found the queen.  I was worried that I didn't get her when I hived the swarm but my fears are gone.  She is beautiful!  Striking features just like her daughters.  And she stands out like a sore thumb, unlike my italian hives where the queens blend right in with the workers.  Extremely calm bees and seem to not care I'm even there.  Again, I'm dumb and forgot to bring my camera to the apiary so I didn't get any pics.
The queen is laying eggs and even layed a few while I was holding the frame.  No brood yet, just eggs which I thought was sorta weird since I've had this swarm hived now for over a week.  I figured something would have hatched by now.  I'll check again in 3 days.  Don't want to disturb them too much since the size of this swarm was pretty small and I'd really hate to loose them.  Gorgeous looking bees, can't wait to learn what race they are so I can buy more next spring!!!

Sean Kelly
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"My son,  eat  thou honey,  because it is good;  and the honeycomb,  which is sweet  to thy taste"          - Proverbs 24:13
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