Last week I started to look over my hives to see if any were in thinking about swarming or were congested so that they might swarm. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Did I want to try to split them?? Or did I want to try to open up the brood space and try to keep them all together? I have four hives and there is one in particular that I thought I needed to keep an eye on. So I decided to open it up and try to give them room to grow without swarming. I got through that hive and something came up and I decided that I needed to move on and that that was ok because I had taken care of the hive that was likely to do anything.
The last few days it has been raining and/or drizzling. Today was the first day that I had free to get back into the backyard to garden or play with the bees and such. It was still a little cool and drizzly so I did some planting in the garden. Then about 1 or so the sun came out and I thought that I would mow the lawn and then get back to looking at the hives. That's when another of my hives decided to swarm.
It was like they were all ready to go and were just waiting for the right time. How exciting!! They swirled around the yard and the noise was incredible then the rose high in the air and I thought well that's the last I will see of them... but then they swirled over to my next door neighbors yard and began to cluster in his apple tree. I went over and told him what was going on and we went back to watch them. it took about a half an hour for them to settle down into his tree. Then I got a box and a ladder and went up and knocked them into the cardboard box and brushed the rest off of the tree. I set the box on the ground and within a half an hour they had all marched into the box and I covered it up and took them home to a newly prepared Hive.
I have only collected five or six swarms but this was for sure the easiest. I got lucky that they didn’t go for the tall cottonwoods but rather the lower apple tree. I was amazed at how quickly the oriented to the box. In other situations I have been in they seem to keep going back to the branch or the wall that they were clustered on. It has been much harder to get them all to give up their spot and I have had to leave the box overnight. I got to thinking that maybe this was because I got to them so soon that they didn’t have much time to get their scent on the tree whereas in the other situations they had been there for at least several hours before I got to them so they had gotten more of their smell on whatever they were clinging to......?
My first swarm catch of the year were my own bees! I had a great time and I now have five hives and counting!