I went out to pick some cucumbers today and heard a buzzing 70 yards away. While I have never seen a hive swarm before it was pretty obvious what was happening as bees poured out from the hive in a cloud and drifted into the highest branches of a full grown oak. After enjoying the awe of the moment I began to think.
1)This is the hive that I trapped this spring. They have plenty of room. I wonder if they have some African genes or what the deal is.
2) There is no way they will be able to build comb and store enough honey for our winter.
and then I started thinking.
What do I have to loose if I shoot a few shells of fine shot into that cluster in that there tree? If enough bees fall into the pasture, maybe the queen will fall and I can hive the swarm. If I kill the queen, then perhaps the bees will drift back into other hives? It seemed like a good idea at the time. Dramatized for effect (the bride wanted me to wear the veil during the re-enactment).
Over the next few minutes 30% of the bees dropped to the ground, 40% were in the air and 30% stayed on the branch. This is the deal, those in the air did not go back to the branch but went back to the hive from which they left. I went back after a couple of hours and the swarm was gone as well.
I assumed the queen was gone and since this hive was strong I combined it with a weaker one that I had (and needed to combine anyway). I figure either the queen of the weak hive will take over (I'll requeen in the spring) or the virgin queen will take flight and mate soon. Either way, I think it worked. I hope time will prove me right.