Sunday, April 17, 2011

Capturing a swarm

It is not every day that a swarm of bees finds you.
Last Tuesday as I was walking to work, Luis, one of the day laborers on the Algarden street, who sometimes helps us out at the garden, ran to me and asked me if I wanted I swarm of bees. It was early and I was still waking up so I was trying to understand. what, where, when how?
So he explained that a swarm had landed at the base of an avocado tree on the yard of his friend and that he could take me over if I wanted to go capture it.

One of my hives died over the winter so I was down to one hive. I had been thinking of getting a second one but had not had the time and mental bandwidth to coordinate it. I think it is always good to have at least two hives, that way if you loose one you can always make a split and continue being a bee keeper. In my case, my hives are named after my grandmothers, Stella and Gloria, and I would not want to be without either of them. 
This event was very serendipitous.
I had an extra small box at the garden so I went to grab it along with my suit and smoker and off I went with Luis and Maria (who took all this pictures and videos - Many thanks!) to find the bees. 

So exciting, there were about 10,000 to 20,000 bees hanging on to the leg of a plastic chair, the owner of the house put this wood box over them to protect them and his kids from being stung.

I grabbed first a piece of wood that had a good bunch of them and moved them to the box, I could tell the queen was not there because they were not staying they were flying back to the chair leg.

So I pulled the chair out carefully and placed the leg on top of the box and jerked it so that most bees fell into the box. 

I could tell the queen was there because the bees were staying on the box this time. 

However there were still a lot of bees on the other box that needed to be moved to my box.

I used a piece of cardboard to carefully pick up the bees and move them to my box.

And there is most of them

Hard to tell exactly how many but a lot!

So I covered the box and Luis helped me to tie it up and take it back to the Algarden.
Luis was pretty excited to be a part of the action, his son-in-law is a beekeeper in Guatemala so he is used to being around bees and I think this brought back some good memories for him.

I left the 5 frame box with only two frames for two days. I had to build new frames so it took me a while, but after two days I came back to transfer the bees from the small box to a full 10 frame box and I had all the frames ready to go. This video shows what we found when I opened the box, the bees had already built a beautiful comb on the empty space of the box and it already had some nectar and pollen. Very hard working bees.

It's good to have Stella and Gloria back together at the Algarden. Welcome!
Many thanks to Maria for taking pictures and video and to Luis for his help and for connecting me with the bees. 

1 comment:

Kallpa said...

Tu eres la Queen Bee