Archives for posts with tag: swarm

I’ve caught my fair share of bee swarms and I’ve learned to watch for signs that a capture was successful. A typical honeybee swarm contains between 10,000 to 30,000 bees. When you shake the swarm into a box or container, there is a really good chance that you’ll get the queen (the odds are in your favour). However, if the queen takes flight before you seal up your box, then the rest of the swarm will know within minutes that she is not there.

The above video shows what happens if you don’t manage to capture the queen. We had to try four times before successfully capturing her in the box. The moment that she was inside, the rest of the bees stopped around the entrance and created a fanning chain, distributing her pheromones into the air for the rest of the bees to follow.

If you see a swarm of honeybees in your area, contact me through the form at the bottom of my swarm page and I’ll help put you in touch with a beekeeper who will remove them.

Chris with a swarm of bees

It’s that time of year where bees are reproducing (at the colony level) and I’ve started getting calls about bees around Kitchener and Waterloo. I was contacted late last night by someone who was looking for a beekeeper in Waterloo. Lucky for all of us – including the bees – I fit the bill.

My friend Geoff and I both lost our bees to a long cold winter, so we jumped on the opportunity to rescue this swarm. We set out early this morning and shook the bees into a new hive box. With any luck, the bees will stick around and Geoff will transfer them to his bee yard in St. Jacobs.

If you see a swarm of bees in your area, please contact me using the form at the bottom of my swarm page. If I can’t rescue the bees myself, I will find someone who will.

Swarm of honeybees

A couple weeks ago, I noticed some queen cells in my top bar hive. At the time, I thought they were supersedure cells, but it turns out I was wrong.

On the evening of August 7, I got a call that my bees had swarmed to a nearby pine tree. This certainly caught me off guard. I knew there were queen cells in there, but I didn’t expect this colony to split and swarm, especially this late in the season. Unfortunately, this swarm left before I had a chance to retrieve them. I even reached out to some other local beekeepers, but they were gone by the morning of August 8 – hopefully to a nice new home.

This colony was originally a swarm that I captured early in the year. They are an extremely strong colony and excellent producers who work quickly and efficiently. I guess they also have a genetic trait that gives them a strong instinct to swarm.

Overall, I’m not too bothered that they have swarmed. It would have been nice to provide them with a new home and have another strong colony, but I’m happy knowing that this colony is going to be out in the wild, and reproducing.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KEZQNIr9Ow&w=700]

Only days after retrieving a swarm from a house in Kitchener, I was emailed by the principal of Lexington Public School in Waterloo. There was a swarm of bees hanging in a tree in the school yard. After work, my friend Mike and I went out to the school to retrieve them.

We used a standard deep Langstroth hive box with pieces of plywood on top and bottom to capture the bees. There was a 1¼” hole in the box to use as an entrance. After the bees were in the box, we left them until dusk with a big sign that said “Caution. Live bees. Do not disturb.” I also wrote my phone number in case anyone had any questions or concerns.

After nightfall, Mike picked up the box and transferred them to a new top bar hive, where they are now happily setting up their new home.

Swarms in your area?

If you have stumbled upon a swarm of honeybees in your neighbourhood, please contact me. I will do my best to help them find a safe home.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGcYV8CW1XU&w=700]

Yesterday I checked in on the bees that I captured last Friday. In exactly 4 days, they have drawn comb on 7 bars, they have collected nectar and pollen, and the queen has been busy laying eggs. Bees continue to amaze me.

Just in case you missed it, here’s the swarm capture video.