Day 700: We checked on our hives at their new home in the country today and we love it. We even captured a swarm and had a great time.
I normally avoid posting photos of myself, but my face is obscured in this one and I sort of look like a biker with a handlebar moustache, a fat head and no neck. That doesn’t look anything like me. Anyway, that’s about half the swarm I’m holding. It was big. It was thick. And the bees were so calm, we were able to cut the branch off the tree, not exactly in a delicate manner, and they didn’t budge from their cluster. It was a text book swarm cluster.
It was difficult to get a good shot of the bees because we only had our small snapshot camera and couldn’t see what we were doing, but here’s a close up of the cluster, slightly out of focus:
There’s a queen deep in the centre of the ball somewhere.
We cut off the branches the bees were clinging to (I had to use a pocket knife to whittle off the branches), and placed them inside a hive box with three frames of empty drawn comb and some honey. We put the top on and left them alone for about 20 minutes. Then we moved them to a new hive that included a feeder and reduced the entrance. The last we saw of them, the bees were covering four or five frames in the new hive and they were scenting as if to say, “The queen is inside and the place looks great. Let’s set up camp and stay for a while.” I’ll check on them tomorrow to make sure that’s what they were thinking.
P.S.: See Hiving a Swarm for more photos.
UPDATE (Oct. 25/12): It was our best day of beekeeping and pretty much the only good day we had. The rest of the season was quick and dirty beekeeping, more like bee-visiting than beekeeping, and it wasn’t nearly as much fun as able to see the bees every day.