Honey Bees

10 days ago we had honey bees swarming in our front yard. Quite the sight!

They coalesced into a bowling-ball sized swarm in a boxwood next to our driveway.2017-May-bee-swarm

This is at least the 4th time this has happened over the years. We used to have them living in our bedroom wall and in 2006 we captured a swarm into a beehive. They did not stay around very long, though. We still have the hive components, so we decided to give it a go again.

The next morning the swarm was still in the boxwood. It was chilly and rainy so we knew they might not survive long — bees cannot fly in the rain and trying to stay warm in the rain would sap all their energy. We snipped the branch with the swarm and dropped it into the beehive we had set up in the driveway. Unfortunately, a clump of bees dropped offduring the transfer. The next morning the uncaptured bees had reswarmed so we repeated the drill and then had most of them in the beehive. We left them there for about a week; once it got warm and sunny they became, well, busy as bees, collecting nectar to centerd out their new home. Yesterday morning was quite cool, so we took advantage of the resulting bee lethargy to move the beehive to a more suitable location.
2017-May-beehive

This location is not ideal, a bit close to the road, but it gets morning sun to wake the bees up but by afternoon the maple tree shades it to help prevent overheating.

We are not too stupid, though, so despite the coolth we did use a smoker when we opened the hive to put in a sugar-water feeder. Upon moving a hive you are supposed to keep the bees confined for several days, but today is forecast to be 90° and we don’t want them overheating, so we opened it up this morning. Hopefully they will not get too confused at their new location.

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