Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bringing Home a Swarm

A couple of weeks ago, the most EXCITING thing happened!

My sister-in-law called us at about 8PM one weeknight.  Weeknights in winter or early spring are boring for us.  I make dinner, we do dishes, we eat, and we kick back.  Until the weather warms up and there is mowing to do, we generally don't do much that is entertaining during the week.

My hubby was all laid out on his bed watching TV and I was in a similar position in my recliner.  My phone rang and my sister-in-law rarely calls me so when I saw her name on my phone, I answered right away. 

She asked me if we still had honeybees?  I told her that all of our three hives had died the previous year so we didn't have any.  She told me that a friend of hers was mowing and found a bunch of bees hanging on a branch in her yard.  Normally, if bees are in a tree they are nearly impossible to capture.  You have to get the queen and if she would be inside the trunk of the tree, your success would be a long shot.  But my sister-in-law told me that her friend's bees were on a branch hanging right on the ground and that they were ours if we want to come get them!

Woo hoo baby!  I was so excited.  I wasn't so sure that my husband would be excited given his current state of relaxation but when I told him, he jumped up and said, "let's find our stuff and get over there."  We hadn't had bees in over a year so we didn't have a hive body ready and had to find our suits, the smoker, all of that stuff.  And of all things, my husband had sold his pickup so we had to hook up to a box trailer to haul them in.  (My husband drives an SUV and we didn't want them flying around in the car with us LOL.)

Here is what we found when we got there:

They look like they are on a pylon/cone but they aren't.  They are just hanging there keeping the queen cozy. 
I held the branch holding the bees (which was like a giant chandelier of beads) while he snipped the branch.  I was able to drop them into the hive body and scoop up some of the bees there in the grass.  We wrapped the entire thing in a beach towel (because my husband wouldn't listen to me and drop them into a cooler which would seal tightly instead of the hive body which has holes and crevices for them to escape) and we brought them home.
Once home, we got them set up in their very own hive body.  We fed them sugar water for a few days because we had a week of rain here in mid Missouri and we wanted to make sure they were happy in their new place.  Here's their new home:
A few days later, I peaked in.  They were already furnishing the place with honeycomb.  Looks like they might be sticking around.  Hurray!

Honeybees are a precious part of our planet.  We are thrilled to find a wild swarm of bees and happy that they MIGHT be sharing some honey with us come August in exchange for their fancy new house LOL.

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