Saturday, August 4, 2012

Catchin' Up - Swarm!!

Mindin' my own bizness, waterin' some stuff, when I kept hearing what sounded like a chainsaw off in the distance yet, strangely, closer than it should be.  And why were there more Bee Girls around than usual this time of year?  Not that much blooming at the moment, pretty cool out for that much activity.  And then, I went to go check on the baby apples in the 'Honeycrisp' tree when I realized that it was NOT a chainsaw in the distance, but a swarm of bees in the 'Honeycrisp' tree!  A quick call to Scotty, our local bee guy, and he showed up later on in the evening with a bee box and collected the swarm.  The really interesting part, besides the fact that they didn't appear to be my own Bee Girls, was that about an hour after I discovered the swarm, they up and relocated to another branch on the same tree.  To see that many bees in the air swirling around the tree all at once was truly spectacular!  Scotty hauled the new hive home and they are doing quite well.  And while he was here, we opened up our own hive to check honey status.  Man, was there a LOT of honey in the hive!  And it has a really unusual, almost spicy taste to it.  I'm guessing that last year they really liked the ultra hot 'Scotchbonnet Orange' hot peppers I planted!

The original location of the swarm, on the right side of the 'Honeycrisp' apple tree, the dark blob hanging in the little clearning under the branch

I was trying to show the bees in flight but don't think you can really see them.  They have nearly finished relocating to the left side of the tree up a bit higher

From the other side, you can clearly see the swarm hanging in a rusty brownish blob on the right side of the tree

Dale (standing) and Scotty prepare the box

A great shot of Dale (back to camera) and Scotty cutting the branch the swarm is hanging on
Scotty prepares to shake the bees into the box.  The queen will be in the centre of the swarm and it's important that when he shakes the branch, she goes in the box.  Usually, the weight of the swarm when shaken off the branch carries her right in, no worries

Now we wait for nightfall and the stray bees and scouts to return.  They do know their queen is in that box
Somehow this pix got out of sequence, but it's a good shot of the swarm right after they relocated to the other side of the tree

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