My First Swarm

For my area, bees begin to swarm around the first of April.
Swarming is a natural phenomenon in which approximately 60% of the bees, plus the queen, leave the hive to form a new colony.  This happens mostly in part to overcrowding although other factors can come into play.
Since I had lost a colony of bees over the winter and didn’t want to buy any, I informed a friend (who is also a deputy sheriff for the county) that if anyone called about a swarm to please let me know.
A few days later, he let me know that a swarm was seen in a yard about 1.5 miles from my house.  I loaded up my supplies and went to check it out.
bee swarm3
I couldn’t have been luckier.  This small swarm was only 8 inches off the ground.  I placed my box underneath it, gave it a good shake, made sure everyone made it in and closed them up for the ride home.  It was after dark when I got home so I left the bees in the box (it’s ventilated) until the next day.
I already had a hive in place and the next day, I opened the box to transfer the bees

IMG_0002
my first swarm-April 9th, 2016

I placed these 5 frames in the middle of the empty hive and placed 4 empty frames and 1 frame of capped brood and larvae from the strong hive I have (making sure I didn’t get the queen) and placed it in with them.  I wasn’t sure if I should do that or not, but figured if they had something to tend to right away, they wouldn’t swarm again.  Then I placed a top feeder on with sugar-water, put on the outer cover, crossed my fingers, said a prayer, put on my lucky socks and hoped for the best.
That’s when another interesting phenomenon took place.
When I first took the frames out of the swarm box, some bees remained on the inside.
IMG_0003
hard to see but bees are clustered on inside of box

To let these wayward bees know where home is, the bees in the hive come to the entrance and begin to fan a pheromone that tells them this is their new home, please come join us.
IMG_0009
swarm hive releasing pheromone signal

I’m not making this up.  They actually turn to face the hive, lift their abdomens in the air and begin to fan.  This tells the bees that the queen is here and we are staying.
IMG_0008
C’mon in y’all!

One by one they march in without any help from me
IMG_0004
nature at it’s best

IMG_0006-001
When I checked them April 24th, the queen was laying well and they were bringing in tons of pollen (left side).  I will probably add another super next week.
What an addicting hobby.
Brenda

0 thoughts on “My First Swarm”

  1. Well. How wonderful for you! We had a swarm forming inside our well shed, which was fine with us, but then they decided to enter our house by the dozens. Arrgh. Had to put a stop to that and am sad that we made them decide to leave our property altogether. 🙁 Would have loved having them in the well shed. Every swarm we’ve ever had, whether in trees or building, has stayed only a short time. 🙁

  2. Your beekeeping posts are always so fascinating, Brenda! What amazing photos, too! Hope everything continues to go well. Happy Bees = Happy Beekeepers! ♡

Leave a Comment