My Bees Swarm Again

Gift Of Summer

The second day of summer and my honeybees swarm again.  This time it was the second hive, the one that barely had anything going in to wintering and they managed to pull through.  The size of the bees from this hive is small too, smaller than the first hive’s bees.  It didn’t matter how many times I inspected this hive, I could never find the queen.  They’ve also  taken longer to build up their strength.

They pulled a high noon on me.  They swarmed exactly at noon before settling on a birch tree and waiting for the scouts to find a perfect place for their new home. I set up a new base, super and frames in a hurry.  At least I have base, though not yet coated, and frames this time.  No inner and outer cover though.  I’m using a winter inner cover and a wooden board temporarily for now.

Retrieving a swarm from twelve feet above ground wasn’t easy.  I thought I could spray them with water and brush them into a cardboard box.  As it turned out I can only do one thing at a time because I needed to hold onto a branch to prevent myself from falling off the ladder.  So, forget the brush.  I sprayed them then pulled the cardboard box along the branch that they gathered on.  The majority of them easily dropped into the box.  I quickly closed the cover and took them to their newly prepared home.   Then, back up the ladder again.  After three trips up the ladder I got most of them.  They settled pretty fast in the new hive, hive #6.

Hive #6.  I had to make do with uncoated base and bottom board, winter inner cover and a wooden board for the roof but they settled in pretty fast.
Hive #6. I had to make do with uncoated base and bottom board, winter inner cover and a wooden board for the roof but they settled in pretty fast.

After I finished with the swarm I inspected the original second hive.  This time I had no mercy.  I removed all the queen cells, two had already opened anyway, to prevent further swarming.  All frames in the super above the queen excluder were filled with honey.  So I removed four of them that were completely sealed, left the one that was partially sealed in there for them.  The bees punished me with four stings.  It really wasn’t their fault, I was robbing them of their food supply and I wore only a t-shirt, veil and gloves.

Now I have four frames of honey that need to be extracted and a new hive.  I found an old English poem below while searching for swarming:

           A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay;

           A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon;

           A swarm of bees in July isn’t worth a fly.

According to this poem, I nature has given me a load of hay and three silver spoons plus four frames of honey (so far).

Four frames of capped honeycombs from the swarmed hive (#2).  I should have removed some honey from hive #1 as well but after four stings, ..think I'd rather wait.
Four frames of capped honeycombs from the swarmed hive (#2). I should have removed some honey from hive #1 as well but after four stings, ..think I’d rather wait.

Our First Honey From the Hive

Throw the Rule Book Out

I know I wasn’t supposed to take any honey from the hive in the first year.  My instructor said it’s very rare for the bees to produce surplus honey on the first year.  They weren’t supposed to swarm either. They did.

We did the inspection last Saturday; a week after they swarmed.  We found five queen cells in the hive but no eggs.  There were plenty of bees in the hive and foraging.  I decided to take two of the queen cells out, the smallest cells of the five.  I hope the future queen that comes out of the cell first will take care of the other two.

We debated during the inspection should we take some of the honey or not.  Most of the combs in the top super were filled with honey.  There was only an inch at the bottom of most of the combs that were still not filled.  It’s only mid-July and there are plenty of flowers around the garden and in the neighborhood.  So, against all the rules, we took one of the full combs and replaced it with a new comb.

What a delightful experience!

We took some to our neighbor to pay back for her painful experience being sting by our bees when she tried to feed them.  She still wants to have her own hive next year.

We weren’t planning to harvest this year, but this is what we took from just one comb

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑