Saturday, May 21, 2011

Just Swarmy!

Early today my neighbor greeted me with the news that I had a swarm of bees in my tree that I had missed by an hour. I looked over at the tree where she told me they were and sure enough the tell tale signs of crumpled leaves coated with bits of wax.

I pondered for a moment if they were mine since earlier this year I observed a feral colony in a hollow tree in another neighbor’s yard . I returned from running errands just after 5pm and was greeted by a mass of black airborne insects as I was pulling into my driveway. Wiki here has a picture of almost exactly what I saw. I knew they were mine this time.

A little about swarms: Swarms happen when the hive feels as if they have no more room for growth. The lead up signs to the swarm include “swarm cells” which are peanut like cells hanging on the bottom of the frame. I did witness something that could have been interpreted as swarm cells in my last hive check, but I ignored them because they were in the top super and not in the lowest one like the textbook says they should be. Then again my saga since the last hive check is something else.

The swarm in relation to my hives. (B 2.1 on the left and Club Fergie on the right.)

Short story long, we were about to head out for the evening, a swarm project was not something I could get started with. By mid morning the next day I expected them to be gone.

I had a moment where I felt sad they had swarmed and there was nothing I could do about it, but then I relized that I got into beekeeping not for the honey, but to help the bees and it brought me some solace knowing that my bees were helping to repopulate the local area.

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