In my blog I plan to chat about nature, crafts, baking, gardening, beekeeping, family, and whatever else seems appropriate at the time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Swarm - Part I

First of all, RJ & Scribe, I miss you too. And don't go arguing over my bees. Lets just call them honey bees and keep the peace. (replying to comment from yesterday's post)

Thursday, while having a late lunch with a friend, I got a phone call. A guy has a swarm on his property. CRAP! I had decided that day I was going to get a perm, my cousin was going to give it to me, and I didn't want to mess with another swarm. I had spent two hours on Wednesday morning getting a swarm, on another neighbor's property. But these people are neighbors to our farm where we are moving to, and I don't want them upset with me. So, I call my cousin back and tell her not to come over until I call her. She lives about 40 minutes away. I go to assess the swarm situation and my Shug is already there.

It's way up high in the tree. Probably 15 feet. Too high to get with a ladder. But it is HUGE and would make a nice hive.

We talk about it for awhile and the only thing we can think of to do is to tie a rope around the tree limb, put a tarp and a box on the ground, and give that limb a good hard yank. When bees are in a swarm like this, they are barely hanging on to each other.

So my shug climbs up the ladder, gently pulls the limb down and ties a rope on it.

The guy who lives there cut a few limbs out of the way. Now here was the situation that I was concerned about. Ideally, we want them to fall in the box, or at least on the tarp. But we are in a chicken yard and there is a farm fence right under that tree with some logs under the fence to keep the chickens in, or critters out. Either way, if those bees end up in the grass, which is 8-10 inches tall, I'll never get them out unless I can get the queen. If you don't get the queen, the hive will not follow.

Now, this is my Shug, getting ready to yank on that limb, not listening to me. I told him to wear a hat and veil and gloves. Blogettes, if there is one thing you should do is LISTEN TO THE BEEKEEPER. Responsible beekeepers do not let people help them without suiting up. My Shug said, I'm going to jerk on it and run. I kept telling him he couldn't run fast enough. I was nagging. That first bee is going to be buzzing him before the limb bounces back up the tree. He wouldn't listen. I've never seen him run so fast! He got stung in the neck. Oh well....I had stuff to do and I get tired of non-beekeepers thinking they don't have to follow the rules.

Look closely at all the bees flying around. CRAP CRAP AND TRIPLE CRAP. See the bees? Yup. Right beside the box, but on the tarp, so that's good. Right?

So I start gently moving them into the box as best as I can. There are still a bunch in the tree, but I'll deal with them in a minute. If I have the queen in the box, the bees in the tree will come.

QUAD CRAP! The bees are flying out of the box and onto this log, lodged under the fence.

I moved one log, but the one they are on cannot be moved. It's tied down with old rusty wire.

Blogettes, I tried for four hours to get those bees. I was so hot I went through a bunch of water, I had to un-suit and rest for awhile because my skin was red and throbbing. Lunch was the last meal I had. Finally, at 8:30 that night, I quit trying. I took what I had to our land and put them in a hive, which of course they did not want to stay in. I did not get to spend time with my cousin, nor did I get a perm (and don't go thinking I'm getting one of those kinky tight curly perms, I just want some body to this flat, fine hair. Kind of a beach wave thing. What? I can call it a beach wave if I want to.)

I woke up Thursday night at midnight, wide awake, thinking about those bees. I felt so bad. I broke up a hive. This is a huge lesson for me. Listen to my head, not my heart and don't be greedy. Greed is evil. If that was a small swarm I wouldn't have even tried to get it. I woke up again at 1:30 a.m. and could not get back to sleep, and I had a big day planned Friday with my Dad and Sister. We were going on a bus tour of gardens. All day bus tour.

I tried counting chickens to get back to sleep. It didn't work. These chicks watched me from a distance the entire time. Probably thinking how crazy I am.

Oh yeah - When I got home last night (Fri) from my big day, which I'm excited to tell you about, my Shug says, Kenny called. Then Shug says, "I went over there and those bees are back on the ground. He wants us to try to get them. I think we can."

"NO WE CAN'T. You don't know hard I tried. I was there for four hours, hot, tired, hungry, dehydrated, and I tried. I was soaked through every layer of clothing. We can't get them." "Well, let's at least go over there and try."

Stay tuned for Part II, which hasn't happened yet. I'm hoping they leave.

Cindy Bee


  1. Oh my stars......What a interesting day you had. I am sorry you didn't get to do what you wanted to... I would have given up hours before you did.. I hope the day yesterday was fun for you....and calm and restful..Stay safe......Hugs Birgit

  2. Crossing my fingers for a good results and be SURE to post perm pictures :D

  3. You know I know all about needed the Bee Keeper ASAP. I still enjoy each story as long as it's not in my yard again. I don't know if I've asked you this before. Do you know my Bee Keeper Cousin, Corwin Bell, he lectures on bee keeping and is some sort of masters club.

  4. Cindy,
    These were 2 challenging days for you. Thank you for educating us on bees, swarms, broods.....who knew?

    I hope it goes better for you this weekend.

  5. What an adventure! I was on pins and needles just READING about it! (I've never even seen a swarm before.) Oh Cindy!!!

  6. Oh Cindy I cannot believe how brave you are. I love reading about these adventures. Sorry it did not work out the way you wanted. B

  7. Hi everyone,
    Thanks for commenting.

    Birgit - I should have given up. I just kept thinking maybe I could find that queen. In a few days, I will check the hive that I put the bees in that I did get. I think some of them stayed.

    Marilyn - Right now I'm slated for a perm on the 22 or 23. I'll post pics of my beach hair!

    Garden Bell - I don't know your cousin. He's probably a Master Gardener. A lot of beekeepers are, including myself. I actually gave that up this year though. I'll explain why in a post some day...maybe soon.

    Jul - You know now!

    Rebekah - I've never seen a bear before! Not in the wild anyway. I was on pins and needles when I read that post of yours last year. Saying all the while...Run Rebekah RUN!

    Buttons - Bees that are in a swarm are almost always very gentle. Honey bees only sting when they feel threatened. And quite frankly, by the time the night was over, I'm surprised I didn't get stung. I was so irritated.

    Cindy Bee


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