Tuesday, June 17, 2014

There's a Buzz in the Air.

Where has the time gone?! I can't believe it is June already.  Our laid back pace has gotten hectic lately.  Super D got a new job and our schedules are not very together right now.  But life marches on and we are keeping up at the moment

  A few weeks ago I went out with the girls to pick poke and while we were at the other trailer I heard this loud buzzing.  I looked up to see where it was coming from and walked around the trailer and the garden area was filled with bees in the air.  It was honestly a little creepy.  I yelled at the girls to get in the car and we closed all the doors.  While there we watched a cloud of bees flying in the garden area. At first I didn't know what to think.  There were enough of them I didn't really want to walk through them! So I drove through the woods a bit to check our hive.  I thought maybe it was knocked over and our bees were lost of something.  But our drive showed it was intact and busy with bees in and out.  So I drove back around and the bees were gone. ???? 

So I ventured out of the car to investigate.  I could still hear the buzzing a bit and low and behold we had just witnessed bees swarming.  I know many call a bunch a bees a swarm but really bees only swarm when they are looking for a new home.  When a hive gets too big and out grows it's home the bees make a new queen who then takes half of the hive with her to find a new home.  We were witnessing this.  The bees hadn't left they had just settled down for a rest with the queen.

Is that not cool?! So I got our empty hive box out and put under the bees. I wanted to catch the swarm.  If you get the queen in a suitable home they will stay with her there and set up house.  I attempted to knock these bees out of the tree several times but was not successful.  Swarming bees don't really look to sting anything as they aren't guarding a home.  They are just following the queen and I've been told you can put your hand in a swarm of bees and not get stung.   I was not brave enough to try but was amazed at how close I could get with them really not paying any attention to me.  I had a bee or two run into me but not sting me while I was trying to get them.  Anyways, I failed and decided to wait for Super D to get off work to help me.  I hoped I had tired them out enough that they would stay put long enough for us to get back. 

They did.  With Super D we managed to get them into a hive box.

 Super D helped and was tall enough to cut the branch they were on so they would drop into the box.
At least most of them were in the box.

Really we needed to have the queen in the box.  If she stayed they would all stay.  But finding the queen in all those bees is not something we are good at. 
We left the bees to settle in and came back a couple hours later and every bee was on the out side of the hive box. We had missed getting the queen in the box.  So we moved it and tried again.  We really shook up those poor bees trying to catch them and in the end I was stung twice and Super D three times.  
We finally had almost all the bees in the box and were confident we had the queen.  So we left them for the next day to let them settle in.  I went back a day later and I guess they didn't like that home because they were gone.  Not a single bee left.  So we gained some good experience and learned a bit. But didn't end up with a new hive.  I'm sure some expert could tell us what we did wrong and what to do next time. I have my own ideas too.  Seeing a swarm like that was a really neat event that was cool to catch.  Had we not gone over that day we would have never seen that swarm.  I am disappointed we weren't able to catch it.  
     Just another adventure for the S Family in the Ozarks.  

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