Monday, May 21, 2018

Transferring Our First Bee Swarm

It was just a few short weeks ago we earned the titles of "Beekeepers" when we brought home our first nuc of bees.  Well, yesterday - on National Bee Day coincidentally - we ventured even farther into our new title. 


Jason's uncle called us up late last week and told us that he was pretty certain there was a swarm of honeybees in his compost and, if we wanted them, they were ours.  Jason jumped at the chance to gather his first swarm so he loaded up the car and made the hour-plus drive to his uncle's farm.  And, much to our excitement, there was in fact quite the swarm of honeybees!  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to tag along so there aren't any photos of him extracting the bees, but he did snap one photo before diving into the swarm.


Once he got home it was raining (of course!) so we had to wait a little longer to put them in their new home.  We got our Warre Hive all set up and tried to figure out the best way to transport them.  Now, with a Warre hive, there aren't premade frames like a Langstroth hive.  So, a Warre hive is ideal for new swarms - you can just dump them into the hive.  But, Jason had recovered a few pieces of honeycomb and we wanted that to be in the hive with them.  Ultimately, we decided to use our transfer box that we purchased to use with our Warre Hive.  Jason left three empty Langstroth frames in the transfer box and tucked the honeycomb in between the frames.

    

Thankfully, the rain didn't last long so we got geared up and got to work!

    

First, Jason blew a little smoke into the box to try and disorient and calm the bees a bit.  


Then, it was time to open the box.  There were so many bees!  SO MANY!!!  He started by removing the honeycomb and tucking that into the transfer box.



    

Then, it was time to carefully dump and sweep the rest of them into the hive.

    






The amount of bees swarming around us was unreal!  Once Jason had gotten the majority of the bees out of the box, he closed up the top and started carefully sweeping them towards the entrance of the hive.

    



One of the coolest features of the Warre Hive is that there's a window!  We opened it up just to take a peek and they were already in there working.


Raising bees has been such a fun, interesting venture so far.  We still have a lot to learn, but we're doing that as we go!  Bees are such a remarkable creature.


Until next time,

~ Sara :)

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