Up a Ladder

I had just finished checking my last hive and turned my attention to picking peas from my community garden lot when the phone rang and was called out to a swarm from a hive from I hive that had inspected a while back.

When I got there, the bees were 3 metres up a tree and on the outside branches. Below is a photo of the swarm taken by the owners of the hive.

Swarm on two branches

I laid out a sheet on the ground underneath them and put two hive boxes on the sheet. The bottom box was empty and the top box had frames of foundation.

Up the ladder I went armed with a branch lopper. I cut the branches where the bees had gathered and they fell onto lower branches.

Swarm comes down

I repeated this until I could just reach them with a pair of secateurs. I was then able to take branches with bees and place them in the empty box. At some point the queen was moved into the box as the bees started flying and walking into the boxes.

After half and hour they were all inside and had moved up to the top box that had all the frames of foundation. I took away the empty box and that night I came back, strapped the hive up, blocked the entrance, covered it with a sheet for safety and took the swarm away.

Today I will feed the bees with 1:2 sugar syrup with some AgriSea bee nutrition to help them build out the foundation and encourage the queen to lay. In a few weeks I’ll introduce a new bred queen to ensure the genetics. As I know the hive that the swarm came from I am reasonably confident that they don’t have any disease and I’ll only isolate the hive for a month before placing it out in an apiary.

Swarm safely at home

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