Saturday, 23 April 2011

My first Swarm of the season... Awesome doesn't even come close!!!

Got a call yesterday afternoon (22nd April 2011) from Duncan at my association asking me to pick up a swarm near where I live, I was advised it was in a tree but the house occupier had a ladder. So having prepared the car and required kit a few days previously off I went.

This is what I found. It looks high up, because it was. Well 20ft maybe 25ft.

The plan was to put the ladder to the left of the swarm, climb up and lop the branch the were on and holding the branch with swarm attached bring those girls down to earth. That was the plan. 

Due to excitement, I did not take many pictures. but below is a close up


Well what actually happened was this.... the ladder went up. so far so good. I went up with branch loppers. this plan is coming together. I cleared the branches that were in the way to make room for me and lopped the branch off the bees were on. this is the point where the plan failed and if I might say so, with style and finesse. That branch with those bees on is how can I put this, bloody heavy. I stayed on the ladders, that's good. the branch when I could not hold it due to the weight, hit the floor. Bees how ever have wings and flew. They were every where. They did look great but that was not the plan.

I came down and watched with the house holder who commented they looked like that when the flew in before. Did they now.

Now is the part for patience. I waited may be half an house and they settled on an old picket fence underneath the tree. Some good luck. At this point I brushed them in to a national brood box and strapped it up. The opening was left open and I came away (leaving the box)

I went back at dusk that evening knowing that all stray bees would have gone in the box with the queen, I stuffed the hole with some sponge and took the bees to my apiary, once the hive was sited, the sponge was removed and I now need to go and check on them.

With this swarm, the cut out and the two colonies from over Winter I am now at 4 colonies and it is only 24th April (mindst you one colony has a failing/failed queen so really I have 3 healthy colonies I hope)


  1. That is awesome. Shame there isn't more pictures but the ones you have are good. I wish a swarm would land near me, though I would prefer at least a years experience (maybe more) before handling a swarm

  2. thanks. It was absolutely brilliant pick it up to say the least. How is Wakefield bee keepers going? have you enlisted on a training course and when are your bees coming? checked the swarm last night and they were flying well. my only concern is that they might abscond but after 2days I think I am past that possibility. I hope so.

  3. All doing good. I attend my bee-giners course next wednesday. I will ask then what chance there is of getting a nuc from the course and if any doubt will contact that guy you sent me details of. I think he said call back in April or May. Either way I'm determined to get started this year. A friend of mine is hopefully going to provide me with some pallets to attempt to build a top bar hive! Looking forward to that. He doesn't know yet but he will be helping me!

  4. thats is great to hear. Good Luck and enjoy. we started one in leeds last week and they I have just come back from the leeds meeting about 10 minutes ago. I am sure Wakefield will be able to provide a nuc (I will be amazed if they cant lets put it like that) if not I have been talking to David tonight and he is full throng on starting rearing queens now for nucs. Good luck on the top bar hive build to. I have been going through the one at temple newsum this evening as it very strong and I think David is going to split in down in to nucs tomorrow, before it swarms. I do like them and if I pick enough swarms up this year I might indulge and make one myself... might. but have fun building it. can I suggest you make the top bars the same length as a national so you can do manipulations. just a suggestion of course and good luck down on the wakey course