Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bees are Buzzing

The bees at Garden Dreams are strong.  Really strong.  Ready to swarm strong.  There are many ways to keep bees, but in an urban setting, beekeepers try to prevent swarming, which is colony level reproduction.  When bees swarm, up to 1/2 the bees leave the hive with the queen, once a new queen is almost ready to be born for the hive they are leaving behind.  They rush out of the hive and the buzzing is quite audible.  The bees are gorged with honey so they can start fresh in whatever new home they have chosen (tree trunk, abandoned house wall etc...almost always a cavity).  For this reason, they are quite gentle, not feisty, when they have swarmed.  It really is an amazing thing to see.

Beekeepers try to keep the bees happy so they don't swarm, but it is in their nature, to reproduce at a colony level...tens of thousands of bees starting a new home, and it is really quite amazing.  However, the survival rate of unmanaged honeybee colonies is not as high as it should be, but that is a whole other post...concerning imported varroa mite, local adaption, and good genetics.  For now, the bees are good and I am doing my best keep up with them!

Hived Swarm
Hived Swarm checking out their new home.

Ummmm....experimental beekeeping.  Cut out a swarm sell and pop it on a frame for a queenless hive?  We shall see.   
Hive B swarming out the front of the hive (the first time).  I later caught this swarm with a bucket duck-taped to a rake with a ladder, and two friends that swung a rope over the branch they were on and gave a swift tug at the right moment to drop them in the bucket.  (See hived swarm above)

Split-o-rama.  3 original hives and 4 swarm prevention splits (plus 1 hived swarm not pictured). 
Blurry swarm #3 pic.   They were REALLY high in a maple tree.  

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