We have had a tremendous spring and early summer so far. The amount of rain has kept things green and growing. Good for bee food, especially if you see my front yard! It has been a good swarm season as well. We have been called for a number of swarms–as many as four in one day. These have varied in size but check out the gallery for the “mega-swarm” we recovered on Memorial weekend. In capturing a swarm, remember that generally they are very docile. Usually you can work them without suiting up or smoking them. In fact, you don’t want to smoke them. I have found that if they are on a branch or small bush/tree you can just shake them into a box set below them. Sometimes you may have to cut the branch they are on if they are high in a tree. The key is to make sure you have captured the queen.
We also had another first experience, for me, in getting a bee tree. A tree in Deadwood was going to be removed and it was discovered that there was a colony of bees in it. Bill Clements was working in Deadwood and the city contacted him about removing the bees. The end result was the city had the tree removal company come out to remove the tree. The night before, Bill covered the entrance used by the bees with mesh, trying to keep as many of the bees in as possible. The tree removers cut the branches, then started on the trunk until they came to the bees. They quickly put a piece of cloth over the opening in the trunk and secured that. Then they went down below where the bees were and cut the trunk there. They lifted the piece of trunk with the bees onto Bill’s waiting flatbed. He took the trunk, with bees, to his place, dug a hole and put the trunk upright in the hole. The bees were in there new home. A post script to this is that the bees later swarmed but Bill was able to capture them and put them in a hive box. Again, check out the pictures of this operation in the gallery.