About six weeks ago I sadly discovered that my first beehive was dying. We don’t know why. It took a while for the hive to totally die. I was really disappointed and called my dad last weekend to let him know that my hive was officially dead. Lo and behold! He just happened to have one of his hives swarm that very day.
A swarm is when one of the hives produces more than one queen. There is only room for one Queen Bee so one of them has to leave and she takes a bunch of supportive bees on her exodus.
Here’s a brief clip as I survey the swarm. I have to admit…it was pretty intimidating. I was a little dubious about wrangling bees.
The ONLY day that I was grateful for a cold and grey June morning. As you can see, the bees were clumped together and pretty sleepy. We moved the swarm from a cherry tree to my empty bee hive.
My dad bravely climbed up the ladder and started sweeping bees into the bankers box. Then he handed me the box and I poured the bees into the hive box on the back of the gator. I wish the video camera was working to get the first pour because it’s very beautiful. All the bees just pour into the box like honey. Dad swept the branch three times before we had about 90% of the hive collected.
Here’s a video of the the other two pours into the hive box. At about 6:14 you can see how the bees clump in the box before I dump them out.
I keep a beehive because I love bees and their honey but also because I paint a lot with beeswax. It’s my way of helping the bees that help me make beautiful art. My bees have been home for a week now and I’m very happy. They’re very happy, too, and starving! We found that the first hive had only made a teeny amount of honey – about the size of a quarter. I’ve been feeding this hive four quarts of sugar water a day. It’s live having a newborn!