Thursday, May 16, 2013


Caught the first swarm of 2013 this afternoon. Nice and easy as it occupied one of my swarm traps while I was mowing. Almost a month and half later than last year's first swarm I might add.

If I miss replying or do not make a comment on any of the many blogs I follow or fail to stop by each day please forgive me. This is the busiest time of year for me to say the least and while I have more time this year than I have ever had before please keep in mind I am attempting to get as many projects completed as possible before my savings and alternate income sources are depleted to the point that I must go find another low wage job once again. Even with my ultra-frugal, debt free lifestyle I will eventually need some financial replenishment although I am hoping to be able to swing part time only when I am forced to return to the grind. Unless of course we get a level playing field once again and affirmative action get's repealed then I might be able to land a decent job for a change. Ya good luck with that.

Anyway back to the swarm.

I attempted to take a picture of the swarm all bearded over the swarm trap but the Mrs. has stashed the camera somewhere and I couldn't find it. It's her camera anyway but I used to always know where it was but these days she keeps taking pictures of her adopted kitten family and I am not sure where she is storing it from one day to the next.

This was perhaps the most interesting and informational swarm I have caught to date. While I have had the pleasure on more than one occasion to actually watch a swarm occupy one of my traps this is the first time I have caught a swarm in a trap I was able to monitor almost all hours of the day. This particular swarm trap hangs in a tree not even 20 feet from the garden. I had a trap in that same tree last year but facing West and never got a hit so this year I placed it facing more Southeast. I also chose that particular tree because the old garden hive almost always chose that particular tree to cluster in whenever it kicked out a swarm as well. I just thought maybe it was lucky.

I refreshed the bait and cleaned out any vermin from my traps Monday morning. One was almost completely filled with ants and another had a wasp taking up residence. The bees will not occupy a trap that is over run with ants and around here the ants are insidious.

Tuesday I noticed several bees checking out this particular trap and the one at the back end of the hay field once again. By late afternoon I was observing as many as a dozen or so bees at the entrance of the trap and crawling all over it. Yesterday afternoon there were so many scout bees coming and going from the trap I almost thought I had maybe captured a little swarm and didn't know it. By late morning today there were so many bees coming and going I was convinced a swarm had moved in when I wasn't looking. I was witnessing guard bees at the entrance even some fighting when a stranger bees attempted to enter the trap. There was as much activity as you would see from a small or weak hive.

At exactly 1PM I stopped mowing to take a break and walked over to my shady spot to relax a few minutes and noticed the entire area around the trap was filled with bees. I got there just in time to witness the first bees of this swarm landing and entering the trap but too late to see which direction they had come from.

It was a good sized swarm I am estimating about the size of a basketball and it took the bees the better part of 2 hours to all get situated and inside the trap. By late afternoon they had constant forager traffic already coming and going. well after sundown I put a cork in the entrance hole and moved the trap over to the West apiary which is where I will be hiving them in a day or two. I don't like to leave them in the trap too long because they will immediately start drawing comb from the cover and I don't want to waste too much of it.

Hopefully they won't mind the change of location and won't leave for a better home after moving them so soon. I have only had that happen once so we will see in the morning. With my depleted hives still recovering from the drought and harsh Winter I really don't want to steal a frame of eggs from my surviving hives right now either.

The mowing around the Small-Hold is finished and tomorrow was scheduled as a bee yard maintenance day anyway. I need to check and see how the colony that almost died out is doing. The entrance activity has certainly increased since I added some brood from one of the stronger hives.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I am now back up to five hives.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. Too cool...I haven't caught any more here. I think I need to re-bait my traps but haven't made the time to do so. I had to re-queen a hive a couple of weeks ago and need to open the hive to see if she's gotten busy. At the bee meeting the other night. The retired apiary inspector told us that the next 3 weeks weather was going to be excellent for a honey flow. I am backing off of garden work and checking the hives today to see if I can possibly add supers. Grandson and great nephew are spending the weekend so most of my weekend will be feeding those boys hollow legs!

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