There's the Queen....Get Her!!

by Gladys Hutson
(Waxhaw, NC)

My husband and I were in our 2nd spring of beekeeping. That year in North Carolina has been pretty warm and the swarms were plentiful. We had some workers at our house to work on our pool. Our 4 hives were in the back yard a couple hundred yards from our pool.

All of a sudden we heard this ROAR coming from the hive. My husband and I had already experienced swarming from our hives and the sound did not please us. It meant that if we wanted to capture the swarm, I would have to put everything else on hold that I had planned that day. We had only captured a few swarms, but this one I would have to capture by myself!! If you are lucky enough to have them land low, it can be easier to catch them. They landed on a low branch of a wisteria bush that was approx. 50 yards from the hive. We had other swarms that had landed on that exact same branch the previous year.
The problem was....I did not have any extra hive boxes at the time. So I quickly called a friend that wanted to start keeping bees and had his hive boxes all ready. Luckily he was able to come right over.

I was preparing the boxes and had gently placed the hive box near the branch that the bees had landed on. I had a few other things that I was getting ready and the worker from our pool decided that he would help. He went over to the hive box that I had placed near the swarm and decided that he would push it further under the bees. Just as I saw what he was doing, the swarm took off again. My heart sank!!

My friend,the future beekeeper, and I watched as the swarm circled around in the air. I was furious at the worker and let him know that he had no business doing what he had just done.

My friend followed the swarm into my neighbor's yard and luckily, they landed in another low growing bush.....this one however,a bramble bush full of thorns. The swarm had formed two different balls of bees, one about the size of a soccer ball and another just below it about the size of a golf ball. We let them settle for a good hour, meanwhile hauling all of our equipment over the neighbor’s barb wire fence. I realized that I would have to cut some of the bramble away in order to get the hive box under the swarm. I figured that the Queen was in the larger swarm, so when I had enough brambles cut to slide the hive box under the swarm, I disturbed the smaller golf ball sized clump of bees and they all started flying around us.

As I was pushing the hive box under the large swarm, my friend, who had very little to no experience with honey bees, said to me. "There is a bee on your back that has a yellow dot on it."
I asked "Is the yellow on the back or on the legs?"
He replied "On the back."
I said "That is the Queen!!" "Scoop her off my back"
He did so and handed the Queen to me. I took her and put her in the hive box that I had placed under the large swarm.

Immediately, hundreds and hundreds of bees started moving into the hive box. By night fall, most of the bees from the swarm were in the hive box.
We left the hive box in that spot over- night.

By morning, all the bees were in the hive.

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