Tuesday June 7, Billings, Montana 59106. received two swarm calls, too late for the first, but successful with the second. We have been cold and rainy for the past month. Then Friday nice and sunny but windy about 70 degrees then Saturday calm and about 80, sunday calm and about 85. Sunday I know of 4 swarms that moved. Monday, cold and rainy again, no more new swarms............
I just had my first swarm today, 7/12/2011. I have two hives going from May 6. I went out to check on my bees and noticed a huge swarm on a small 4 ft. pine tree near my garden... where I have my other two hives. There must have been 20K bees there. I was completely surprised, not ready. I had four supers put together, but no frames as yet. Thinking that since I just got my bees in May they wouldn't swarm this year.... WRONG. I was nailing those frames together at lightening speed. During this time a small thunder storm come over with about 5 minutes of hail. I didn't have a spare bottom board or top so had to use 3 5-gal. buckets to sit the super on, then grabbed a piece of plywood for the top and put 4 rocks on the edges to hold the plywood up from the top of the super. Painted some raw honey on 3 of the frames.... for bait. Then gently grabbed handfuls of bees and 'poured' them onto the super frames (before I put my makeshift top on). When my husband got home he made up a plywood bottom board for me while I made up ten more frames for an additional super. By the time we had the second super ready (the boxes had been painted early May), the swarm had started to settle into their new home which had been placed right next to the pine tree. We put the second super next to the other two hives, and then carried the newly inhabited super on top and put the makeshift top on. I'll check on them tomorrow after they have had a chance to 'settle in', and look for a queen. I had to really hustle today.
tomorrow we will get the remaining super frames ready, AND call Western Bee and order 4 more deeps, two telescoping tops, two inner covers, and two bottoms. I obviously didn't have pine for my bottom today, just happened to have plywood handy, and no time to paint either. If I don't see a queen bee, guess I'll be ordering her also.
I'm pooped. But it was really exciting and fun. The little rain we got .. here in Montana..helped to 'slow them down a little'. Made it easy to gather them up and pour them into their new home. So, since I have two hives to start with, I guess I have to expect another swarm again from the other hive in the next few days.
Yes, it was fun and surprisingly easy. I just happened to walk out to check on my two hives I started May 6 and noticed a huge brown ball on a little pine tree. EAsily twice the amount in the bee boxes I got at the start from Western Bee...so about 7 to 8 lbs. The two supers I had to put them in are not nearly large enough, so have to call Western Bee to get some deeps ASAP. I do have two more supers I can use, but do have to put the frames together for them. I guess because I just started this May, I didn't think they would swarm this Spring. SURPRISE, SURPRISE.
So, now I have to get ready for another swarm,,, since I have two hives.
We had planned a 5 week vacation to see our kids, so had neighbors feeding the bees from June 4 til June 27, as we had a very late Spring. Lots of rain and very cool temps, no flowers. Obviously, the Queen was well fed. "-) Anyway, plan to change them over to deeps as soon as I can get them. Just want to use the Supers for honey harvest. At first I was a bit intimitated because of the numbers in the swarm, but they proved to be very gentle (I had a short sleeved shirt on, with just short leather gloves). Hope I managed to get the queen in the new home. Will look for her tomorrow.
Collected close to five pound swarm out of a lilac yezterday. Two weeks plus early. I actually got stung a few times. That is very rare here unless you pinch them. Dark bees but we really have no feral population
date when the bees swarmed or when you found the swarm.
comments - example: if the swarm came from your hive, or if you were called to pick up a swarm, how long was it there. This is not for cutouts unless the bees just took up residence and are not established. It would also be great to include a small photo of the swarm.