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Well, today I caught swarm number 6. Of course it was from one of my own hives so nothing spectacular about that. Anyway, I saw unrest at the hive and knew immediately that trouble was brewing. Fortunately I had a nuc ready to use after rehousing the previous resident bees in a new hive only yesterday. And to think that I could retire the nuc to the shop. Ha!

So, swarm number 6 settles on the same dwarf apple tree that all the other swarms had chosen. Makes life easy, don't you think? Only problem was this time a ladder was needed. I am not particularly fond of climbing ladders at any time much less to collect a swarm of bees! The branch they were on was maybe 10 feet up so not really all that high but high enough that I would need help. My oldest daughter who lives with me has taken an interest in the bees (thank goodness) and agreed to help me catch this bunch of bees.

After rounding up all the equipment needed for this adventure, ladder in place, collection box with lid ready, nuc set up and ready to go, I decide that there is no way I can hold the box and shake the branch at the same time. I decided to tie a rope to the branch and have my daughter give it a hard and quick tug in hopes that the bees will cooperate and fall into the box. By the way, the box I use is one of those clear plastic storage containers you get at Wally World for around $6.00. Just big enough for the job.

All is ready, I'm on the ladder and have sprayed the swarm with warm 1:1 sugar syrup with some homemade HBH, holding the box, daughter with rope in hand. I say, ok, are you ready? She says yes. (she is dressed in tank top, shorts and flip flops and give me credit, I did tell her to put more clothes on but she said no, she would be fine. Famous last words!) She did have a veil on though so that's something.

Finally, I tell her to give the rope a quick hard tug and keep doing it until I say stop. The wad of bees fall into the container or at least most of them did. I am trying to make my way down the ladder so I can put the lid on the container (which my daughter was supposed to have ready for me) when I hear her yelling *#($)(%*&@#(& and some language I won't repeat here that she's being stung! Off she goes with the lid in hand and in my haste to get off the ladder to get it and secure the bees I miss the last step. Down I went landing like a sack of potatoes but even in the midst of crashing to the ground I am mindful to not spill the bees! The container landed with a thump which did incite a bee riot and after managing to contain what was left took inventory if any bones were broken. In the background I am hearing my daughter still singing her unrepeatable lyrics about being stung on the foot and other places. This is not the time to say I told you so.

Now to put the girls into their new home! All went smoothly compared to what had happened only minutes before and I was able to take a deep breath and relax a bit. By now my daughter had stopped her song and had gone back into the house. I walked back over to the apple tree to see how many stragglers there were and to my surprise there was still a good sized ball of bees on that branch. Being the brave person I am I went back into the house to ask my daughter if she would help me one more time and to my surprise she agreed. So back up on the ladder I went and the bees fell into the box without incident and I managed to get off the ladder without missing the last step. That last step is a very important one!

Back to the nuc I go and rather than dump these stragglers into the hive I decide to tilt the box and prop it so they can just march into the hive. Now being a first year beekeeper I am still learning about bee behavior and did not notice that the bees that had been put into the hive first were climbing all over the outside, flying around, doing some sort of waggle dance and seemed to be at unrest. I propped the box up, lid to one side and wait to see the march of the bees go into the hive. Hmm, it isn't happening. Quite the contrary. They are all facing south while the hive is west. They are fanning their wings and just standing in place like little soldiers. And the roaring! How could such small creatures make such a big noise? What unusual behavior! And then, I saw Her. The Queen. She was amongst the stragglers! Oh no! What if she flies away?

Of course the lid was not where it was convenient and I had to reach for it and try to get it on the container again before the Queen decided a plastic box was not a good place to be. I managed to lock her in, remove the outer cover of the nuc and take out a few frames and then after spraying everyone in the box with a light mist of sugar water I added the queen and her escorts into the nuc.

Four hours later all is calm.....so far. The bees are setting up home in their new dwelling, sugar syrup is available for them, I have showered and am enjoying a cold beer. I am done for the day though it is only 3:00pm. All is well......except for a sore backside from falling off the ladder. It will be better tomorrow or maybe after I finish this cold one!

Happy beekeeping to all!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. I'm sure that as time goes on I'll have more of them. Somehow I manage to find the humor in even the most difficult situation which makes dealing with it easier. Life is too short to dwell on the negative.
 

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This is when a camera running would have been great for us and to show your daughter every time she wanted to go work the bees without more protection.

now send those swarms north.. you guys down there have had enough fun :p
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Today I talked her into wearing at least a jacket with veil the next time I need her help so I will order one for her. Htopefully your weather will warm up soon so you can join in on the "fun"! I'm about funned out!
 

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You might want to try selling a few cuttings from that dwarf "swarm magnet"
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The swarm magnet seems to be in the perfect place for the bees to gather. It's about 35' from the hives, just the right distance for an out of shape queen to settle on. The tree never has eatable apples due to cedar rust and I almost cut it down early this year. I sure am glad that I didn't! I've had 6 swarms this year plus one that got away. Next year I'll be ready and will do whatever needs to be done to prevent this from happening again. Chalk it up to inexperience but I'm learning fast!
 
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