Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Box O' Bees

Image taken by the man who captured the swarm.  Sorta like a baby picture, huh?  :)

We got a call at 6:50 AM this morning from one of my husband's co-workers asking if we would like to have a small swarm of bees that he had collected at the plant yesterday.

"Most certainly!"  I replied.

I woke Ava up early and we hurried to go get them before the day grew to be too hot.  The temps were in the mid-eighties by the time we got home. 

Here they are all boxed up to travel.  Being a power plant, hazard tape is always kept on hand. 
The other side of the tag identified the hazard as "honey bees".

The heat and humidity and the stuffiness of the cardboard box made them quite a bit irritable.  There was a little crack on the side that he left for them to get some air through.  They were trying to poke their heads out and I could hear them chewing at the box, so I taped an onion sack (left in the car from morel hunting season) over the hole for more security before I left with them.  It would have been a LONG drive home otherwise!  ;)  I poked a bunch of holes to give them a little more ventilation.  I tried to drive a little bit slower so they wouldn't be tossed around too much.

Ava went over to visit our neighbor, Mavis, for a little bit.  I suited up and promptly moved them into an empty deep that I had ready and waiting. 

I took a frame of honey off of my other hive (the one that is struggling) and gave it to this new swarm as a "housewarming present" to encourage them not to buzz off.

There was a severe thunderstorm brewing which hit about two hours later.  Both hives were very irritable this morning and I figure that had a lot to do with it.  It was a weird storm that blew in quickly from the opposite direction that our storms normally come from.

The swarm is a rather small one, but I was delighted to get them.  My plan is to combine both hives next week, after the new hive has had a little time to settle in and after I can confirm whether I do or do not have a queen in the other hive (or laying workers, which must be dealt with). 

It was really a huge blessing to get these free bees and now I am back in business!

I think it's special too that they arrived on our 8th wedding anniversary, which as it had worked out, last year's anniversary was also our first honey harvest.  I feel like we are living on an acre of "milk and honey".  (Just gotta get the goats acquired.  Ha.)

Another fortuitous thing that occurred today was that another neighbor stopped by to watch me install the swarm in to their new home.  He said that he hadn't realized before that I kept bees and told me that he knows of five or six hives that have been abandoned, left behind when a relative of his had passed away a couple months ago.  He is going to talk to the man's son to see if he would like me to take the bees off of their hands (assuming they are still alive).

Free bees!  Yay!

I have to say it was a very good day.  I'm super happy with my anniversary "present".  :)

This post is part of Homestead Barn Hop #15 over on The Prairie Homestead.
Go take a look and see what other homesteading folks are up to this week.


  1. Happy Anniversary!!!! and congrats on your new crew ;0) I have to admit that I know absolutely nothing about beekeeping, but it is very interesting to me and I enjoy reading your posts about it! Maybe one day I will be adventurous to try... I can help you with goats, and you can help me with bees!! LOL!!!!

  2. Thanks! Hey, I think that sounds like a plan! ;)