On The Farm

Swarm Season 2016

I’ve been wanting to write about honey bee swarms for a while now, but thought I should wait until the end of swarm season so I could include our stats! Swarming is the natural means of reproduction in honey bee colonies.  This is when a honey bee colony produces another queen and splits in two.  Half the bees leave with the old queen and find a new home.  The other half stays with the new queen in the original colony.  Swarms can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees.  Swarming is typically a spring event.  No need to be afraid if you see a swarm of honey bees.  They are generally at their LEAST dangerous in a swarm state.  Just give us a call and we will relocate them.

We took 8 swarm calls and 5 hive relocation calls this spring beginning on April 15th through the end of June.  What is the difference you ask?  A swarm of bees is simply “resting” on a branch while scout bees look for a new home.  Hive relocation is when they’ve decided on a home, moved in, and started building comb.  Hive relocation is a much more difficult and labor intensive process than swarm capture, and it’s not always successful.


5 SWARMS were brought to Aunt Bea’s Apiary. (now established hives)

3 HIVES were relocated to Aunt Bea’s Apiary. (1 cut from a tree, 2 from buildings)

2  SWARMS were left with homeowners so they could become beekeepers…Yay!

1 SWARM got away.

2 HIVES were destroyed by the homeowners as they did not want their siding removed. (believe me, we tried desperately to talk them out of it)

It was an incredible, busy, and exhausting spring for us!  We are grateful for all the knowledge and experience we gained and all the new hives brought home to Aunt Bea’s!  Enjoy a couple of photos from swarm season 2016 with some brief descriptions under each pic.

This was our very first swarm capture of the season.  The swarm was actually moving into a porch post when it all started.  After trying to find the queen and coax the bees into our box, they decided to move to this bush.  We finally got the queen in the box and all the bees followed.  Fast forward 2 months, and this hive is doing great!  We normally don’t count on honey from first year hives, but I think this one will have an abundance.

Swarm capture near the stoplight in downtown Auburn.  Our son, Jack, helped with this one!  We ended up making the Nemaha County Herald!

Great looking swarm!  This is right before we climbed up and shook them into our prepared bee box. We don’t have a lot of fancy equipment, but that’s okay.  The bees seem to like our old boxes all the same.

Luckily the swarm wasn’t too high up and we were able to get to it with a regular ladder.  This hive is also doing quite well back at Aunt Bea’s Apiary!

Danny and I shook this swarm into a bucket.  We actually ended up dropping the bucket, but thankfully the swarm recollected on the same branch (the queen was probably still there) and we got a second chance.  Phew!

This swarm was kept by the homeowner.  They borrowed some equipment while they ordered their own.  We helped them transfer the bees to their new bee boxes.  Fun times!

Here is an example of an established hive (not a swarm).  They’ve already moved into the tree and started building comb.  The queen was laying eggs and they were collecting nectar to make honey.  We moved this hive due to the homeowner having an allergy to bee stings.

Established hive removal from the siding of a house.  This can be a long and time consuming process, but thankfully we were successful in finding the queen and relocating the hive.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to see what we’ve been up to the past few months!




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