Monday, 31 October 2011

Our First Swarm!!

In our part of New Zealand, November signals the beginning of SWARM SEASON.  I've put that in capital letters because it is so darn exciting.  Until this weekend I've only dreamt of swarms.  Good dreams I mean, of catching a large, healthy one.  I've put bait boxes and queen pheromones out last year and this and so far nothing.  Until that is on Saturday afternoon when a friend rang to say he had a swarm of bees in his backyard and did I want them?  We very nearly got a speeding ticket getting there.  In my excitement (and panic) that they might move on before we got there, I forgot my camera!  So when we arrived there were two separate groups of bees in the same tree, each about the size of a soccer ball.  I  cut a branch off the tree and put that into the bee box we had set up.  Alot of them reconfigured back on the same branch.  Gees I didn't get the queen.  The swarm will always follow the scent of the queen.  So I decided with Ella's help to put a large plastic container under the swarming mass and bang the branch.  They all fell in, I poured the contents into the hive and immediately they all settled down.  They had found their queen and were quite content to stay in the box.  Phew, what an exciting way to spend a Saturday afternoon!!  Ella was such a big help.  Tony did very well helping me lift them onto and off the truck especially for someone phobic about bees, he was amazing!.  We went back later that evening, brought them home and now they reside here, back in my wonderful Warre hive that Tony built for my birthday last year.....

Welcome home bees!

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