Bee swarms! Here’s what the sky looked like yesterday at our farm. I was working in the greenhouse and heard the swarm song. I dashed over just as they started to pour out of the most westerly hive in my bee house. Thousands of bees in the air and then the swarm SPLIT in two groups. Half the bees landed in the rose hips, the other half landed on a goumi bush about 20 feet further. We easily moved both bee swarms into two open top bar hives I had ready.
Moving the bee swarms
I dropped the rose bees into their new hive. 100 bees stayed outside on the hive roof, scenting the air to show everyone outside where the entrance was. I looked where they’d just been and saw 50 bees still on the branch.
I used a turkey feather to gently scoop them up and remove them from the branch, then I laid the feather on top next to the hive opening so they could walk in. The first two bees I moved this way, one was the Queen! Took her a half second to scoot inside and as soon as she did that, 95 bees tucked down their scent glands and rushed inside on her heels. Immediately the bees still on the branch climbed down. In a straight line, they went right in the opening, too. This hive really loves their Queen! We moved the hive up to the east pasture where we had a covered area ready.
Then we came back and scooped the second swarm into a hive. That Queen was first in a small cluster on a branch, and then her little group walked down the branch and joined the larger cluster to move into the hive. I watched every minute of this swarm, from them coming out of the old hive to putting each of them into their new hive. I hear beekeepers all the time saying only one queen at a time, but there it was, two queens left in the same swarm, split in the air, and became two complete colonies.
Two swarms in 40 minutes. I’m pretty sure that’s the fastest double swarm catching I’ve ever done!