Saturday, May 23, 2015


"Daddy, there is a bunch of bees in the Mulberry tree!"

That is what my worried apiariella ran to tell me as I was firing up the smoker to inspect the Josephium.  And there they were. The swarm was smaller than I was expecting, about the same size as a package of bees, maybe a bit smaller. They were hanging onto a low hanging branch; they were about seven feet off the ground, while the tip of the branch came down to three feet.  The apiariella, apiariulus, and I observed some very vigorous dancing on the part of some of the scouts lobbying hard for their favored locations. So energetically were they dancing, that they danced some of their sisters right off the bivouac. I fetched our new hive and positioned it under them. Brenda came out to reposition the hive as needed as I pulled the branch lower. When the bivouac was about four feet off the ground, and right in my face, I gave them one hard jerk, and off they came, right into the hive. The apiariulus caught the whole thing on camera, we hope.

We closed up the hive and let them settle in. After twenty minutes or so they were mostly in the hive, so we definitely got their queen. A few hours later, I went out and added six frames, a feeder pail, and an attic. When I first lifted the inner cover, most of the bees were stuck to it. For some reason, I was not expecting that. I tried holding it with one hand while gently positioning frames with the other, and I wound up dropping it. Yikes! Fortunately, the queen seems to have survived, since the bees went back into the hive in the minutes that followed.

We now have our third hive, dedicated to Saint Ambrose.

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