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Capturing the impossible swarm

16 Apr

Swarm of bees up in my neighbor's tree

Swarm season is coming on strong in Albuquerque. This week, like an instantaneous bloom, area bees have exploded and spilled into the sky.

For many beeks, this means a free batch of bees to start a new hive. For homeowners it can be frightening.

In my ‘hood, yesterday brought this high-flying swarm perched acrobatically 40 feet up in an old elm tree. Too precarious to snatch, the swarm colony will have to find a home on its own.

We’ve opened up all our empty hives, dabbed ’em with a bit of Honey-B-Healthy, and are waiting patiently in the hopes that the home of their choosing is ours.

UPDATE: It’s three days later and the girls have finally left their perch although we have no idea where they went or if any bees survived the rain and wind that must have made for a harrowing time on the lam.

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8 Responses to “Capturing the impossible swarm”

  1. Gord April 16, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    We had a number of our own swarms get away from us last year, so we’ll be putting bait hives around every yard this year to be safe. It’s frustrating, but it was sure something to see a swarm take off.

  2. mistress beek April 16, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    Hi Gord, thanks for assuaging the beekeeper guilt! Part of me feels I should be scurrying up that tree 😉

  3. karcuri13 April 16, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    What you need is a system of levers and pulleys…

  4. BarbaraL April 17, 2010 at 7:41 pm #

    Gee, you’d think the bees could have been more considerate and settled lower to the ground.

  5. Gene Stillman April 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    Looks like I lost my queen over the winter. I have good honey stores, and about 1000 bees, but just checked the interior of the hive and could not find a queen and no brood in any cells.

    On the lookout for a swarm. Call my cell at 505-980-0057 and I may be able to capture a swarm and get these little friendly ladies a new home. Lots of pollen in the area, and other bees are enjoying my blooming fruit trees.

    Gene Stillman

  6. Gene Stillman April 19, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    I received a call via a Craigslist post. Gentleman at South Coors has a swarm about 20 ft in a cottonwood tree on a “sizeable” branch. I have no ladder to get up that high, but perhaps someone else can help. His number is 873-2785.

    • Russell April 28, 2010 at 9:25 pm #

      Hello, I am new here but I think I can help you. I started keeping bees about 5 years ago in N. Carolina and had my share of swarms in the beginning. Seems that most of them would land on the end of the branches of a BIG cedar tree about 20 or 25 feet up and there was no way to get a ladder to them. I constructed a “gadget” with a 25 ft extendable painters pole, a 5 gallon bucket and lid, and a piece of rope that works like a champ!!! I can now stand on the ground and catch a swarm 25 ft. high. I will send you pics if you like.

  7. mistress beek April 29, 2010 at 10:00 am #

    Hi Russell, ooh I’d love to learn more! If you email me your photos, I’ll do a quick post on your technique, giving you credit.

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