Tag Archives: Swarms

How to catch a bee swarm (with photos!)

13 May

Swarm season is raging in Albuquerque! In the past 3 weeks, we’ve captured 7 swarms some of which (she says blushingly) were our own.

If you’ve ever wondered how to catch a swarm or wanted to learn more, here’s a quick photo essay documenting the process.

Step 1: Prepare their new home

First, prep the girls’ new home if you have the luxury of doing so (if not, they can stay in the cardboard box for an hour or so). In our case, we’re combining today’s swarm with a small colony from earlier this spring. We’ll separate the two boxes with a sheet of newspaper allowing the girls to slowly become acquainted. We’ll also provide a top entrance for the new box filled with swarm bees.

Step 2:  Transfer the swarm to a cardboard box

Next, we grabbed two ladders. I’m holding a cardboard box (any box will do) while Alex shakes the bees from the limb into the box. Really, it was that easy. Once most of the bees are inside, we closed the box part way and carried it over to the new hive.
Swarm Capture

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How to report a swarm in Albuquerque

20 Apr

This is what a honeybee swarm looks like

April and May are swarm season in Albuquerque, New Mexico. If you happen to encounter a swarm in your yard or neighborhood, please give a quick call to local beekeepers who can come pick up the wayward girls.

Help! I need to report a swarm in Albuquerque

The 2010 Albuquerque Swarm List

4 Mar

Local beeks are about to be deluged. My girls are carrying pollen by the basketfuls and the nectar flow is just weeks away.

If you, like me, are in need of free bees or want to help with the local swarm pick-up team, add your name: Who Wants to be on the 2010 Swarm List?

The Day of the Swarm

30 Jun

This beekeeping thing is endlessly cryptic.

Take yesterday, for example, when bees from the Ann Hive swarmed TWICE and yet due to a clipped queen, remain stuck in our backyard.

Alex tells the dramatic tale of exodus and return…

Reflections on a Swarm

26 Apr

I dreamt of bees last night, like curious stars filling my sky.

They danced, those randy fire twirlers, and blocked my light with their own exuberance. Ten thousand bees hurled themselves like unshackled inmates from the hive into the sky above, blue and capacious.

Oblivious to me, they tumbled and bounced and chattered, colliding after some minutes into a mass of vibrating heat.

Now, they hang heavy from a single, dry twig. While I stand motionless as in a pool of warm mud.

Photo of Swarm vs. Supercedure Cells

20 Apr

How can you tell the difference between a swarm cell and a supercedure cell? 

As a new beekeeper with energetic girls, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to learn the difference. Now predicting what happens when a hive starts building these cells is anyone’s guess…. but here’s what look like and where you can find ’em on the comb.

In a Top Bar Hive:

  • Swarm cells are typically built on the edge, side, or bottom of a comb.
  • Supercedure cells are typically built smack in the middle of the comb.
2 capped swarm cells, built on the edge of the comb

2 capped swarm cells, built on the edge of the comb

Queen cup (left) and capped supercedure cell (right), both built in the middle of the comb.

Queen cup (left) and capped supercedure cell (right), both built in the middle of the comb.

In a Langstroth Hive:

Things are slightly different in a Langstroth hive, but here’s a useful discussion indicating that in a Langstroth:

Swarming Action?

9 Mar

Le bons temps roulant unseasonably early this year and my new girls have issued a license to swarm.

Here’s the scene at the Kerry hive around midday yesterday:

We opened the hive yesterday for the first time since Bill closed ’em up last Fall and removed some honey to curb their enthusiasm for swarming. Perhaps that wee bit o robbing and some rain today will check their wayward inclinations.