The top bar hive was ready and waiting. Isn’t it beautiful. Thank you, Don! I was praying for a swarm. My Father is faithful. Tonight, delivered to my doorstep, well maybe a bit higher then my doorstep, was my swarm! My son noticed the swarm of bees in the tree in front of my house and brought it to my attention. Of course I ran around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, saying, “I prayed and my swarm is here!” My kids of course looked at me like I was nuts, as usual, but then they really got into it. My sweet daughter took pictures as I climbed up the ladder to retrieve the swarm. Have I mentioned that I am a bit scared of heights. I paused at the bottom of the ladder to pray, saying, “Father, thank you so much for delivering the swarm I asked for. It is awfully high, just say’in, but with you by my side we got this, right?”
My sweet sister and brother-in-law stood down at the bottom of the ladder cheering me on. “5 feet to the swarm. Keep your eyes on the swarm. 4 feet to the swarm, you can do this. 3 feet to go.” God has placed some good people around me. I am truly blessed!
Bees swarm when they are looking for a new home or there is a new queen there to take over. The old queen leaves with about half the workers and they clump up on a branch, protecting the queen in the middle. Very generous I think of the monarch to allow the new queen to take over her home, but that is the way God designed it, for the bees survival. They look for a new home that is just right. I am hoping my hive will be just what they are looking for. The trick to capturing a swarm is to make sure you get the queen. Did I get the queen? I couldn’t tell, but time will tell. My bee teacher says that there is a 50/50 chance of them staying, even if I did get the queen. So we will have to wait and see.
You might be wondering how I did it? When bees are swarming they are quiet calm, believe it or not. All it took was a bee suit. NEVER COLLECT A SWARM IN TEXAS WITHOUT A BEE SUIT! In the Southern part of the U.S. we have some African bees, which can be VERY aggressive. So if you see someone on the internet tending bees without a suit, they do not reside in Texas. It would not be brave or bee whispering, it would be dangerous and stupid. A shopping bag with handles was what I used to capture the swarm.
After climbing up the ladder I held the bag under the clump of bees and scraped them off the branch to fall into the bag. Then I took them to my hive and shook them in. Boy, when you see it written like that it sounds so easy. The bees still seemed to be clumping up on the branch of the tree, so I gritted my teeth and went up there a few more times to collect some more, trying to make certain that I got the queen. Another option, if the branch was too high, I could have parked the truck under it with a box on top and shaken the bees off the branch. I am so glad my ladder could reach, because I never like the word shake when bees are concerned.
Now the trick is to entice them into staying a while and making me some honey. Sugar water is just the thing to temp these beautiful insects to make a home out of my hive. I filled a quart jar half full of sugar and filled the rest with warm water to dissolve. I used an old chicken waterer that I had to put down in the hive.
I right away called my bee mentor/teacher and she said I needed to get the hive in it’s permanent
location as soon as possible because the bees will wake up, start flying and orient to the hive’s location. That means that if a worker bee goes out to collect pollen in the morning and I move the hive, that little bee will come back wondering where it’s home is. That means I need to put wine corks in the entrance hole and move this hive to it’s permanent location behind the community garden on the edge of the creek. Bees don’t fly at night, although they do crawl, so we will move the hive tonight under the cover of darkness. Hopefully the bees will wake up, think their new location is fabulous, enjoy the little drink I left them and stay. I will keep you posted. Tonight I am blown away by my Father’s faithfulness and excited about this new beginning!