If you build it, they will come

This weekend I experienced what I can only describe as simply AMAZING. Just after 1:00 pm I put our two kids down for a nap. When I walked out of the house, I heard what sounded like a jet plane taking off directly over my head. What I saw next absolutely stunned me: a honey bee swarm in our vegetable garden.

Almost instantly, my beekeeping instincts kicked into gear. I wanted to catch that swarm and I raced to tell both my husband and our daughter. We suited up and prepared to catch our newest farm family members before they decided to leave for somewhere else. 

 Honey bees swarm for a few reasons, but in essence half of the population of the mother hive leaves with the old queen to establish a new hive. When the bees leave the mother hive, they gorge themselves with honey in anticipation that it may take them some time to find a new home. Because of this, they are fairly docile and don't tend to sting. The swarm lands wherever the queen is and they cluster on top of her to protect her and keep her warm. 

   Once we donned our suits and collected our gear, we were ready to capture the swarm. This meant that we placed a "nuc box" directly underneath the cluster and gave them a good shake. The hope of course is to catch as many bees as possible inside of the box and more importantly, the queen. Afterwards, the box was set right near the original swarm location and the remaining bees ideally join the group within a few hours. If we missed the queen and she failed to land in the box, most likely the swarm would take off again.    Once evening fell and the swarm was inside for the night, we moved the box to its new home on the farm. We will keep the bees well fed with sugar syrup for at least a month and hope that they are able to establish residence in their new home.    The entire experience of course was surreal to say the least for all of us. Everything played into our favor on this one. We saw the swarm almost instantly, we had the equipment to catch it, the swarm landed in an ideal location and most importantly we were literally working on the finishing touches of the honey bee foraging garden fence. This truly goes to show, IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME. I am so incredibly thankful to have experienced this!

 

Once we donned our suits and collected our gear, we were ready to capture the swarm. This meant that we placed a "nuc box" directly underneath the cluster and gave them a good shake. The hope of course is to catch as many bees as possible inside of the box and more importantly, the queen. Afterwards, the box was set right near the original swarm location and the remaining bees ideally join the group within a few hours. If we missed the queen and she failed to land in the box, most likely the swarm would take off again. 

 Once evening fell and the swarm was inside for the night, we moved the box to its new home on the farm. We will keep the bees well fed with sugar syrup for at least a month and hope that they are able to establish residence in their new home. 

 The entire experience of course was surreal to say the least for all of us. Everything played into our favor on this one. We saw the swarm almost instantly, we had the equipment to catch it, the swarm landed in an ideal location and most importantly we were literally working on the finishing touches of the honey bee foraging garden fence. This truly goes to show, IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME. I am so incredibly thankful to have experienced this!