On swarms and divisions.
It is early May and the weather is warmer and the bees are becoming active. I have completed 4 splits to make new queens, and increase my number of colonies. I usually try to avoid swarms but they are natural and simply happen despite the beekeeper’s wishes. This is a debate many beekeepers discuss endlessly. Whatever one’s opinion – the inevitable happens.
On 6 May, I was mowing the grass around the trees in my orchard . At first I did not notice the black ball! I just thought there were “a few too many bees on a tree with no blossom”. Then I saw it…
Preparations were needed also to place a small hive, “nuc” in English and “ruchette” in French, directly under the swarm.
Then a brisk bash of the branch and most of them fell off the branch and into the hive. Quite a lot of buzzing happened at that stage. However, bees in swarm mode are not at all aggressive.
Then, the magic happens as the bees all slowly and surely go inside the hive. The humble beekeeper (aka, me) looks on with awe. He deduces (correctly) that the Queen is in her new home and all her little ladies simply follow her in.
As the bees get into their new home on goes the lid!
The video below shows that the bees are flapping wings and lower body in the air indicating to the other bees outside that the queen is in there and inviting the rest to come in. The whole process is a wondrous thing to see.
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