Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Nature Is Not My Friend

Unseasonable weather started in February. Days were mild like spring, and I welcomed them because the bees were able to take cleansing flights. By March Mother Nature appeared to be quite confused. It rained and rained like April had arrived. The rain brought warm temps and the weather forecast showed no signs of things cooling off. Near the end of the month I took advantage of the warm temps and reversed the boxes on the hive. Two weeks later below average temps moved in and I had to wait an extra week to reverse the boxes back. Darn you Weather Channel! Of course the bees were unhappy with their current box positions and swarmed.

The bad luck when a hive swarms is a smaller honey production, if any, and half the bees just left the hive. The good luck is I decided to walk near the hive when this happened. Imagine it's a beautiful Sunday afternoon. It's late in the day and the sun is shining. It's the day after Lynn and I completed a Spartan Race with our buddy Michelle. I'm lurching about the house in my pajamas while my muscles protest each step. I consider some outside time may make me feel better. I convinced Lynn it was a good idea and out the door we went, me still in my pajamas. Yes I meander around outdoors in my pajamas more frequently then you might imagine. Thankfully I live in the country, and was not walking down a city sidewalk in polka dot fleece. When nearing the hive I saw the swarm a couple feet off the ground and 20ft from their old home. The swarm is hanging from a branch all the way to the ground.

We are Spartans!

Now I'm a frantic woman running around the yard in polka dot fleece, and non-matching green polka dot rain boots. I do hope neighbors don't drive by at moments like that. Oh it hurts to run, but I have to run because the bees are actively searching for their new home and they won't be staying around more than a couple hours. Not knowing how long they've been there I rushed to get pieces for a new hive together and in place. It's a mix of what do I do, where did I put that, throwing items at Lynn, and lots of repeating oh crap.

Equipment gathered - check
More appropriately clothed for bee collection - check
Lynn loaded like a Sherpa - check
Forgot stuff anyway - check
I have no idea what to do when I get back to the swarm - check

After placing the branch in the hive.

I cut the branch the swarm landed on and placed it in their new hive with a couple frames inside. I shook most of the bees off the branch, and brushed the remainder in. After the branch was out I put in the remaining frames. The hive was on the ground, and the bees on the ground started marching inside. After the marching was over we placed the hive on a stand in the same area. All of that sounds like I got my wits about me and the process went smoothly. That is misleading. There was a lot of asking what should I do now while constantly and loudly reminding Lynn to get back he might get stung. He likes to remind me he was wearing a full bee suit. I just reassure him it was because I love him so much and worry since he's allergic! This was the first swarm we'd seen in person or caught. It was exciting. Next time will go smoother, and we hope we get to do this again.

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