Bee Page

Rescuing a swarm of bees

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When a colony of bees become overcrowded half of the colony and there Queen leave in search of new quarters. After flying a short distance they will stop to rest on a branch.

(shown above) They will appear to be a cluster of bees about the size of a volleyball. A typical swarm is shown above. You can be sure the Queen is safely tucked in the middle somewhere.

If you see a swarm like this, call a beekeeper or 911 or a fire department or police department. They will relay the call to a beekeeper who can respond to capture the swarm of bees.

When I get a call, I respond with my equipment and perhaps also a ladder. My technique is humane and causes no pain to the bees. First I spray the swarm with sugar water which discourages them from flying. Then I use a soft brush to sweep the bees off the branch and into a ventilated box. I take this box full of bees home and install them in a brand-new hive.

I now have a new colony of bees who will safely and happily live in my bee yard, pollinating flowers and producing honey. Meanwhile the bees that were left behind rear a new Queen and proceed with life as usual. The net result is that the world now has two colonies of bees when it used to only have one.

The favorite swarm tree.

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 If possible, enlarge this picture until you can see a bee on a purple Sage Bush. On the high desert of New Mexico the purple Sage looms in August. While there may be other blossoms my girls like better, they go wild when the purple Sage comes into bloom. Most of the sage bushes are about three quarters of a mile from my house. When my wife and I run or walk on the desert, we hear the bees buzzing in the bushes and if we stop to look we can see them at work. This is one of my bees busy on a purple Sage Bush. The purple Sage flowers have a bright orange pollen. I know my bees are working the purple Sage because I can watch them coming back to the hive. If I watch the hives closely I see bees landing at the entrance with their pollen baskets full of bright orange pollen. No other flower seems to have quite this color pollen.
The honey produced by my bees as an unusual tangy taste. I suspect that the purple Sage connector is to this special flavor in my honey.

My girls hard at work

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  If possible, enlarge this picture until you can see a bee on a purple Sage Bush. On the high desert of New Mexico the purple Sage looms in August. While there may be other blossoms my girls like bettber, they go wild when the purple Sage comes into bloom. Most of the sage bushes are about three quarters of a mile from my house. When my wife and I run or walk on the desert, we hear the bees buzzing in the bushes and if we stop to look we can see them at work. This is one of my bees busy on a purple Sage Bush. The purple Sage flowers have a bright orange pollen. I know my bees are working the purple Sage because I can watch them coming back to the hive. If I watch the hives closely I see bees landing at the entrance with their pollen baskets full of bright orange pollen. No other flower seems to have quite this color pollen. The honey produced by my bees as an unusual tangy taste. I suspect that the purple Sage connector is to this special flavor in my honey. 

Prevent bee invasion

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 A see invasion is when a swarm of bees moves into a hollow space in your house wall such as studs. A bee invasion is very inconvenient,an is expensive to have the bees removed or exterminated.

One way to preventa bee invasion is to install a swarm trap as shown above. While a swarm is resting on a tree branch, a group of scouts are looking for a place to relocate.When the scout bee sees a swarm trap, it returns to the rest of the swarm with tareport that it has found a nice little  furnished bee condominium for them to move into. The swarm will then fly to the trap and move in. The trap was designed to look like the ideal place to build a new hive.

If you enlarge the picture enough, you will see bees around the entrance of the swarm trap. They are busy moving in. After the bees of moved into the swarm trap, I take the swarm trap down from the tree or post and carry it back home. There I transferred the bees from the trap into a beehive where they become a productive hive in my bee yard.

The cost of leasing a swarm trap is much less than the cost of removing the bees from your house.

Beekeepers are encouraged to contact me for information about building and policing swarm traps. You can collect a lease fee and keep all the bees that you trap.

A windy day

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 The picture is the backside of a swarm trap I had mounted on a pole in the railyard. Bees can fly 40 miles an hour. On this particular day the wind was gusting very strongly an a swarm and a swarm of bees tried to fly to my swarm box. As you can see, some of the members of the swarm got swept past the box by the wind, but were able to struggle into the lee of the trap.

I had an interesting afternoon. First I taped a  large garbage bag around swarm trap and swept as many bees as possible into that garbage bag. Then I removed the trap with the garbage bag and transported back to my home.

I was able to install all the bees into a new beehive, and it became one of my better hives.

I am sharing this photo with you because it is somewhat of an oddity, but it does show the attraction of the swarm trap, and also shows how bees can cope with the wind.

A favorite flower

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It is hard to say which flower is the favorite flower for a bee but a contender is the prickly pear cactus. The flower of the prickly pear looks like a little yellow cup filled with pollen, or rather to a bees eyes it must look like a swimming pool full of pollen. To reach the nectar, the bee must move through the sea of pollen and back. In fact it looks like they are swimming in the pollen, and they must enjoy it because they take their time thrashing around in the pollen.

Each bee has a furry coat the traps pollen. On the bees hindlegs are longhairs that we call the pollen basket. When the bee emerges from the pollen, it combs the pollen out of its coat and into the pollen baskets. This enables the bee to carry the pollen back to the hive where it is stored as a high protein food for the larvae.