Seriously. Not again!?

Pansy swarmed AGAIN.  This time I got pictures.

I heard the roaring sound again and looked out.  Pansy?!! What’s it been, five days?  Since a giant contingent of the bees just departed from Pansy, I had a hard time even believing what I was seeing, although, a swarm is pretty unmistakable.  Not possible.  There aren’t enough bees left to split again.  There were.

I was completely expecting Violet to swarm.   Violet hive is huge and strong. Both V and P were full of queen cells when I checked them, so I’m sort of hoping for a Violet swarm, but who knows, maybe they needed to requeen.

I was planning to do other things, but I had a swarm to rehome, so I did that instead.  I got my outfit on, and  set up a box to put them in.

They were so good to me.  They balled up at knee level on a branch I could snip, right next to the hive yard.  What a relief, and change of pace. Look how easy they’ll be to move!  A very small bee ball, but there is also a pile of bees on the ground, almost as many, and still many in the air at this point.After my first snip dislodged a clump of bees from the hanging ball, I got  a box.  Not too helpful.  I placed a stick as a ladder, hoping the ground bees would go up and rejoin.  They didn’t.I snipped the main ball off, walked it over to the box,and in they go.I went back to collect the pool of bees on the ground.

I picked up the loose twigs one at a time and knocked them into my box, which really just made them airborne again.  Unfortunately, they were piled up centralized on a big dirty root ball.  I thought, can I just pull that whole root ball out? Yahoo, I could.  However, have you ever tried to yank a root out of the ground smoothly?  Doesn’t happen.

I put the root by the hive box and took a break to wait for them all to walk inside, with a helpful twig ladder. I come back out.

The root ball is completely clean of bees, cool.  But what’s this?Bees have regrouped on the next branch over!

Repeat: snip, carry, deposit bees in the box. (this is bee shipment #3)There is still a big pool of bees on the ground.This time they are wrapping around a larger piece of wood.

Around this time I notice that there seem to be more bees outside the hive than inside.  They are walking out and walking all over the outside of the hive.  The sticks inside the box are clean of bees, so I can clean up in there.Now the bees are pooling on the ground where the root ball was, and I can’t imagine why this spot is so interesting.  I get the big branch with the bees on it on the box, and then start scooping bees by hand.  Let no bee be left behind.  Then I bring bee shipment #4 to the hive.  Turns out there are many more bees involved here than it originally looked like.  Calloo, callay!  They’ve gone back inside!  The tide has reversed and they’ve chosen to stay, at least for the night.   Bees are so neat when they’re swarmed.  Tickly, all vibrating and buzzing, but for a change, they aren’t on the job.  Bees normally are at work, and tolerate your disruption in the hive because they’re just too focused, mostly, until you really get in their way.  Bees in swarm are like they’re on vacation.  Not on any mission at all, relaxed.  Look at the handful of bees, walking off my hand and in the door. At this point it started to rain, like clockwork (2pm before an evening downpour is apparently optimum time to swarm), so I put a big lid on, sheltering the ball of bees in the box at the threshold, and left them to walk in, now that the decision to stay had apparently been made.

Yay!  A new hive!  I’ve barely got enough hive parts now to catch one more swarm, should Violet split as I’ve been expecting.

3 thoughts on “Seriously. Not again!?”

    1. I was taught to respect that the bees know best what to do and to support them but not to impose my will on them, but still I tried a split before. They failed, so, that went badly. Also my first hive requeened FOUR times in a summer before they were content, so I don’t assume any more Q cells mean they’re preparing to swarm. However, I did just split Violet last week! I’ve never seen so many Q cells present at once. So far, the split is ok, but think V might split again on her own. Last year she just stayed in one huge hive (P swarmed last year although smaller). I suspect they’re indicating a long hot summer this year.

      I wouldn’t have dreamed Pansy would split again within a week! Still learning their ways and the meaning of what they do, and would rather err on the side of less interference.

      1. I’m in agreement….I see supercedure cells a lot – and figure if they’ve voted the queen out so be it. Sometimes they just build the cells and take them down – like a redecorating project they changed their minds on. I mostly try and figure out what the bees are trying to tell me and go with it. Need another super? Here you go.
        What I do to split – take four frames of eggs/brood/larvae- (with bees) pop them into a new box with frames of honey etc. Drop an excluder on your parent hive, a super atop that (can’t smell the queen that way) then drop the new crew on top of the super on the parent hive. Return in four days and look for eggs. Eggs present? You know where the queen is. A few days later I move them onto their own base. The queenless hive will raise a new queen. I’ve been fortunate – so far no swarms. Of course now they’ll make a list out of me 😂

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