My Dad comes to check on our bee progress from the safety of his car. He offers some sting kill that my Mom wanted him to bring to us. My Dad is very afraid of bee’s so I’m sure he had his foot poised on the gas peddle in case the bees got out of hand.
Lee – I think our swarm capture went pretty well, all things considered. We definitely learned a few things. First, when the book says that swarms are “relatively gentle” compared to a normal hive, it’s like saying that Black Bears are “relatively gentle” compared to Grizzly Bears. When you knock 10,000 bees off a branch and into a box, a few of them are going to be angry. I got stung 7 times during that little operation. Fortunately, I didn’t go into anaphylactic shock when stung, and I didn’t even have any welts by the next day.
Second, collecting a swarm is art, not science. My in-law’s kept asking, “Do you think you got the queen yet?” I dunno. She’s only slightly larger than a worker. There’s no way to tell. She might have been captured in the first group, she might have been caught when I brushed the stragglers into a box and dumped them in front of the hive box, she might have been crushed when I put the lid on, or later that night when I slid in the missing frames. There is no way to know. In two weeks, we’ll smoke the hive and open it up. If we find comb and brood, that’s a good sign there is also a queen. If there is no brood, or if they all fly away, we probably lost her. As with most things, attempting something is no guarantee of success.
Third, bees are pretty forgiving. We knocked and brushed them into a box, duct taped it closed, hauled them 30 miles in a car, pestered them in the dark to add frames, and then filled the hive top feeder with 1:1 sugar syrup to get them started. Today, there were bees flying in and out as if nothing happened. Perhaps they forgave us. Perhaps we have the queen. Perhaps they will stay.