Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Thursday, 17 June 2010

"A Swarm In June Is Worth A Silver Spoon"

Yesterday I planned to catch my breath from the Bernina Lady's debut and get myself reorganized. However, when the Amherst Police Dept. called around 9:30 a.m. with news of a bee swarm, it appeared life had other plans. My eldest son Patrick is always up for an adventure (thank heavens, as we seem to have lots of them!) so he and I loaded up the bee gear and headed out. The swarm had landed in a tree on Queen Street (now how appropriate is that? Do you suppose the bees read the sign and figured it was a good place to head with Her Highness?) We had no problem finding the right spot, as the homeowner had placed a barricade on the sidewalk. Here's the swarm on the tree:
At first it didn't look like much, but as we worked we discovered that there was a long fissure in the tree and the bees were filling the gap inside the trunk. These are just the fellows left on the outside. Hmmm...now how will we get them out of there? Capturing a swarm takes a bit of creative thinking, as no two are ever alike. Patrick and I conferred and decided that we would set some bait (a honey frame) and try as best we could to gently encourage the bees into the nuc (a small bee hive).
You can see to the left of the tree there is a full frame of honey, and the grey nuc box is just below where I am working. The bee brush has extremely soft bristles and it is important to use a gentle sweeping motion across the bees. You don't want to hurt anybody. I brushed them into my left hand and then shook my hand in the nuc to release the bees.The bees came willingly, and we were no time getting them all gathered up in the nuc. When we checked at suppertime, they were happily playing in their new home. This "bridging" indicates a happy group of bees, so we felt confident we had captured the queen with the swarm even though we hadn't seen her at that point.
We started going through the frames one by one and Patrick spotted her right away. Can you see her?
Look just ahead of my finger. She's a beauty - a rich amber colour.
Patrick acted as photographer on this adventure, and he took great pictures. Thanks, Patrick! Tomorrow we will move these bees to the apiary. They are not a full hive, but by summer's end should be built up enough to overwinter.

12 comments:

  1. This was fascinating! Thank you so much for sharing this story.

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  2. I have to say this is the most interesting quilter's story I've read here. I'm terrified of bees and wasps. My brother was attacked by a hive in the woods years ago and received over 200 stings, sending him into shock. He dove into an alligator infested pond to get away from them. Love the honey, but don't want the bees. Thank goodness you could get them away from that house.

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  3. Absolutely the kewlest post that I have read in a long time. What a great thing that you do here. Thank you so much for the education and marvelous photos. I have thoroughly enjoyed this !

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  4. Wow Karen, never a dull moment!! You saved the day.

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  5. What an interesting story Karen. I am learning so much from your great pictures & stories. You definitely live a very interesting life. Thanks for sharing. Lucy

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  6. Oh my goodness, what an adventure! Amazing! Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Yipee. I'm glad you got them. I'm so impressed!!! I didn't know that a swarm came with their own Queen. I thought they must have been looking for one. Yes I could spot the queen. She looks very different. How interesting. So this is the same swarm that didn't have a home last week, right?

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  8. Don't you love when you have a day all planned out, and nothing happens like you expected? I'm so glad you were able to get this swarm, and I'm sure they'll have a happy home for a long time.

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  9. I love reading about the bees. I'm not a big fan of bees but you make them seem so interesting! Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Interesting that you are the go-to person in Amherst for bee rescues. I expect there is a citizen-of-the-year nomination coming in due course. You've saved both bees and those allergic to their stings, plus all the people who are anxious around the buzzings.

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  11. Bees and Berninas. What an original blog! Glad I found you (or you found me, first, really).

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