Swarm Capture – Barham – May 2014

I got the call this week that there was a swarm of bees flying madly in my parent’s garden. Dad, being well trained, tried to spot where they settled but lost track of them.

Some sleuthing ensued and after an hour they were eventually found, 20ft off the ground in a tangle of branches. Talk about a challenging position!

They were out of reach of ladders, there was nothing firm nearby to even lean a ladder on, and the tangle of growth beneath made access even harder. We eventually worked out a way to make it all work – pruning back some trees, removing a couple of large branches from another and eventually slinging a rope around the end of the branch with the swarm. We were able to pull the branch down within range of a ladder and the  bees we safely dropped into a bucket.

They were transfered into a waiting box and left to sort themselves out.

The following morning

The bees had reformed their cluster on the outside of the box, but this time they were tangled with ivy and branches from the ground. I scooped the back in to the box, but there were lots of stragglers still congregating outside. Half an hour later I scooped more bees in.

When I checked later they had all retreated into the hive body, so the queen must have been back inside again.

Fingers crossed they are here to stay now.

The bees themselves are lovely – small bodied, dark, and from a feral colony in the roof which had been living there for at least ten years – great survivor bees!


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