Big swarm catch…

I got a call this morning to a massive swarm. I’ve got used to minimising expectations when going to jobs, but the homeowner was right – this swarm was a beast.

They had turned up during a kid’s birthday party and camped out on their trampoline.

trampolineswarm1

 

In this photo only a third of the bees are visible, even more are hanging on the underside of the trampoline in huge clusters, and there were lots of bees flying in the area.

trampolineswarm2The best way to get a swarm, if they are conveniently located on tree branch or similar is to cut or shake them over the hive box. They drop on mass. Here I had to sweep them into the box with my hands, getting them pretty riled up.

I got around three quarters of them boxed, but the rest were flying like mad and resettling in clumps. 30 minutes later I repeated the process, sweeping more clumps into the box.trampolineswarm4

With the majority of the bees caught it was time to use the bees own instincts to finish the job. Bees are strongly attracted to the pheromones given off by the queen. I left the box slightly open and placed it on the trampoline a short distance away. Almost immediately the bees started marching towards the box, a really good indication that the queen was caught.

trampolineswarm6At this point all that is left is to wait until dusk when the remaining flying bees settle down. At that point I will seal up the box again and take them away.

It is hard to say how many bees there are, but I’ll weight the box later to get an idea. It felt pretty heavy!

These guys will be going into my new kenyan style top bar hive.

Update – 10pm

I picked up the swarm earlier this evening. They were pretty much all tucked up for the night, with just a few flying bees still coming in. We weighed them at home, and they came to 2.4kg – around 20,000 bees!!

They will be transferred to their new home in daylight tomorrow.

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