Honeybees and Return of Cold Weather

Here it is the end of April, one week cold & wet, next week hot and short sleeves. Imagine if you can how this can mess with nature. Our hive that came in wild last summer has thrived well through the winter and as soon as the dandelions bloomed, they had their first swarm.

It was quite a large swarm and didn’t hang around very long. We wouldn’t have been able to catch it due to the landing in a large tree.

This week we had a 70-degree day, dandelions were blooming again, and we had another swarm. Apparently, the queen came out a little too soon and wasn’t able to fly well enough to swarm off and her swarm landed on the new hay tedder in front of the hive.

Unexpected swarm loves the new farm equipment. The brown spot on the ground is thousands of honeybees.
Mr. Caldwell suited up and put the swarm box in front of the bees. First, he set a flat piece of board in the grass in front of the bees and had the swarm box sitting at one end of the board.
From here you can tell the swarm trap was not near large enough to house all those bees. The hole to enter the hive was about the size of a nickle and Eddie decided to do something different.
Knowing the swarm trap wasn’t going to work he got busy cleaning up an old hive and placing new comb inside for them to have the amount of room they desperately needed.
He picked up the swarm trap and held it over the open hive body and tapped it hard into the hive. All of the bees on the front of the trap dropped as a group into the hive. He then placed the hive body on the edge of the board along with a thin strip for the bees to use as a step into the hive and not go under the hive.
Those bees started marching into that hive as quickly as they could. It took almost two hours. The strips on top of the hive were used to stop the honeybees from going under the hive box. Wednesday was a very busy day, and we now have a new hive that seems to be staying in their new home.

On Saturday we had a repeat of Wednesday but this time something went very wrong. The bees swarmed and apparently something happened to this new queen. The swarmed landed about six feet from the last but was widely scattered in the grass. They seemed lost and not able to find the queen. We watched for about an hour and the workers all went back in the hive. Eddie said that being a young queen her wings might not have been developed well enough to fly any distance or the queen left in the older hive sometimes will kill the new queen to keep her workers with her. I can believe this may have happened since the hive had just swarmed two days before.

This was a good thing because we are out of hives. The rainy weather and the cooler temps we hope will prevent another swarm. It’s crazy that they raised another queen so fast, and Eddie is thinking there may be more queen’s ready to hatch. We will see!!!

This is where he smoked the bees out of the grass onto the board with the hive on Wednesday.

Cooler weather coming this week so stay warm and stay busy!!!

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