Green Lizard's Blog

The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.

Never a dull moment…. What’s buzzing?

Are you busy In half an hour?
A simple phone call on a Sunday afternoon.

There’s a swarm along the road!

We got our bee jackets and a giant straw bee catcher.

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The address was literally five minutes from our own house.

There in a tree, a huge clump of bees and thousands in the air.

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The bees were higher than swarms we’ve seen so far. (There have been three this week so far.)

So a little ingenuity was called for. After a few minutes with tape, and the pole of a long arm loper we were ready.

The bees were not.

They’d gone!

On further inspection the swarm had shifted and was now plastered all over another tree.

Albeit less far from the ground, the new location presented other challenges.

Rather than a classic yogi bear style clump of bees hanging in a tree, the splattered effect of this swarm was going to make it very hard to collect.

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As you can see there were four bee hives below the swarm. They hadn’t travelled far.

More tape and ingenuity later a collection method was devised. We baited the hive catcher with a special scent. A home made tincture of dead queen bees that we concocted last week.

It seemed to be working but slowly. So the next action was to help the bees into the basket.

Does my bum look big in this?

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(Technically that was me taking the photo! Whilst holding the ladder!)

At this point it was raining bees, I was covered in bees, it was bee soup!

We swept the bees in in large numbers, around four kilos at this point.

The aim is to transfer the queen into a container. When the bees pick up her scent they will follow. The bees that have found her turn their tails towards the outside of the container and use their wings to fan the scent towards the rest of the swarm. The others then transfer into one large location.

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The swarm basket is left to allow stray bees to join the colony again.

After this we transferred the bees into a hive box. They should settle in nicely!

What a crazy Sunday!

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23 comments on “Never a dull moment…. What’s buzzing?

  1. Expat Eye
    May 5, 2014

    That’s amazing! You’re so brave as well! Interesting how the bees find the queen – I’m always learning something from you! 🙂

    Like

    • lizard100
      May 5, 2014

      Brave or stupid I reckon! You could compare and contact your recent city break with my shinanigans!

      Like

  2. bmary
    May 5, 2014

    Omg. You have to get videos of this stuff! Did you get stung? I would’ve probably fell off the ladder and got stung 100000000 times or something. The bee posts are fascinating! Keep ’em coming!

    Like

    • lizard100
      May 5, 2014

      Cool. You shouldn’t get stung. Technically the belly of the swarming bee is full of honey so just like us after a big meal they can’t bend their take properly to sting. Having said that I got a tiny sting on my shoulder but I hardly felt it. I brushed a bee with my hand accidentally! Glad you liked it!

      Like

      • bmary
        May 5, 2014

        Huh. I did not know that! Well that makes me feel better!

        Like

      • lizard100
        May 5, 2014

        It is possible to put your hand in a swarm and not get stung for this reason but I don’t recommend it!

        Like

      • bmary
        May 5, 2014

        Crazy!

        Like

  3. silverbells2012
    May 5, 2014

    Crazy Sunday indeed! Intetesting to learn the way to ‘catch’ a swarm of bees is to capture the queen.

    Like

    • lizard100
      May 5, 2014

      That’s the thing. They go where she goes. Then bums in the air to share her scent.

      Like

  4. lindaswildlifegarden
    May 5, 2014

    Reblogged this on Linda's wildlife garden and commented:
    Lovely post we drove through a swam of bees yesterday

    Like

  5. litadoolan
    May 5, 2014

    This sounds such an adventure, I love the line ‘it was raining bees, I was covered in bees, it was bee soup!’, so visual! Thanks for sharing the knowledge, these insects are amazing. I’m going to keep up with the bees via your website.

    Like

    • lizard100
      May 5, 2014

      Thank you very much. I don’t always remember to use my words well but that’s supposed to be a reason for blogging too!

      Like

      • litadoolan
        May 6, 2014

        Your words rock! I know that bee keeping is a serious business but your post made me smile and it’s super entertaining the way you tell it. It’s like we are there with you both. I hadn’t realised what an art there is to keeping bees. Honey will taste much sweeter now. I bet your stock of honey is delicous!

        Like

      • lizard100
        May 6, 2014

        Thanks very much! I’m truly flattered. The honey has been good but we still gave small supplies due to the bad weather last year. This weekend we’ll be spinning our first spring honey. That’ll be exciting!

        Like

      • litadoolan
        May 8, 2014

        Maybe if is a small supply it is even sweeter! Here’s to a good harvest 🙂

        Like

  6. solarbeez
    May 6, 2014

    Wow, you’re doing that without a bee suit, on a ladder? You’re much braver than I am. I know they are not supposed to sting, but on two occasions they DID sting. I’m bad enough on a ladder without flailing around trying to dodge stings. Bee careful!

    Like

    • lizard100
      May 6, 2014

      We has bee jackets with hoods though! And gloves so we were covered!

      Like

  7. lizard100
    May 8, 2014

    Hey Lita I hope the supply will be good. It’s very much like single malt.

    Like

  8. Rambling Woods
    May 9, 2014

    Oh wow… I didn’t know any of this so very interesting…. Michelle

    Like

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