Remember that time Jack almost died from bee stings to the face earlier this year? Good times. NOT. That hasn’t stopped him from his fascination with bees, especially when they’re FREE.
Jack’s first attempt at luring a free bee swarm to our place was when he stuck an empty beehive in a tree and put in a viol of bee lure in it–basically lemongrass essential oil that attracts bees seeking a new home.
Guess what? IT WORKED! It’s a small, happy hive but they’ve been coming and going all summer and seem to be doing just fine.
That sweet little hive wasn’t the only one that has graced us this year. When my sister and her family were visiting, Jack and I were out the door to go vote but we were stopped short when Jack noticed a swarm of bees resting comfortably in one of our walnut trees.
If you’ve never seen a swarm of bees, it’s pretty impressive. Basically, a second queen is raised from a large hive and she takes some loyal followers with her to find a new home. Normally, I’d steer clear from that many bees but when they’re swarming, they’re actually quite docile. They don’t have a home to protect, so all they’re concerned with is following their queen.
|Jordan makes bee suits look cool.|
Though Jack has started his allergy shots to help prevent any further reactions to bee venom, it still makes me nervous watching him handle the bees. Thank goodness my brother-in-law was up for helping.
My job tends to be to be on standby with the EpiPen, be the go-fer for whatever tools he needs, and to take photos. That meant Jordan willingly was Jack’s assistant.
He had all kinds of fun. 🤣
Working as fast as they could (’cause you never know when a swarm might decide to take off), they got a box ready. It was empty–as in no other bees living inside–but it did have ants. Not surprised but a small inconvenience. They scraped off any errant ants until the frames were clean.
Then, it was just a matter of arranging the box, climbing up the ladder, and sawing down the branch. Sort of scary, but true.
Since the bees don’t have any loyalty to a place, they stay where the queen stays. That was clinging onto the branch. Until they were given a couple of violent shakes. 😳
As long as the queen was one of the ones who tumbled into the box, we were safe. That doesn’t mean that it’s not a little unnerving to see the guys walking through a cloud of confused bees.
The goal is always to save as many bees as possible–it’s one more bee who will help the hive run smoothly. Jack carefully slid in the remaining frames and kind of swept as many as he could into the box.
Once the top is on, it’s home sweet home for them.
Our best guess is that the swarm came from our own hive, which had been doing extremely well this spring. Jack had added an empty box but it might’ve been a little too late–they were already feeling too squished. But because of that, they created a new queen to lead the way to find somewhere more comfortable. It’s honey from heaven as far as I’m concerned. We were maybe going to get one hive worth of honey this fall and now it’s looking like we’re going to get at least two, possibly three. Amazing!
Thanks for your help, Jordan and thanks for the incredible photos, Jenny! And thank you sweet bees for not flying away (or stinging Jack! 😉).