My Dad – The Swarm Catcher
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It wasn’t meant to be like this.  I was meant to be The Man, or better yet, The Beeman.  But The Old Man is taking all the glory.  To be fair, he is far more relaxed around the bees than me, so he probably did a far better job.  I can only take credit for the fact I gave him instructions down the phone.  After I put the phone down,  for a couple of seconds I thought “Crikey – I hope he’ll be alright” … and then I buried my head in some metaphorical sand, stuck my fingers in my ears and started a mantra along the lines of La La La.  This is the closest I get to meditation these days.

The bees swarmed … yes, again.  It was Friday 20th July and I was at work.  You might be wondering, which hive?  Depending on how well you remember the bee story so far, you might know it as Hive B, or the New Hive or the-swarm-I-hived-near-the-start-of-June.  Yes, they’d only been in there 6 weeks and half of them were ready to take off again.  I’d given them a nice, big, 14×12 brood box and whacked a super on top for good measure.  What was there not to like?  Me?  Anyhow, not to worry, there are still bees coming in and out as I write this – just rather fewer than a few weeks ago.

I told Dad to get the cardboard box and bee brush, don his beekeeper suit, find someone to take photos, brush the bees into the box, flip it upside down with a rock underneath to give the remaining bees space to get in, call the local bee association for them to collect (I had no where to put them), wait a couple of hours for all the bees to go in and then seal them up and put a few holes in the box.  Easy!

Here are a few photos and video clips of my Dad being manly, filmed by The Chicken Man (aka the chap who owns the chicken coop where the swarm landed).

 The Swarm – on a chicken coop in the allotment

 

Curious Cows – the cows come from the other side of the field to check out the action

Cows watching bee swarm

 

 Dad – The Swarm Catcher! Brushes bees into box

 Swarm Catcher

 

 Remaining honeybees find the Queen and rest of the swarm through pheromones

Catching a swarm

 

Dad fancies himself as David Attenborough

 

Dad seals bees in the box for collection

Swarm in a box

 

So yes – Dad not only survived but succeeded.  Thanks Dad!

Someone from the local bee association came to collect the swarm and whilst he was there he looked in the new hive with Dad.  When Dad told me this my Inner Beeman, who is already feeling a bit of a loser, took quite a confidence knock.  Crikey, am I so inadequate that I can’t check be trusted to check my own bees?  Anyhow, he spotted a Queen cell and thinks this is the hive where the swarm came from.

I have not looked in the hive for a few weeks now because (A) I’m a bad beekeeper, (B) I don’t think I have had any reason to check them and (C) it fits my new philosophy of Evidence-Based Beekeeping.  However, I am definitely inspecting the bees this weekend for the following:

  • Check how much honey there is and consider harvesting
  • Check their stores of honey and pollen
  • Make sure both hives have laying Queens, eggs and brood

Amazingly its near the end of the nectar flow and I need to start thinking about getting the bees ready for Winter.  I know the days are getting shorter but I’m still, looking forward to some Summer and I’m not yet ready to think about the colder months ahead.

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