Between rain storms, a swarm flew into our yard.? Wanna see what happened?
It started with a high buzzing sound.? When I went to check our bees, they were out on their porches defending their homes.? A cloud of bees came into the bee yard then were pushed out by our bees.? They landed in our apple tree. The swirling cloud of bees settled down to this:
This is a very large swarm, possibly an entire hive (which is called an abscond.) So I put on my massive (XXL) bee suit*, set up the ladder,...
...and climbed up with my Bee Vac**.
Then began the painstaking work of vacuuming up the bee swarm. For the next hour, I slowly vacuum up the bee swarm.
Then, taa daa! Twenty or more pounds of bees! Ok, you can't really see them here. But notice the nice new rose bed! :)
Inside the bee vac....? I set the bee vac down and took the top off. This allows the bees that didn't get vacuumed up to find the hive.? This swarm was very calm.
Even though I can dump the hive into a hive box and be done with it, the bees like to feel like they chose their new home.? So I dumped half of the hive in a hive deep and half on an old sheet.? The bees then climb into the box.
And I also cheated.? I took a frame of babies from another hive and put them in this hive. One of the awesome things about bees is that they will never ever ever leave a baby - even if it's not their own.? They will stay to care for any baby bee.? Period.
For the sake of clarity, these bees have flown from who knows where.? They are carrying at least three days worth of honey, pollen and water. And the very first thing they do?? They tend the babies they found in this hive.
They stick their butts in the air to fan the hive smell into the air. This calls any remaining bees to the colony.
Just before the next rain/snow storm, the hive is settled for the night.? (They would not have survived the night on their own.)? I'll check it tomorrow (Saturday) to see how they are doing - if they need food, that kind of thing.
And I have a new hive.
*I have this massive bee suit because we used to have some Africanized bees.? They were "smoke sensitive" which means that I had to enter then cold. They would chase me around the yard.? ARG!? A friend from England smuggled a German bee treatment which I used.? Once they weren't smoked, they were all right.? I requeened them eventually.? I wear the big suit to get swarms because I do not know the temperament of the hive.? Generally, swarms are docile, but you never know.
**A Bee Vac is a Shop Vac engine stuck on that box.? The Shop Vac is too harsh for the bees, so you have to slow it way down to not kill or injure all the bees you are vacuuming.? Like any Shop Vac, it has a variety of attachments. We've found this set up to work the best at retrieving, but not injuring the bees.