Our Swarm Box saga, parts 1 & 2 is finally coming to its finale.
Swarm Box on Top-Bar Hive
It has sat on our Top Bar Hive for 2 days and after much advice seeking and deliberation, we felt today would be just right to put the bees (that came to our front yard) where they will bee comfortable (pardon the pun).
Time for their big move …
Roof came off the Swarm Box
1 of 5 large combs built in a week!
No frames! They did their own thing.
The Box and Hive were of the same dimensions so each bar would sit comfortably from Box to Hive, in the same sequence. When 14 bars with their combs were transferred to the Hive, the poor bees were in a bit of a frenzy but fortunately not furious and only for about 15 minutes. So we sprayed some water to persuade them to calm down and head ‘indoors’.
We tried spotting the Queen but did not want to stretch the move unnecessarily long. Finally we left them be, allowing some to find their own way to the entrance of their new abode.
90% of the population in the new Hive
3 hours later
They seem to have adjusted well. It’s drizzling right now so I hope they are comfortably tucked up in their new home with rooms and furniture which they built and are accustomed to.
We have slowly lowered our Swarm Box thrice now, each time about a foot or so.
Believe it or not, we surfed the internet and took advice from experienced beekeepers and did our hive-moving at night, using a flashlight, when the bees were “indoors”. Making it as gradual as possible and as permitted by the curvature and rough surface of the tree trunk, we have now gotten it to manageable height. Our “spare” Topbar Hive has been cleaned and put in place with a garden fork inserted nearby to act as a kind of landmark. I took this short video with my cellphone which (I think) shows the bees are still busy & don’t mind the change of height of their ‘temporary’ residence.
The white band on the tree trunk was about 14″ below the Box’s originally position. We had brushed some diatomaceous earth there to end/break the route of a colony of ants plying up and down the tree.
So now, we wait further before sitting the Box on the Hive …
(Adopt the Pace of Nature; Her Secret is Patience. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.)
We love our hives and as relatively new (accidental) beekeepers, we’ve read much about those precious bees and how they swarm, especially in Spring, when Queens and Drones do what Ma Nature programmed them to do.
As an experiment we built a Swarm Box with spare wood and laced it with lemongrass oil. We’ve seen some busy buzzing bees in our front yard the last few days and kept close watch. Suddenly today we see this “beard” configuration of bees busy setting up home!
In case any veteran beekeepers are reading this, we seek advice:
When the Queen is ready & workers begin pollen hunting, what’s the best way to move them from a Top-Bar Swarm Box to a Top-Bar Hive. Is it better to have the Hive just below the Box (which is on a tree) and lower it perhaps 6″ everyday to end up sitting on the hive and then move the Bars with combs into the hive?
Swarm Box on tree
Or should we just move the Bars into the Hive early evening when they are inactive?
Gosh, I love those little bees … seeing them buzzing around simply makes me happy.