Archives

Gather, Extract, Bottle

Sunday, July 12, 2015


11707592_10206258656897515_4546003151441713203_n

You know that saying about something is attracted to something like bees are attracted to honey?  Unless you’ve actually extracted honey, you couldn’t possibly know just how attracted to honey they really are.

Bees smell honey. Then they go tell their friends where to find the honey…and they tell their friends…and they tell their friends…and within minutes the driveway, the garage, the pool, the entire front yard is enveloped in bees, like something out of a horror movie.  Then the hubster is unhappy because he can’t in the pool because it’s surrounded by bees, and I need to get the bees out of the garage…and don’t let them in the house cause the cats will chase them and get stung…then I’m pulling out the hose to squirt the bees away and wash the honey smell off the floor, the driveway, anything and everything’s that’s come in contact with the honey.  Not to mention, I kick into rescue mode and start fishing the little buggers out of the pool.  All of this is hypothetical by the way :o) Next year we’ll sneak everything out of the garage and into the workshop around midnight when the bees are sleeping.

The hardest part of extracting honey is not letting the bees know you’re doing it.  Stealth is key.  I learned my lesson last year, escaping with uncovered boxes down to the garage and leaving them outside for even a few minutes and attracting hoards of bees that hovered outside the garage door all day.

Based on that experience, I improved my process this year.  In fact, I was quite pleased with myself and how I managed to bypass the drama that we experienced last year.  At least until the hubster opened the garage door the next day while the honey boxes and some leftover honey were sitting on the garage floor.  Not to mention, they smelled the remnants from the day before.  Bees are smart!  But getting back to extraction day, I actually came up with a good process.  Not a perfect process, but a good one.

Step 1.  Prepare

Think smart.  Preparation is key.  Get the tools and brush ready, get the fume board ready, get a wheelbarrow ready, get top covers ready, have the smoker going, get the gear on, and have a completely enclosed facility ready to house the honey.

Step 2.  Fuming the Bees, One Box at a Time

  • Put a top cover top side down in the bottom of the wheel barrow.
  • Lightly smoke around the top edges of the hive and at the entrance to let them know you’re coming in.  But not too much.  You don’t want to smoke in the honey.
  • Spray the fume board 3 times with the almond scented fuming spray, and place the board on top of the hive.
  • Wait  5 – 10 minutes for the bees to clear out.

IMG_4725

Step 3.  Remove the box

  • Most of the bees should bee out of the top box by now, so remove the top box and place it within the top cover that’s in the bottom of the wheel barrow.
  • Immediately place another top cover securely on top of the honey box so that it is completely closed on the top and on the bottom.

IMG_3312

Step 4. Fume again and escape (bee stealthy) with the honey

  • Spray the fume board one or two more times, then place on top of the next box to bee removed.
  • While the fume board empties the next box, quickly run your honey super down to the garage or where ever you’re extracting.
  • Life the lid and brush off as many bees as possible – what’s left will go into the garage with you along with the honey box.
  • Close the door behind you!!!

Step 5.  Repeat steps 2-4

If successful, then you’ll have all honey supers safely in the garage, with a small amount of bee activity outside the door, and a small amount of bee activity inside the garage.

It’s gonna happen, some bees will bee caught up with the honey boxes.  Don’t open the garage door to let them out. TRUST ME on this.

We extracted over 100 lbs of honey this past weekend.  That’s from about 5 boxes.  Amazing bees!

Overall Apiary Status

So how have the girls been doing up to this point?  Well, other than finding bee activity in my swarm traps and discovering (after purchasing a new hive, new beekeeping britches, and setting up a new hive location) that they were not swarms but robber bees, we haven’t had much drama.  They’ve endured much rain, and much heat and humidity this summer.  I’ve left them alone, and they’ve been thriving (that should tell you something right there).  And so has the garden.  We have cucumbers coming out our ying yangs, and tomatoes are coming up fast.

IMG_3310

Plans for Using the Honey

So what to do with all that honey?  We’ll sell some of it, give some away as gifts, make alcoholic honey beverages, cook with it, make creamed honey for Christmas presents, I’ll use it in soaps and potions.  So many things we can do with honey.  So you can expect lots of tutorial posts in the coming months.  :o)

In the meantime, I’ve placed supers back on all the hives, and even added a third box to my little yellow hive, which is still taking syrup and is growing like crazy.  Let’s hope the big hives fill out and cap some unfinished frames and build out the rest of the supers before winter.  Trying to follow that 90% rule – only extract frames that are 90% capped.  We can use some late summer honey for overwintering the bees, and maybe they can spare a bit more for us.  We shall see!

 

Yellow Hive is Back!

June 7, 2015

photo

You may recall that we lost Yellow Hive over the winter.  The apiary just isn’t complete without all 5 hives going at once.  Blue Hive was looking strong, so two weekends ago ((May 24th) I transferred some of their honey, nectar and brood frames to Yellow Hive, along with some healthy looking queen cells, and of course some bees.  I gave them sugar syrup w/ my homemade Honey B Healthy and stood back to see if the split would take.

IMG_3156

I didn’t post this sooner for fear of jinxing them.  I’m very superstitious like that. They started slow, but now activity in Yellow Hive is picking up.  Yay!  The weather has been cool and wet, so once the sun comes back out and things dry out, I’ll give them a look to see whether a queen has emerged and started laying yet.

Expecting a Swarm

Any day now I’m anticipating that Blue Hive will swarm.  I know that because I’ve seen queen cells and a virgin queen romping around.  There is space in the brood chamber for laying, but when they decide to go, they’ll go.  Fingers and toes are crossed that they’ll split themselves and will make a bee-line for the swarm trap.  I continue to add lemongrass oil to the entrance to lure them in.  Then I’ll collect them and add them to a new hive.

Preparing for the Best

Speaking of new hives, the hubster and I have had discussions about the number of hives I can add to my collection.  He insists that 5 is enough.  Yes dear, 5 is a good number.  However, if I d happen to catch a swarm, then they need to go somewhere, so just incase they decide to cooperate (a rarity) I’m preparing hives 6 and 7….just incase.  After all, I couldn’t possibly let them go homeless!

Watching the Garden Grow

We also planted the garden two weekends ago.  Another yay!  And with the recent rain, they’re popping up nicely.  We’ll bee caging tomatoes today, and even my cucumbers are popping up from seeds that I salvaged from last year’s cucumbers, which were crazy prolific.

photo

The major nectar flow is dying down, but there’s still plenty of flowers and color coming up.  The wildflowers will be out soon.  The bees are bringing in the honey.  Boxes are heavy and filling fast.

Tis a happy time of year.

 

First Swarm of the Season

May 17, 2015

IMG_3140_2

It may bee the first, but it certainly won’t bee the last swarm of the season. The funny part is that I never saw it happen.  I knew it was inevitable (tis the season), so I’d been itching to get the our swarm lure up.  We found a super tall telescoping pole on clearance, perfect for raising and lowering a swarm lure.

We took it out back, placed the lure on the pole and began to raise it high into the trees.  I looked up, and I’ll bee darned if there wasn’t a healthy cluster of bees hanging stealth-like in the very top branches.  About 15 feet above the swarm lure.  Buggers!

swarm 2
swarm1

They always go too high, so once again, I couldn’t retrieve them.  The other bees were flying around in wild frenzy in front of their hives – their typical response when a swarm occurs.  I should’ve known something was up.

Theoretically, scout bees seek out a new residence weeks before they swarm, so I had little hope that they’d sniff the lemongrass oil and make a b-line for the lure.  But it didn’t keep me from hoping.  We kept watch through the evening.  They were in the same spot the next morning, but gone by the time we returned home from work.  Another one lost…probably in someone else’s hive by now.  I’ll admit that my response this year is much more calm and accepting than last year.  I still don’t know which hive it came from.  They all look just as busy and well populated as they did before.

I hear about people catching swarms all the time.  Now I keep watch over the swarm lure in hopes of catching someone else’s swarm…or maybe, just maybe I’ll actually catch one of my own.  At this point, I really don’t care which, I just want to catch a swarm! :o)

 

Bees are Springing to Life!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

We had a wonderfully warm high 50’s day and the bees were crazy!!!  I started into winter with 5 hives, and had one that died out and 4 that appear to bee thriving.  I couldn’t bee more excited!

IMG_3019

So now that spring is in the air and the bees know it, what’s a beekeeper to do?  Well, spring is all about getting those girls up and running ASAP.  They’ve been clustered all winter, so they have some catching up to do!  They’ve been feeding on sugar cakes, and they likely have plenty of pollen stored up, but to bee safe I whipped up a batch of my gourmet pollen patties.

IMG_3023

IMG_3026

When temps are consistently in the 50’s, then I’ll put some jars of syrup on the hives and that will really get the queens laying so they can get their numbers up.  The more bees, the more nectar and pollen can be brought into the hive when things begin to bloom, and the more honey they’ll produce.

Remember those swarms last year?  Well, that’s what overwintered hives do when they run out of room and don’t have enough ventilation.  This year, I plan to stay on top of things and make sure they have both.  I also intend to plant several swarm traps around the yard, and we need to figure out where we can put more hives.  Yee gads, more hives you say?  Now you sound like my husband.  You’ve gotta put ’em somewhere when you catch ’em.  Of course, I’ve heard other beekeepers say they’ve had more success catching other people’s swarms than their own when using swarm traps.  Hey, that’s ok too.  My swarms are probably happily residing in someone else’s hive.

Temps will be in the 40’s and 50’s this week, with a chance of snow on Thursday.  Ugh!!  Just when we thought it was over!  That’s always a bad thing when temps are warmer, then sudden cold sets in and the bees aren’t ready for it.  Just shows that we’re not out of the woods quite yet.  Regardless, I’ll bee cleaning frames and adding top boxes with jars of sugar syrup so the girls can get themselves juiced up.

Would love to hear how everyone else’s hives are doing and their strategies for pushing into spring!  All the best for happy spring hives!

IMG_3020

BooBee December Update

December 13, 2014, Saturday

IMG_2859

Between work and the holidays, my free time has disappeared, and so I’m playing catchup on my bee journal.

The weather changes every few days around here – 60’s and sunny one day, then below 30’s and bitter cold.  I don’t mind that because the girls get opportunities to get out and about and I can check on their statuses.  I confess that during the winter I never quite know what’s going on, and I’m never an optimist.  Anything can happen at any time.

Possible Issues with Purple Hive

Everyone is still flying about during warm spurts, but I have noticed that Purple Hive has a lot more dead bees coming out of the hive than the others, and Mint Hive doesn’t appear to have much activity at all.  When I lift the lids, I see bees in all hives but Purple Hive.  That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re dying out because they may be toward the bottom staying warm.  Candy has been consumed and they are cleaning house regularly, so there is activity.  I just have to sit back and hope for the best until the weather turns warm enough to warrant further investigation.

Winter Prep

I hadn’t shown off our winter wind breakers this year.  Last year’s wind breakers were very effective, but a bit tedious to put up and maintain.  This year we went with a simpler approach.  My husband owns a large format printing business, which means he has access to coroplast and metal frames that stick in the ground.  He used thick 1/2 inch 4 ft x 6 ft sheets of coroplast to form a barrier around the outside of the hives.  This creates an easy, inexpensive and effective wind breaker.

I don’t wrap hives, mainly because I believe that hives need to breath and that wrapping prevents that, causing ventilation issues.  If we lived in Canada or Vermont, then yes, I would probably wrap.  But with our warmer climate, although we have cold spurts and snow, I don’t think it warrants wrapping.  Wind breakers help tremendously for keeping out the cold and they’re much easier to work around.

Bees can manage in the cold – moisture is a bigger problem.

IMG_2856

IMG_2854

Candy Making Party

I mentioned that they’re eating candy.  In November our bee club had our annual Candy Making Party.  I love the candy making party.  Always a fun time to get better acquainted with other beekeepers, ask questions and learn.  Click here to check out our candy recipe.   The bees seem to enjoy the candy and since the party, I’ve already replenished their supply.  Some feel that candy is for emergency feeding.  True, but I don’t think it hurts to keep it in the hives during the winter to ensure they always have food.  If they don’t need it, they won’t eat it, it’s a simple as that.  I supplemented with candy all winter last year and had two very healthy hives come through with flying colors.

One lesson I learned is NOT to cover the top of the frames with candy because this inhibits ventilation.  This year I placed the candy across the front third of the hive on the side where the morning sun first hits.   This helps soften the candy and allows plenty of room for air to circulate.

IMG_2847

IMG_2841

 

So there you have a two month update in a nutshell.  Bees, winterization and candy…oh my!  Hope everyone’s girls are hanging in there through this cold and blustery time of year.  Expect the worst and hope for the best…that’s my motto!

I am looking forward to the quiet time to catch up on indoor activities like reading up on my strategies for the coming year, cleaning equipment, and making homemade lotions and potions.  Stay tuned for fun recipes and how to’s.

Best wishes from all of the BooBees at BooBee Honey for a bee-utiful, happy holiday season!!!  

Making Robber Screens

Sunday, October 24, 2014

IMG_2818

 

We’ve had some warm days here in Maryland, and since there’s not nectar to be had, the girls are continuing to rob, rob, rob.  So all entrances remain closed except for the main front entrance, which has been reduced to its smallest size.   Yes it seems like a small space, but it’s really all they need.  So I reduced the size of the robber screens to conforms with the smaller entrance size.

These robber screens are super simple and cheap to make.

Supplies per screen

  • ~ 8 inch x 6 inch piece of window screen (cut to size w/ scissors)
  • Two 1/2 inch square pieces of wood cut to 6 inch lengths
  • Hardware stapler and staples

IMG_2804

I’m not methodical with my measurements.  Eyeballing works fine for this project.

Position the two pieces of wood in the center of your window screen, leaving more than enough space between the two pieces so the bees have plenty of area to enter and exit the hive.  Measure the space against an actual entrance reducer, as shown below.

IMG_2806

Position these pieces of wood on your screen, make sure there’s about 2-3 inches of screen extending beyond the outside edges of each piece of wood.  These pieces will be stapled to the hive to keep it the screen in place.  The screen should extend the length of the wood fully so that it is flush with then surface of the hive at the bottom.  This is to ensure that bees do not enter from beneath the screen.

Using a heavy duty hardware stapler, staple the screen to the wood.  I staple three times on both sides.

IMG_2809

Below are the finished screens ready for installation.


IMG_2814

The installed screens are shown below.  It’s not perfectly flush against the hive because the entrance reducers aren’t flush, but it works because it forces bees to enter from the top rather than giving them direct access from the front.  Bees from that hive will figure out the detour.  Robber bees will continue to enter from the front and will give up because of the barrier.

IMG_2815

In the meantime, all other entrances are covered with pieces of window screen that have been stapled to the hives.  This allows for continued ventilation, but blocks robber bees from entering.

IMG_2819

This robbing stuff has to be one of the most disturbing and frustrating issues I’ve experienced yet as a beekeeper.  The screens have helped tremendously, and they’re simple, cheap and easy enough that I can add them to all of my hives.

Stopping the Robbing

Saturday, October 20, 2014

IMG_2728

 

Some rules you just don’t think about until you break them.  And once you experience the horrific results, you never break them again.

I made the horrible mistake of scraping out burr comb that contained honey and laying it on top of an adjacent hive as I was inspecting.  Within minutes, the comb had attracted hoards of bees, and so began a robbing frenzy.  And why not?  We’re in the midst of a fall dearth, the bees are hungry, and a bounty of food has been revealed to them.

Any food, sugar syrup, honey, etc. left near a hive can yield devastating results, from attracting animals to attracting robbers.

Stop the Madness – IMMEDIATELY

When robbing begins, stop it immediately.  Sure indicators of robbing is dramatic increase in bee activity, including fighting at the entrance and groups of bees crawling around the hive boxes (all sides) looking for ways to enter.  Don’t get confused with orientation flights.

Robbing can be devastating to a hive, resulting in destroyed comb, loss of bees, and loss of stores.  Some steps I took, good and bad…

1) Close all entrances, except for bottom entrance.

IMG_2731

2) Reduce bottom entrance to smallest size

3) Cover entrance w/ robbing cage – essentially covered front entrance with window screen, allowing only a small entrance on the side for resident bees.

The idea is that robbers will fly directly into the entrance from the front.  If the can’t enter through the front, they’ll often give up.  The resident bees, on the other hand, will make the effort to find the alternate entrance and will adapt to that entrance.   Bottlenecking will occur, but they will work it out.

I have an alternate robbing cage idea for next time, but as this one was in place and was working, I left it as it was.

IMG_2729

4)  Place a damp sheet over top of the hive

Not towels, like I did I my photo at top, although this did help some.  But full white sheets that actually cover the hive.  Again, resident bees will figure it out, but robbers will be discouraged.

Always Bee on the Lookout

Within several days, the robbing had subsided and I removed the barriers.  That same day, they began robbing again.  You have to watch them.  Bees have good memories.

Two Weeks Later (Oct 4, 2014)

Two weeks after, I still have robbing cages on the hives and they’re all doing well.  Now that the weather is changing and I’m feeding 2:1, I do plan to remove them and enter the hives to see how they look, ensure they have stores, and condense them down for winter.

 

 

 

Mint Hive Moves to Colony Row

Saturday, September 13, 2014

IMG_2590

When Pink Hive combined with Purple Hive, a prime spot opened for Mint Hive.  Mint Hive sat alone,  just 4 feet in front of the other hives, and was virtually engulfed in a forest of asparagus ferns. The bees didn’t seem to mind and they even switched their flight path from straight ahead to sideways. They are adaptable, it just takes a bit of time for them to figure things out. That’s why it’s best to approach major changes in baby steps, like moving Mint Hive in line with the other colonies. Here’s the process I use for moving hives, which I assure you is a very infrequent event.

Step 1. Blocking the Entrance

Friday eve, I removed Mint Hive’s entrance reducer. The girls came out and inspected. I gave them an hour or two to settle down. When it was dark and I was sure the foragers had returned for the night, I snuck up and blocked their lower and upper entrances til morning.

Step 2. Moving the Hive

Early Saturday morning, around 7am, I recruited the hubster’s assistance. We easily lifted the hive and moved it to its new location.

Step 3. The Long Wait

I left the hive shut tight for 24 hours.

IMG_2708

Step 4. Freedom at Last

Sunday morning I unblocked the entrance, placed the entrance reducer on medium, then placed a bushy branch in front of the entrance so they had to go through the obstacle to leave the hive. The purpose is to allow them to reorient when they leave the hive so they can return to the same location without issue. This worked for most of the bees, but there always seem to be a few who are dazed and confused, flying around their old stomping grounds wondering what happened to their home.

By evening they’d figured it out. Everyone had calmed down, so I opened the top entrance and added their feeders. Now Mint Hive officially lives on Colony Row.  Welcome to the neighborhood Mint Hive!

IMG_2710

Combining Hives – What NOT to do

Sunday, September 7, 2014

IMG_2691

Mistakes are Good…sometimes?

“Mistakes are good,” says Michael Bush, author of the book “The Practical Beekeeper”. But when you’re the beekeeper mucking up royally, and the bees are suffering for your stupid mistakes, it feels horrible! If you’re a beekeeper, then perhaps you’ve experienced those dysfunctional episodes where we decide to take on too much at once, we don’t do our research or plan our steps, then find ourselves running amuck in our white suits, surrounded by angry flying bees darting at our heads, with boxes disassembled and lying about.

That’s what happened to me. I inspected Pink Hive, which swarmed over 3 weeks ago, then returned to their hive and at some point swarmed again. I checked the hive about 3 weeks after the initial swarm, and the frames contained a small amount of older brood, no stores, nada. Like it had emptied out and dried up.

IMG_2678

Mint Green Hive is strong, but the hive’s location is horrible as it sits 4 feet in front of the other hives and faces the asparagus, which is now a fern-like forest. Being the adaptable little creatures they are, they simply changed their flight path to the side rather than straight into the forest. Regardless, this seemed like a good opportunity to combine the weak hive with a strong hive AND move Mint Hive all at once.

Dumb, Dumb, Dumb

First, I should know better than to come home from work at 6 PM and go out and take on a major bee project when the evening is quickly turning dark. I managed to condense Pink Hive. Then I put a sheet of newspaper on top and proceeded to disassemble Mint hive and add those boxes on top of Pink Hive. In the meantime, Mint Hive is waking up and starting to wonder “what the heck?”, and their foragers are returning and flying around in space (where their home USED to be just a few minutes prior) wondering “what the heck?”. I realized the magnitude of my mistake about the same time I realized I was wearing shorts and Mint Hive decided to attack my legs.

I ran through the yard, guard bees in hot pursuit, through the garage and into the house. Bees started buzzing through the kitchen and the cats came to life. My husband chased me out of the house and through the window I saw him waving his finger and giving me the parental head shake before he joined in with the cats to catch the flying bees.

When I was finally clear of bees, he let me back in the house to swap shorts for long pants and sandals for muck boots. . I ventured back up to the disaster area. I looked at the three boxes of angry bees on top of pink hive, then back at the lost bees flying in space, and determined that I had to move Mint Hive back to its original location. Ugh, it was getting dark fast, and they were MAD!!! I was also covered in attack pheromones, which didn’t help matters.

I worked as quickly as I could. I pulled the Mint Hive boxes back off. Of course, the newspaper stuck to the bottom box. I was working alone. I tried to pull off what I could, but it was stuck. I was surrounded by crazy bees and had to run for cover a few times, but I kept returning and finally managed to get Mint Hive reassembled. It wasn’t pretty. I went back to the house, still pursued by guard bees, some of which found their way inside my suit and were stinging me. I finally stripped off my gear, left it on the patio and ran in the house .

The next morning I gathered gear from the patio and walked up to see the state of Mint Hive. Those poor bees looked as though they’d been out all night trying to patch up the disarray. The boxes were misaligned, extending at least a half inch on some edges, legs and body bits extended from the seams, and a good 2/12 inches of newspaper flapped around the perimeter of the box. They saw me approach and immediately became defensive. The guilt was overwhelming.

Lesson Learned

Another lesson learned the hard way. NEVER ADD THE STRONG HIVE TO THE WEAK HIVE!!!! Condense the weak hive to one box. Open the strong hive and add a sheet or two of newspaper on top. Add the weak hive on top of the newspaper. Then add sugar syrup on top of the entire hive. If I had researched this first, I would have saved myself and my bees A LOT of stress and stings.

Combining the Right Way (technically)

I successfully combined Pink Hive on top of Purple Hive the following week. They were still stressed, and sadly the newspaper had somehow punctured, enabling Purple Hive to enter Pink Hive much faster than planned and resulting in fighting and a pile of dead bees at the base of my hive.

IMG_2693

By morning most of the fighting had ceased, and by evening the combined hive appeared to be at peace.  Thank goodness.  I suspect that I will be combining many hives down the road.  I can certainly say that I won’t make that dumb mistake again and my sincerest condolences go to the bees who lost their loved ones in the midst of my error.  But I am a better beekeeper, and as a result, future generations of BooBees will benefit from their sacrifices.  Amen.

Rules Don’t Apply to Bees – Part 2 (The Girls Come Home)

Sunday, August 24, 2014 (1PM)

IMG_2661

A week after Pink Hive Swarmed, I’m at a vineyard with friends, and the phone rings. I answered to a frantic hubster who is claiming that the swarm has returned and “they are moving back into Pink Hive”.

“Are you sure they’re not doing orientation flights?”, I asked. “No, I know what a swarm looks like,” he said. Indeed, at this point, he’s seen more swarms than I have. What’s more, he videotaped the event AND sent me a convincing photo. The swarm covered the entire front surface of pink hive.

WTH?

Seriously? What the heck? It had to be the same swarm. I can’t believe a stray swarm would just happen to move into the same hive that just swarmed…unless they sensed that hive was weak. It wasn’t visibly weak though. In fact, I would never have known it swarmed if I hadn’t seen the swarm myself. I planned to wait 2 weeks before checking for brood. As it stood, inside and out, the numbers looked good!

We were thrilled to have them back, of course, but were a bit dumbfounded by what had happened.  So I proceeded to research the heck out of it.

Potential Theories

Theory 1:  I’ve heard of swarms moving into an empty hive.  That makes sense, it’s a ready-made home with no inhabitants and no threats.   Pink Hive was not an empty hive, it was an active hive, so this is unlikely.

Theory 2:  I’ve heard of swarms moving into weak hives – hives that are low in numbers and are either queenless or have a weak queen.  Since the hive had just swarmed, there’s certainly a chance the hive could have been queenless.  They were lower in numbers, but not weak.  Perhaps it was weaker than I thought.  It was a first year hive, and the swarm was a big one, so there’s no doubt the population was hit hard, regardless of appearance.

Theory 3:  Sometimes when a swarm leaves a hive, if the queen is left behind, they will return to the hive within minutes.  They’ll remain in the hive until a new virgin queen emerges, then they will swarm again – usually within a week or two.  When this happens, it is best to split the hive or create a fake swarm before they swarm again.  This should prevent the second swarm from occurring.   However, they came back within hours or minutes.  They came back a week later!

Theory 4:  They’ll often return to the hive if the queen is lost or damaged during the swarm process.  Again, this usually occurs within hours or minutes, which makes me wonder if the queen had been damaged or killed during our botched attempt to retrieve them or during their journey elsewhere.  This seems the most likely situation to me.  Their numbers were halved from their original swarm.  Perhaps their chosen location didn’t work out.

Theory 5:  They just needed a vacation, perhaps somewhere warm, a little less crowded where they could relax and enjoy some sites.  The Carolinas maybe, I hear that’s a popular place with the bees.  They’ve worked hard this season, they earned it :o)

If Only Bees Could Talk

Boy, wouldn’t we like to know the real story?  I do know that there’s a chance of another swarm, if it hasn’t happened already.  The traffic is minimal at the entrance.  I added another box for space. They have tons of capped brood. I’ll give them a check this weekend.

My money says they’ll swarm this Sunday, just after our big family arrives for a nice outdoor get together…in true BooBee fashion. Ha ha. Nothing like giving my inlaws a show!  After all, Sundays mid-mornings are their favorite time to swarm.  Of course I’ll either be useless the rest of the day, or I’ll just let them go…again.

Oh well, they’ll do what they want to do, when they want to do it.  :o]