It’s spring-time warm here, and local bees with so much pollen and nectar to gather are thriving, which leads to … swarms! A friend directed a neighbor less than a mile away to beekeeper George to gather a swarm that settled on their house.
The relatively flat roof was ideal for George to clamber onto by ladder, and it was a good situation to try out the new bee vacuum that Joan, our good friend and partner-in-bees, recently got.
We onlookers down below couldn’t see the large portion of the swarm in the roof’s gutter. George vac’ed them up first.
Moving on to the bees overhanging the roof, we watched as some of the swarm flew about, but most were drawn into the gentle pull of the vacuum.
It was much quicker than what George would have had to do otherwise – scrape the bees from the side of the roof down into a box.
Since the bees will have their new home in Joan’s hive, we went to get one of her hive boxes with some frames that her old bees had built on.
The bees will be attracted to the leftover honey and wax on the frames, and migrate onto them from the vacuum. With the box on the roof, the bees that didn’t get vac’ed will sense the pheromones and re-join their queen and swarm. It’s a whole-day affair, mostly waiting around to make sure that as many bees as possible are gathered up. Any stragglers will likely go back to their old hive.
Click here to read my post about the process Joan and George went through to catch a swarm in her garden last year, I think that slow and laborious process was the impetus behind her ordering the bee vacuum!