28 June 2010

Swarm Captured

Click the photo and take a look at this slideshow of Abelisto & me capturing a swarm (with the help of Joyce and Paul).

What a rush!


TileMosaicGirl said...

Holy crap-ola, Monta! Is this a yearly occurrence? What happens to the bees after they're in the box? How come the dude is totally unprotected by mask or clothing? Have you ever done this before?

MontaGael said...

Bees swarm when they feel like the hive is getting crowded and there's enough honey stored for the winter. That's how honeybee hives multiply in nature. This was a hive that Wes was raising from scratch. He breeds queen bees and starts new hives. Someone was supposed to pick it up over a week ago, but they did not. The bees keep making honey while they are waiting to be picked up and moved into new full-sized hives. The small box the hive was in must have made the bees feel closed in, so half of them took off with the queen. The remaining bees will start up a new queen and keep on going.

Wes isn't wearing any gear because swarming bees are very gentle. They don't have a hive to protect so they aren't defensive at all. Their main concern is staying with the migrating queen. The only way you get stung during a swarm is if you mishandle them or smash one on yourself.

I would not have been wearing the bee veil had I not been 12 or so feet off of the ground with my face at swarm level. Bees flying at my face do make me flinch, and I did not want to flinch and drop bees on the people steadying the ladders for me.

And although this was not our first swarm, it was the first that I have captured. It was great!