Friday, June 22, 2007
Yesterday, Tim called and said he'd received a swarm call...and I got to go along for the adventure!
We drove to burien, which is about 20 min south of seattle and found in someone's front yard a soccer ball sized swarm of bees. It looked like a big pine cone as it was in a conifer. Thank goodness it was at eye level, so we didn't have to climb any ladders or anything.
Tim came prepared with his bee vacuum and a plastic bucket that he'd put vents in the sides. I held the bucket under the swarm while Tim attempted to shake the branch so they would fall in. This apparently didn't go as planned, according to Tim, as we only got about 25% of the bees this way. The bee vacuum came out. The 5 gallon container was quickly filled...we knew we had the queen when other bees were glomming onto the out vent of the vacuum...her pheromones were being emitted from the 5 gallon jar. We had to take a couple of breaks to change batteries on the vacuum and to let the bees calm down again so we could catch as many as we could.
Once we'd ran out of batteries, we piled everything in tim's van and headed back to his house where he planned on putting the bees into an empty hive. Or, so he thought.
After maneuvering down the steep hillside in his backyard to the hives, he opened the hive that he intended on using, only to find that some other bees had taken up residence! Surprised and wondering where to put the swarm, he injected it into a "weak" hive and said the queens will duke it out. Tim is very rich in bees now.
Swarm season is coming to an end, so I am glad I got to tag along on this one.