Friday, March 26, 2010
Bee Log #19: March 26, 2010
Swarm. Swarm. In March!!!
A swarm is a bee hive's way of making new bee hives. The old queen leaves the hive with about half of the bees. The group forms into a ball of bees on a tree or bush or something and scouts look for a place to move into. If a beekeeper can catch this bunch of bees, they can be moved into a bee hive and will probably set up housekeeping.
I looked into the back yard at about noon on the 24th of March which was a beautiful sunny day with a temperature of about 70 degrees F and saw a cloud of bees. I went out into the bee-storm to try to see where they were headed. They circled around. Some landed here and some there. I was praying for a nice low branch so we could catch this swarm. The bees unaccountably decided to go back in the hive. We had that experience last year when a swarm of bees went back into their hive. It is like a practice swarm. A rehearsal for the real thing that will take place shortly.
We got into the hive and found it bursting with bees (see photos). Burgeoning with bees. We decided to split the hive putting frames with queen cells in each hive. We looked and looked for the queen but could not find her. One of the two hives created has a queen and one does not. Both have frames of brood and lots of worker bees and stores of food. Both have room to expand.
A split like this is a messy operation. It really messes up the bees and now one hive has no queen. There are the queen cells that are developing and a new queen will hatch. But,when a newly hatched queen is ready to mate, there needs to be a day when the weather is about 70 degrees and not too windy so she can get to the place where the drones hang out (drone congregation area). I think we need to consider buying a queen and requeening the queenless hive. Otherwise, we may be stuck with a hive that is not queenright.
The weather has gone back to rainy and chilly. I had better order that queen. Imagine ordering a queen!