Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bee Log 39; May 19, 2010

Swarm Capture Bucket

Beehive with Swarm

I captured a swarm today. No, this video is NOT me. It was my inspiration and what I wish I had looked like. Thank you Jeff McMullan for your excellent footage of a very experienced beekeeper.

I had seen this video on Youtube and had a similar situation developing at my house. The bees landed in a pear tree on the alley about 4 houses down the block. I was home alone so it was up to me or wait. Bad weather was forecast so I chose to act. I taped a 5 gallon paint bucket to the bottom of a 12 foot pruning pole with duct tape (see photo). I prepared a box to receive the bees complete with bottom and top. I practiced getting near the swarm but not hitting them. I practiced dumping the bees in the box from the ladder. I prayed and then I bumped the bucket as hard as I could up under the swarm. I did not anticipate the weight of the swarm. I must have had 5 pounds of bees. It took me a few seconds to readjust to the weight and get the bees safely out of the tree. I dumped the bees in the waiting hive and put the lid on askew and sat down to wait (see photo). There were still a significant number of bees in the tree. I was worried that I did not get the queen. I waited. The bees started fanning at all open points on the hive. Bees started filling the air. I could not tell if the bees were headed out or in the hive. I waited. The bees were going in!

About this time I talked to a neighbor, Tony, who was taking out his garbage. I explained what was happening as there were still a lot of bees in the air. It is a bit alarming to see a swarm.

I waited for about an hour until most of the bees were in the hive. Then, I put a strap around the hive and pulled it home on a dolly. I hope they like their new home!


  1. Greetings:

    Have been reading your posts and enjoyed them. Your bees that died last winter look more like they froze to death than CCD. Are you using solid bottoms on your hives? Great site, very clean. Please stop by and check out my various sections, many plans and tips.

  2. Buck: Thanks for your comments. I have been using screened bottom boards as varroa mites are a significant problem. The bees could have frozen in December when we had a real cold snap (for Seattle anyway-it got down to about 20 degrees F). I will look at your web site.
    Pat at SUH