Swarm in a pear tree

Like a Pro, Amy Captures Her First Swarm

I’m bursting with pride for Amy.

When I first met Amy, she had sort of an inferiority complex about her beekeeping skills. I tried to convince her that she could learn to be a good beekeeper…it’s just that no one had taken the time to teach her what to do.

So, I placed a few hives in her yard and we began working with the bees together.

Before I added my bees to her yard, Amy already had a single hive that had survived the winter, and we nurtured it along…perhaps we didn’t anticipate the strength of the flow this spring, because yesterday, when I was out of town at Deb’s mom’s burial, Amy text me with this image and said rather matter-of-factly, “There’s a swarm in my pear tree.”

Swarm in Amy's pear tree

Holy Smokes! I about fell off my chair when I saw this attached image. There sure as hell is a swarm in the tree. I text Amy back to tell her I was out of town but that I’d be back in the afternoon and could help her collect her swarm then. Or, I told her, she could call me, and I could talk her through how to do it on her own.

But before I knew it, Amy had sent me the following images. Without any suggestion from me, she had already climbed on a ladder, cut the swarm-containing branch from the tree, dropped the branch into a bucket, and then dumped the bees from the bucket into an empty hive we’d set in her yard for this very occasion. AMY DID ALL OF THIS ON HER OWN WITH NO INSTRUCTION FROM ANYONE. She operated solely on instinct. I love that. Love it love it love it love it.

(By the way, Amy’s life is not limited to bees. She has a helluva lot going on over at her place, and you can keep up with her over at her blog).

Amy's swarm on the ladder and in its hive

 

Amy's bees in their new hive
Honeybee

Those Don't Look Like Bees

I put my name out on the internet as a honeybee-swarm collector, and I’ve been getting tons of calls to remove bees from structures…like log cabins, etc. Every day someone calls about bees.

I want to collect swarms, but I don’t do “cut outs.”

However, this morning I got a call from our friend, Don, who said his neighbor had found honeybees building comb in his birdhouse, and I was elated. I am dying to increase my colonies with local, feral bees. They’re healthier. And they’re free. And it’s cool to have them.

So tonight I loaded my car with all the equipment I thought I could possibly need to capture bees from the birdhouse. I mean, I had it all in there. I fired up my smoker and drove to the Korengel’s house with my smoker blowing smoke out the open windows and visions of strong and feral bees coming home with me and building comb and making me some honey. I was thinking of myself as a big bee expert.

But when I got to the birdhouse, I realized that those weren’t honeybees; they were yellow jackets. Shit. I toldĀ Don to tellĀ his neighbor to kill them.

Honeybee
Honeybee
Yellow Jacket
Yellow Jacket