Swarm Call 3 – “There’s A Bee Swarm In My Bushes”

There’s A Bee Swarm In My Bushes

A few days after retrieving the bee swarm off the “power lines”,  Brian and I received another swarm call.  “There’s honeybees everywhere in the air about 30 feet off the ground.” The caller proceeded to tell me they were in the process of landing but not settled yet.  Fortunately, he was familiar with honeybees and knew what I meant when I told him they needed to be in a ball for me to capture them.   I asked him to call back when they were settled on the branch.  Three minutes later he did just that “The bee swarm is in my bushes.”  Brian and I loaded up the car with our swarm capturing supplies and were off.

This is what we found when we got there.

The swarm was only a few feet off the ground.  If you looked closely you could even see the bees doing the waggle dance on the outside of the swarm cluster.  It was really amazing to watch.

Honeybee swarm in a bush.

This had to be the easiest swarm capture to date since it did not involve ladders or any bee wrangling whatsoever.  The most complicated part was deciding if I should cut the bush to capture the swarm.

Honeybee swarm

Since this swarm was on multiple branches, I decided not to decimate the bush and instead shook the swarm into a bucket as I had done a few days before.  If I had an extra hive setup ready for transport I would have used that instead.  But alas, I’m still waiting for a back ordered shipment of bee supplies.  For now the bucket and screen worked just fine.

After spraying the swarm lightly with sugar syrup, I placed the bulk of the swarm inside the bucket and gave the branch a strong shake. The swarm fell right inside. Next, I placed a window screen with a slit in it on top, secured it with a rubber band and waited.

The swarm is in the bucket.

Very quickly, the bees began flying to the screen and fanning. There was a slit on top of the screen so the bees could get inside. Many bees did go inside the bucket through this slit and rejoined the main swarm.  Many stayed on the outside of the screen and began fanning.  Then Brian and I waited for the flying bees to settle down.

Bees fanning on the bucket and rejoining the swarm.

Soon the rest of the bees were descending on the bucket.   A few were clustered on another small branch so Brian cut that branch and placed it in a second bucket with a non slitted screen top.

Unfortunately, we were pressed for time and had to get back to get the boys from school and bring them to a baseball game that Brian was coaching.  So after the bees were pretty much done congregating, but not all inside the screen yet,  we wrapped another screen loosely over the bucket, put the bees in the car and brought them home to rehive them.  Later that night, I went back to pick up the remaining stragglers, there were only about 50 bees left, but I scooped them up anyway and brought them home and rehived them with the rest of the bees.  I didn’t want anyone to be left behind.

The most complicated part of this capture ended up being the screening on top of the bucket.  Brian was worried about bees flying around in the car so when we placed the second non slitted screen over the bees some of the swarm got caught up in the screen. Every one still made it into the new hive safe and sound but this double screen made the hiving process a little more difficult.  So if you try this method it is best to wait until as many bees as possible go inside the bucket as we did the last time – it is much easier that way.  Rushing gets you nowhere with bees.

If you are wondering what other supplies you could use to catch a swarm please read this informative post called “What Do You Bring on a Bee Swarm Call?” by Mil Apostol from Urban Farm And Beehives.

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

  1. Bee Swarm Call 1 – “There’s A Bee Swarm On The Power Lines”
  2. Swarm Call 2 – “There’s Another Bee Swarm Near The Power Lines”
  3. Flame Duct Tape, A Rock, Orange String And Debbie’s Bee Swarm
  4. My First Bee Swarm
  5. Duct Tape, A Rock And A String Saved My Swarm

This post was shared on the Barn Hop.

Author: Anita Deeley

Anita Deeley is a biologist and former state bee inspector who maintains 100 honey bee hives. She is the beekeeper, writer, owner and creator of BeverlyBees.com. When she is not spending time with her girls (the bees), she enjoys being a wife to her beekeeping cohort, Brian and mother to 3 little boys (the beekeepers in training). Read more about Anita here >> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Connect with Anita on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Facebook here.

3 Comments

  1. Hey,
    Thanks for the mention, and I love the video. Gosh, how many hives do you have now?

    BTW, still groovin’ on that kim chi recipe you shared. I just ate it with some eggs that a neighbor brought over today!

  2. I have 6 hives at the moment – 5 on the roof and one in a friend’s yard. But as you know that can change at a moments notice. We have had so much rain here I expect there will more swarms this weekend once the rain stops. Maybe I’ll get another call. Hopefully my back ordered equipment will arrive in time.

    I’m so glad you love the kim chi! I bet it is wonderful with eggs. Yum!

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