From 50 feet away I could hear a loud buzzing noise while standing in the back yard. I thought there was a bumble bee behind me, although when I turned around, I was by myself.

Then the more I listened, I recognized the sound to be that of bees flying, lots of bees. 

I turned and headed towards the hives to see if that was the source of the sound. I only made it a few steps when my gaze turned towards the sky. 

With cloudy skies, I could see thousands of bees darting around quite easily. They were forming a cloud about 30 feet high near a cluster of cedar trees. 

Within about two minutes I could see a tennis ball size group of bees clustering on a branch about 30 feed up.

Within about another 5 minutes, the cluster size grew to a soccer ball. Withing another 2 minutes the cluster was drooping and connected to the branch below it.

Within 10 minutes, the whole activity calmed down and the cluster was calm.

I called my dad and he came by to take a look.

I made artificial swarms of the two hives at my house to prevent swarms, and the other hive I've been checking every 7 days cutting swarm cells.

I'm guessing by the size and location of the swarm, it was from my hive. I won't be sure until I can get into them this week and see if one of the hives is significantly smaller.

When my dad came by we made a swarm catcher using a 2x4 board and an extendable tree trimmer pole attached to a hula hoop with a mesh laundry bag attached to it.

We used the hula hoop to hold the bag open, and the mesh bag was very light and allowed us to extend the pole up 30 feet without having too much weight up top.

We knocked the cluster, and the majority of the bees fell into the bag. Many of the bees took immediate flight and would resettle a few minutes later. 

We lowered the net and put them into a waiting nuc box.

Then we looked back at the branch, and another cluster of bees that were flying around from being shook, had resettled on the limb. So we sent the bag back up again to collect more bees.

After reviewing the limb again, there was another cluster re-forming. We sent the bag back up a 3rd time to collect more bees.

After reviewing the limb again, there was a smaller, but definitive cluster re-forming on the limb again, so another time, we sent the bag back up to collect more bees.

Here is a video of the last time we went after the remaining cluster of bees. Not many came down, but you can see the swarm net in use.

The bees were piling into the nuc box and the bees were fanning like crazy, so we're fairly confident that we collected the queen on the first collection, but figured why not try to get all the bees we could.

Once we were all done, there was so many bees in the nuc box that we couldn't get the lid on easily. Bees were escaping out the top, clinging to the sides, top and front of the hive. It seemed like we were cramming 8-10 frames of bees into a 5 frame box!

We finally got them into the box and put a feeder jar on top to encourage them to stay put until we could get a full size hive out of storage and move them into it in a day or so.

Overall the experience was wild. It was fast, and fun. 

See also: Swarm Update and  Swarm Update II.

Comments For This Post: (1) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Robin says...
Date:   May 3, 2016, 8:41 am

Great story and pics.   It must have been amazing.

Post your Comments!

Your Name: (Leave Blank for Anonymous)

(Feel free to link back to your site within your message!)

You should see a captcha above.
If you don't, your network or browser is likely blocking it.
Your comments will not appear until they're approved.