Swarm in The Garden

Early Saturday morning saw our usual shopping to trip to Harrogate Bee club to restock on bee supplies. On my return I was greeted by my wife saying there’s a swarm in the garden. As I got to the garden the air was full of bees and the buzzing sound was everywhere. They slowly moved from one side of the garden to the other and finally settled in a neighbours tree about 20ft up. My first thoughts were they are from my large Buckfast colony.

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As they were 20ft up I would need to cobble together some equipment. This consisted of a landing net with an old tee-shirt inside with the arm and neck holes tied up and a couple of landing net pole taped together. I struggled getting anywhere near the tree in the neighbour’s garden, as it was surrounded by thick brambles and a few smaller trees. I only managed to get a few hundred bees in my makeshift net. I decided to give up there and approach it from my side of the garden. With my ladders and the net I could just reach them from my side. So there I was up a ladder armed with my net, the first try didn’t see many bees in the net. I needed something to shake the branch. Second try now armed with a mop, with the net under the bees I shook the branch with the mop. Result, the net come down with thousands of bees inside. As I poured them into the Nuc box I spotted an unmarked queen. I continued to collect the bees with my net and on the 4th go I spotted another unmarked queen. She was quickly caught and put in a cage, I could use her later to make a split. Bees were fanning at the Nuc entrance and hour later, most of them had settled in the Nuc box.

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On inspection of my hives we had no swarm cells, queen cell or missing bees, so this swarm didn’t come from my apiary.

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