A Tale of Three Swarms

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Well guys its swarming season season here in New Zealand, we have had a few days of summer weather and the bees have made good use of it. We attended three swarms in the Auckland Region.

Swarm 1 – Ranui 1

We got a call yesterday from Liz and Michael in Ranui, about a swarm that had located itself in a tree at the back of their property. It was good luck that they had a big ladder, as the bees were around eight metres in a tree, and wow what a huge swarm it was.

Gary climbs up to Swarm

I climbed up the ladder and cut the large branch, then I had to negotiate down the ladder holder a large branch full of multiple clusters of bees. We suspect that we had multiple queens in this swarm. Which is quite common in swarms.

We shook them into a hive and then quickly closed them up, the other bees walked in to the hive. Welcome to kiwimana Ranui 1.

Thanks to Michael and Liz for telling us about the swarm.

Swarm 2 – Henderson 1

Margaret and Debi Check out the swarm

This one was a little easier, it was at waist height in a small tree on the side of the home owners driveway.

As part of our Mentoring program we asked Debi to come long as well, she is a new beekeeper and was keen to see how we retrieve swarms.

My plan was to cut the branch that bees were on, and then shake them into a hive, but the home owner wasn’t too keen on this. Which was hard for him to communicate as english wasn’t his first language.

Anyway we used the swarm sheet and moved the bees around eight metres away into a new hive. It all went pretty well, we left the hives there, while we went to another swarm in Glendene (which had already been picked up by another beekeeper).

Swarm 3 – Glendene 1

We got another call from Lisa in Glendene about a swarm that had turned up on their property.

This swarm was a bit of a bugger, it was around five metres in a conifer tree. So it required me to cut a tunnel through the tree to reach the bees.

The bees were hanging on the end of a large branch over the footpath on the road. I cut the branch, thanks to the loan of a saw and the owners permission (thanks guys).

The Swarm Going into HiveI then slowly carried the branch with the bees through the tunnel, which wasn’t easy climbing backwards down a tree with a branch full of bees. We also wrapped up the swarm lightly with a sheet. This proved successful, much to delight if the gathering crowds in the street.

We returned later on after a BBQ to pick them up, the swarm was huge so we added a second full sized box onto them.

How are the Swarms doing now?

Well wow what a busy weekend it was. All three of these swarms are now housed in hives, at our new apiary on an organic farm in Waitakere. Its a great spot for them with all the pesticide free vegetables. We will write more about the farm later on.

All three hives are doing great, we tell you more in the an upcoming blog post.

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