While the beginning of the season proved to be fairly rough, starting the year with only 5 of our original 8 hives, the spring has proven to be a lucrative time for our apiary. Aside from splitting one of our own hives, and being given any swarms produced by the bees of a friend of ours, Chris has also joined a bee rescue group that responds to swarm calls made in the surrounding areas. We have split a few of the larger swarms, adding three virgin queens purchased from a close friend, to some of them, and we have also lost (and then gained again, more on this in a later post) one of our hives from last year. We are currently sitting at 18 hives, all but 5 gained within the past month. It has been quite a busy month, with me finishing out my semester of grad school, increasing the garden and planting all of our spring plants, and having to drop everything at a moment’s notice to retrieve swarms, sometimes located 15 feet in a tree.
The last swarm we picked up was called in by a woman living in the next small town over. There was a “ball of bees about the size of a basketball” in her crawl space and she was trying to get someone to come take them away before her husband killed them. We pulled in and checked it out. They were nestled into the crook of the opening of her crawl space and had been there for probably 48 hours. They had decided to make that space their new home and had begun building comb, which the queen had started to lay eggs in. They had also begun to dig into, and pull out, the insulation under the floor joists, and if she had waited much longer to call this extraction would have been a much more invasive cut-out. We were able to scrape them into our Nuc we had brought and bring them home. They are now happily flying in and out of their new hive.
Stay tuned for more updates on the various swarms we have caught over this past month, and subscribe to our patreon for extended versions of these posts!!