Mary’s Swarm Lands in the Backyard Birdhouse
May 16, 2014 by solarbeez
…that’s when she called me.
May 1, 2014 mid afternoon…Photo by Mary Schamehorn. I’m glad Mary got a shot of this. When I got there, they were relatively peaceful.
4:38 pm…By the time I got there, the bees had settled within the birdhouse. I looked at it, determined I could remove it from the post, and got my tools together. Ha ha, the screws were rusty I couldn’t get them to budge before stripping them out. I had to remove the post too.
I placed it next to the newly assembled and baited Warre hive in my bee garden. I was hoping the bees would recognize a 4 star lodging with ample room to grow…they didn’t. I gave them plenty of time to reconsider, but they weren’t having it. I couldn’t leave them there, like that. I didn’t want to grind the brackets off or pry the birdhouse floor off because it would have been too stressful. “Dramatic and traumatic” are words I like to avoid in beekeeping.
Okay, I’ve got to move the birdhouse out of the bee garden because, well, we’ve got to be able to weed and water without the bees buzzing us. After two days, I pre-dug a post hole, waited til night and ‘posted’ the birdhouse among the ferns about 20 feet away. (Something most beekeepers would tell you NOT to do because the bees might not be able to find their way back to the hive.) I stuffed tissue paper into the entrance hole so the bees would notice something was different. They would have to make orientation flights all over again. I’m thinking that maybe the Warre was too close to the birdhouse…if I move it away, maybe they will want it more. My wife said I was crazy to think that. I says, ‘maybe,’ but we’ve got to get it out of the way.
Next day, the birdhouse/hive is in it’s new location. The bees are aware something is different because of the tissue paper stuffed in the entrance hole.
As my wife bicycled to town, I noticed a bunch of activity between the birdhouse and the Warre hive. I got my camera to document my findings…I was going to have it on camera so I could show her I knew what I was doing. They are fanning from the nasonov gland to indicate the queen is within. Wow, that didn’t take long. My wife is going to have to admit I was right, but I’ll be humble and admit it’s just a stroke of luck. But it was too good to be true. By the time she returned the crowd at the entrance was thinning and the bees rejected this hive once again.
Here is where they will stay. It’s the house they chose and while the location has changed a few times, the house is the same. I just wish I could have fastened it to a taller post.
Mary’s bees have settled in now. They have discovered the Poached egg meadowfoam.
Mary’s bee cleaning off her antennae. How do I know they are Mary’s bees? The abdomen colors are different. I’m happy to get new genetics in my bee yard.
Mayor Mary’s side of the story… (Scroll towards the bottom til you see the birdhouse swarm)