Tackling a Swarm Solo!

As I was wrestling with a new stitch in my beginners crochet class, I received a message from Andrea informing me that there was a swarm in a tree at the bottom of Bob’s plot. Understandably, she wasn’t sure what to do but knew that I helped Steve and Phil out with the bees. I replied straight away and told her I would be down on site in half an hour and tell anyone who is on site to stay away from the swarm. The majority of times, a swarm is only dangerous when disturbed. Fortunately, Andrea had warned the only other person on site.

When I arrived, I grabbed my bee kit from the shed and put it on. I wasn’t entirely sure where the swarm was as it could have easily moved since Andrea had last seen it. Walking down the middle path, I heard a loud and persistent buzzing. Looking ahead, I spotted a branch hanging down over Bob’s compost bin. As I got closer, the reason for the branch hanging down became obvious. The weight of the swarm was pulling it down until it was almost in the compost bin!

Having seen that Phil and Steve had used both polystyrene hives catching two more swarms. All that was left in the bee shed was the wooden swarm box Steve made several years ago. Slowly, I put the swarm box underneath the branch, balancing it on a pallet Bob uses as a lid for the compost bin. Next was the scary bit. Reaching up, I held the branch, took a deep breath and gave the branch a huge shake. The swarm dropped into the box with a surprising thud which was immediately followed by an incredibly angry buzz. There’s nothing like that noise to send shivers down your spine, even if you are completely safe in your bee suit!

Several minutes later, the majority of the bees were still in the box. This meant that I had successfully managed to shake the queen into the box. Carefully, I put the lid of the box on and left the bees to work out how to use the door to get inside.

Over in the Community Garden, I found a plastic box and two bricks. I set the plastic box upsidedown on the bench next to one of the poly hives. The two bricks would be used to weigh down the swarm box lid. Back over on Bob’s plot, I found almost all the bees had gone inside the swarm box. Gingerly, I closed the door and picked up the box. It’s a strange feeling knowing you are holding thousands of bees in a small wooden box. Cautiously, making sure I didn’t trip or nudge the box, I walked to the bench in the Community Garden. Placing the swarm box on the stand and balanced the bricks on top. Hoping I hadn’t angered the bees by carrying the box, I slowly opened the box door to let the bees out.

My next job was to message Phil to let him know what had happened. I also messaged Andrea to let her know the bees had been caught. Before I took my bee suit off, I carefully checked my suit for bees. The last thing I wanted was to get stung by a rogue bee clinging to my suit! Happily, there were no bees, so I took off my suit and packed it away. Feeling rather proud of myself, I headed home.

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