After my sister’s family informed me of scouts checking out the old hives on their balcony but left, I set out a swarm trap hoping to lure them back and into my trap. It has been about 1.5 weeks with no activity and finally yesterday my brother-in-law told me a swarm moved in.
We had dinner at my sister’s place tonight, also in Los Altos, so my dad and I checked out the swarm trap. We noticed stable bee traffic with some bringing in pollen and when we went to feel the weight of the trap it was heavier than when empty. So we rushed back to my place, picked up a hive, my camera, queen catchers, and a few tools and headed back to hive this newly settled swarm.
A typical small sized after-swarm.
We took out the piece of old comb that was attached to a branch and the queen walks right up and I catch her right off the bat. A tiny queen and again I’m sure she’s a new queen that might not have been mated yet, and definitely an after-swarm as the population is very small. We shook the bees inside the trap into the hive and we were set to release the queen. I gave the honor to my dad this time but while he was getting ready, he must have gently squeezed onto the queen catcher, opening it just enough for this tiny queen to get out. She crawls on the highest point of his hands and I see her fly off! I wasn’t sure were she went but after putting the comb section down I stood up to look for her. Found her right away all by herself on the edge of the balcony. I grab the queen catcher quickly and catch her before she can again fly off. This time I am releasing her, putting her well into the hive and touching the comb before I open the queen catcher. She walks out and we slammed the cover on just incase she decides to leave again.
The Queen, center-top.
After releasing the queen and placing the ladder in position we strapped down the hive and left it there. Will not pick up the hive until maybe mid-week after this rain passes. No rush since it’s my sister place. My dad also prepared an area of her backyard to place two hives there as my yard has 14 hives total now, way too many!