Received a call around noon from Ellen of Menlo Park that a swarm landed on her bush. She provided me with some details while I was on my way home from Costco with the family. We had a weird weather day today, off and on rain and sunshine mixed plus a good steady cool wind. So I told Ellen that the swarm might leave in a very short time because of the conditions. As I got home the phone rang and sure enough the swarm flew off.
With no swarms to catch I took the family to the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo (where they will be installing Buzzz shortly, insect exhibit and I heard they are putting in a honey bee observation hive!). While I was parking I received a voicemail from Ellen saying that the bees have returned. This was what she said in the voicemail, “The bees have returned with a vengeance. This time is the real deal. They’ve returned with a lot more of them.” I called my parents to come to the Museum, my mom would help my wife with the kids while my dad and I headed back to my place to pick up the truck with our bee removal equipment.
We arrived shortly after 3 PM and Ellen showed us where the swarm was. This was a nice sized swarm. About 3 to 4 pounds worth of bees for sure. They were situated well inside the bush so we had to do some trimming before we reached the cluster of honey bees.
While we were trimming the bush to reach the bees one cut shook the branch and about 1/3 of the bees fell to the grass below. We searched for the queen there but didn’t find her. I placed the hive there and the bees marched in on their own. Then we worked the main swarm of bees and below is the outcome. We cut the main branch and brought them out to find the queen.
There were so many bees we hived them in two mediums.
While my dad held onto the swarm I gently scooped the bees off of the cluster looking for the queen. It took a while to find the queen but I finally did but she quickly buried herself into the heart of the cluster of bees. So I continue to scoop off bees and look for her. She was deep inside and I finally found her again when all the bees were almost in the box. She tried to run again but this time I blocked her with my other hand, then finally caught her in the Mann Lake queen catcher. From there we put her on a frame and allowed most of the bees to come into the box before we took them home and headed for dinner.
She’s a beauty. Nice golden color and a long but skinny abdomen.
Thanks Ellen for calling us to save our local honey bees!