Palo Alto Bee Swarm Removal – Bowman International School Bees

This afternoon I received a call from Erin saying that there’s a swarm of bees hanging infront of their school and if I was able to come out and rescue them, and hopefully before student pick up hour. I was supposed to run to another bee removal in San Jose but this one was higher priority as the bees were very close to children. I arrived in about 15 minutes after the call and this is what I saw. A huuuuge swarm, probably a good five pounds of bees or so.

My dad was not able to make this swarm call so I had to do it myself. It was a challenge because another pair of hands always make things much easier. So I improvised and set two boxes together and then my bee boxes right above that. I was able to lower about half of the bee swarm cluster into the box. Then it was just cutting a single branch dropping all the bees into the box. And then quickly placing the screen cover on to prevent any bees from coming out. Did all of this with a great audience watching and cheering (students, teachers, and parents). Also did a quick Q&A with the students on answering some of their questions about our honeybees as I love to educate.

Took this photo when we were looking for the queen bee. It took almost one hour to catchΒ  her because there were just so many bees to dig through. I did see her once before but she dug herself into the pile of bees and disappeared.

And here she is, our mighty queen bee.

After catching and caging the queen bee we placed everything together. Currently they are in three medium hive boxes but the bottom has zero frames. Will be removing that one tomorrow or Friday. It was just because there were too many bees when we poured them onto the two mediums, many didn’t move down into the frames.

Thanks to the Bowman International school students and staff for calling us to save our local honeybees!

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5 Responses to Palo Alto Bee Swarm Removal – Bowman International School Bees

  1. Todd says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of bees! Jack, wondering what you do with the queen once you’ve caught her? Also, why do you catch her? Do you like to verify that you’ve definitely got a queen? Is it for the blog? It’s pretty fun to finally see and catch her within all those bees?! πŸ™‚

    Todd

  2. Todd,
    I catch the queen and lock her up in the queen catcher for two days. Then I release her. Sometimes if you do not, and her mind is still to swarm, you will lose them. I’ve done this with great success, same with other bee removers online. And yes, it’s always good to verify I have the queen and puts a smile on our face that we got her. πŸ™‚

  3. Todd says:

    I’m learning something new everyday. Just to let you know, the swarm that I hived from your call is doing fantastic. I went in today and they have starting drawing straight and gorgeous white comb. I run foundationless frames as well. It’s always good to see the bees moving in the right direction πŸ™‚ I didn’t see the queen, but I did see single eggs in all of the cells that were drawn. I gave them a pollen patty and some sugar syrup to help with all the wax building and new larvae. I don’t feed my bees except when/if starting a new colony from a package or a swarm like this. I’ll leave them alone for a few weeks until I’m ready to move them to a new location.
    Have a great weekend!

    Todd

  4. Glad the swarm is doing good! And yes, love it when they drawn some very straight comb. πŸ™‚
    I’m not against feeding but I would never feed a swarm or bees at this time of the year. The main flow is ON with citrus maybe in a week or so. All the swarms I’ve caught in these past 3 wks have been bringing in a ton of nectar. No need to feed.

    Weekend is going to be super. I’m sure there will be a ton of swarms. Today there were some. My weekend will be full of bee activity inbetween kid events. πŸ™‚ You have a good one too.

  5. Todd says:

    That’s why they say, “Ask 3 beekeepers the same question and you’ll get 4 different answers!” πŸ™‚
    Nothing wrong with experimenting. Since the nectar flow is on, I am interested to see how much of the sugar syrup they consume. Beekeepers always tell me they if they don’t want it and a nectar flow is on, they won’t eat it. We’ll see about that! And if they do, there is nothing wrong with helping them get a head start. After one gallon, they’ll have more stores and still be bees. I whole-heartedly agree with letting them draw natural comb, as I think a creature that’s been around longer than us (and will probably outlast us too!) knows what it’s doing in regards to its home design.

    Interestingly enough, the difference in micro-climates and forage astounds me. The hive in my backyard was the same size as one in Los Altos at the start of this year, but my LA hive is pulling away. I think it gets a few degrees warmer on average, and this attributes to an earlier nectar flow. Plus, where I have it in the hills, many properties have amazing landscaping – and one house in particular – has an acre of solid wildflowers! They overwintered with 5 frames of bees and now have 2 medium supers being filled with honey!

    RIght, off to photograph another wedding!

    Todd

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