We have had a really great start to the swarm season here in the Wheeling area. There are no empty Dave’s Bees originated hives. The dead out was filled with a great swarm retrieved in a cardboard box and it is doing well. Then we got the swarm I’m holding
from my friends’ apiary when it swarmed out of their KTBH.
Dave holding a swarm from friends' KTBH
We put that in an empty bait hive since their apiary was growing faster than the hives and it absconded the next day. That was not a big problem as they had a bait hive up in the area and it had a colony move in. My friends frantically built another KTBH and the bait hive colony is sitting on top of the new KTBH and is scheduled to go in on Sunday June 11. Then the same friends got a second swarm in the yard and that got put in the only remaining KTBH from Dave’s Bees. But the story is not over; got another nice swarm in a bait hive that is going to a fledgling natural beekeeper with a brand spanking new KTBH on Monday June 12. Last but not least…we put our old rickety hive out as a bait hive and 4 days later we had new tenants.
This bait hive had a swarm move in 4 days after we put it out.
This presents a new problem for us; finding room in the car to transport them to Maine.
Speaking for myself…that’s it for this swarm season!
We presently have just 2 Langstroth hives with no intention to expand prior to moving to Maine. These 2 hives actually went to Maine and back last fall and wintered well back here in Ohio. That leaves the 2 populated Langstroth hives and 4 populated KTBHs that were sold to folks in Ohio and Pennsylvania. I have contacted the new owners; only 1 KTBH didn’t make it. So that is 7 out of 8 that made it. The KTBH that died probably succumbed to the Varroa Mites. However the bees left plenty of honey behind and the new owners are enjoying eating it. And…just this week we received a swarm call and retrieved a nice swarm and repopulated the empty KTBH…all is well. Much thanks to the homeowner that called us to come get the bees. They went to a natural beekeeper and have a great new home where they can care for themselves as nature intended. Now there is one Dave’s Bees KTBH that was sold empty and it is presently set up as a bait hive and waiting for bees; next swarm goes to that hive. Yes that’s right…If you are the owner of that hive… its official… we are targeting your hive next.
Saturday morning started early at a remote bait hive site. I met with the landowner who wanted to go along for fun and off we went. The bees were nestled in the crotch of a tree and ratcheted in with a strap. The only problem was the poison ivy and Virginia creeper vines were all around the hive. And as usual there was a lurker in the leaves. I stapled a screen over the entrance and carried the hive down the ladder very carefully; it takes both hands and a very slow pace to get down in my condition. I will not use a ladder next year; it is just too much. But if you are young and healthy and don’t mind climbing, you should put the hives in a tree.
Bait Hive 1 on Station
As I was coming down the ladder I kept hearing a bee but couldn’t locate it. I keep telling myself that doing the windmill while on the ladder was not an option. Perhaps if I tense up enough she won’t be able to get her stinger in. I made it safely to the ground and to the vehicle with the hive. My friend helped me lift the ladder on the vehicle and just as the ladder was going into place….Ding Dong and it wasn’t Avon calling. Turns out the bee went down my neck and must have been on my shirt. When my shirt tightened on her she sent me my greeting.
The bait hive is now sitting on the Kenya top bar hive named “Robin Egg”… now we have 7 hives.
Bait hive 1 on "Robin Egg" KTBH
Since the ladder was loaded and we only had one more bait hive out I figured my brother and me should bring the last one home…off we went. Much to my surprise it was populated with bees! That’s 3 for 3! It was daylight and the bees were flying so the trip home would have to wait until the next morning.
Sunday morning by 6:30 the last bait hive is home and sitting on KTBH named “Black Raspberry”.
Bait hive 4 sitting on KTBH "Black Raspberry"
Hardware cloth 1 - critters 0
Click on any photo to blow it up. In the picture above you will see the hardware cloth inside the entrance. The damage was probably from a squirrel. The hardware cloth may have caused it to quit chewing.
Here they both are as they wait to go in the permanent hives.
Bait hives waiting for transfer to KTBHs
All 8 hives have bees…No vacancy at Dave’s Bees Apiary!