A False Swarm . . . Sort Of

Author: Meera, June 23, 2015

When I heard my neighbors banging on a pan with a wooden spoon, I sprang into action. It is what we do when a honeybee hive swarms.



Healthy bees on a frame

Healthy bees on frames



As it turned out, my bees had swooped from the hive with their queen into the front yard, past the plum tree and were circling above the blood orange. My neighbors, who were in their courtyard, saw it and began the banging to confuse the bees so they would alight close to their home.



I ran out and, with direction from my beekeeper neighbor, placed the hive near the orange tree. I’d already placed eight frames with wax and my neighbor brought over two with honey on the comb. All seemed to go as planned. We shook the tree and the bees dropped into the prepared hive.



My neighbor went home, and I went back to my computer and the novel I’m writing. Thirty minutes later, the bees were swarming again. I ran out and banged on the pan. They settled down. All seemed well, except for ants that had been in the orange tree and now were in the hive box.



Frames of honey, fresh from the hives

Frames of honey before the wax caps are opened and the honey is drained or spun out



Around nine o’clock at night, I sprayed the outside of the hive with Windex and wiped it with paper towels. I repeated the procedure around the perimeter of the box, replaced the lid, and carried the hive box back to the apiary believing all would be well. It wasn’t.



This morning, I ran out and suited up in my beekeeper’s outfit and gloves, opened the new hive box, and looked in. To my dismay, all the bees were gone.



My neighbor later told me over coffee that the bees had likely returned to their old hive as small swarms sometimes do.  So . . .  I suppose I may be repeating this whole scenario at some point in the days ahead. My neighbor reminded me that the weather has been strange, and the weather affects the bees’ behavior.



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