Way back in the day, The Farmer kept bees and extracted his own honey. But way back a few less years, the hives died off, and The Farmer moved on to other pursuits.
So these days someone comes and leaves bee hives for the growing season. He extracts the honey and pays “rent” to us in honey, and then we have honey to sell.
Recently, The Farmer’s teens have been looking at raising bees for themselves. They got the chance to get a hive for “free” when a swarm appeared on the property.
Bees typically swarm when they feel the hive is too small. They have a way to designate a new offspring to become a Queen. She will stay behind and manage the existing hive. The experienced queen takes her share of the workers, and the swarm heads off to find a new home.
We have had swarms in the past, and they are often in tree branches. This makes them hard to reach. Finding a swarm close to the ground should make the hive easier to catch.
The secret to catching them is to convince the Queen that you have a better home for them.
Since the beam with the swarm was nice and long, we just jostled a bee hive (technically, a “super”) next to the beam, and shook the bees in.
(Yes, it is important to do this barefoot so that the bees don’t hear your shoes squeaking as you approach them.)
Well, unfortunately, the queen did not end up in the box. She was on a piece of wire rather than the beam. So she took off and the swarm followed her. About twenty feet away she found the seat to our old-fashioned hay mower.
Well, it is still close to the ground, so we can try again.
Teen son number 2 decides that he does not care if the bees hear him coming. He bundles up and sweeps the swarm into the super.
Mission accomplished? We hope so.