Swarmy Day in May

Wednesday afternoon I went down to the bee yard and found this:

This is usually called bearding - and it is NOT always a sign of an impending swarm. Often it just means that it's hot, and maybe a little bit crowded inside.

It’s a little early in the season for this degree of bearding, but it is a big strong hive that I hope makes lots of honey.  Anyway, I plan to look into it as soon as I can – in a day or two.

On Friday morning I arrived prepared to do whatever needs to be done to deal with it, but as soon as I got there I saw this:

Fortunately they didn’t go far…

This swarm is about 4 feet long and 10 feet up a tree.

I thought you might find this interesting, but don’t ask me how to keep them from swarming – I wish I knew. I did catch that one though.

So – Bee Keeping in May – Try to keep them from swarming. Also, consider doing a split or two.

Good luck with your bees.

BTW, in case you were wondering how you snag a swarm that is up in a tree like this one. I did it with a bucket-on-a-stick cobbled up in the heat of the moment…

swarm retrieval bucket
drywall mud bucket + paint roller extension handle + a scrap of wood = a handy tool for scraping a swarm from a high place.