A swarm in May
Is worth a load of hay.
A swarm in June
Is worth a silver spoon.
A swarm in July
Isn't worth a fly.
As is usual our seasons are not the same as depicted in most books, so perhaps a swarm in March is worth, let's see. . . What rhymes with March that is as good as a silver spoon???
Having a husband who will come and climb the shaky ladder with gigantic pruners, hang onto the branch loaded with bees with one hand while bracing the loppers against his body to make the cut, maintain control when the ladder starts sinking into the wet hill, and then successfully hive the swarm is priceless.
Anyway, because the wind was blowing so hard, K and I had to wait and chase the swarm for a long time. As soon as they looked as if they were going to settle a huge gust of wind would blow, the bees would change their minds, and we would wait and watch, watch and wait, wait and watch.
Once they finally settled in a fir tree branch that was hanging over the edge of a hill, we called Mr. W. We share bee keeping duties, and since these bees came out of that persnickety hive that has given me trouble in the past, I decided this swarm was his. Wasn't that nice of me?
Before you think I'm mean, let me assure you that bees don't normally sting during swarming. I suppose they don't really have anything to protect. I took that first picture without a zoom lens and without a bee bonnet. K took the rest. We never donned our beekeepers suits.
While I did have a hive built and painted, it was no where close to being ready for bees since it was in the shed with no frames. While Mr. W captured the swarm, I got the box ready and decided where to put it. With a swarm from one of our hives, we need to make sure the new hive placement was not too close to the mother hive. I don't like drifting bees who jump from hive to hive, so I make sure to place the new hive well away so there is no confusion.
Once you set your location and get your hive placed, add about six frames (not all ten) so that you will have room for the bees. Sprinkle the bees with water so they won't fly, then shake them in the hive.
Close the hive, reduce the entrance.
Now all there is to do is to keep a close watch and provide sugar water until they build out the first level of wax foundation and start laying and putting aside honey.