Capturing a Honey Bee Swarm, in pictures

A couple of days after I put out the swarm trap, a swarm arrived in a buzzing melee on our quiet neighborhood street. Our neighbor Mike called over to let Jenny know that a swarm had balled up high in a tree in front of his place. I got the news by text, and arrived home a few hours later to find my wife standing guard, with the hive trap placed nearby. The bees were up high indeed, but I got the majority of them into a bucket, into the hive box, and then watched as they called in the remainder by standing on the edge of the box, fanning their wings. They were releasing a pheremone from a special gland -- the nasonov gland -- which allows the remaining roaming bees to find the colony. By the time the sun set all the bees were in the box.

All photo credit belongs to Jenny. While I was encased in protective clothing, she braved the possibility of a sting or three to get most of these shots.

Later the next day, a lot of the colony was outside of the hive box for a couple of hours. The bees flew in tight spirals, up and away from the hive, then zoomed directly back. They were making training flights, fixing the location of the hive relative to the sun, the local flora, and who knows what other details indiscernable to the human senses. They're here to stay. I found one in the front garden, plumbing the depths of the sage blossoms. Watching them do their work is always mesmerizing. I hope they survive and thrive in their new home.


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