We Three Beeks now all have a brand new beekeeping merit badge! Jill, Stephanie, and I have all now captured (successfully??!?) a swarm. Or, more accurately, 8 9 swarms collectively, out of 3 original hives, over 6 7ish days.
(Note that this draft originally started April 6th after our first swarm and is still sort of incomplete, but I'm sick of it being in the queue, so I'm posting it)
Above is Stephanie and Jill on swarm-day 2, with the 5 hives that existed that day, but we'll get to that.
First...Since all this started happening, we've been asked quite a bit about what exactly a swarm is. Merriam Webster says this:
a great number of honeybees emigrating together from a hive in company with a queen to start a new colony elsewhere
So, an established colony will produce a lot of babies and a new queen, and when the conditions are right, the old queen will leave with a significant portion of the bees from the colony. This is how they reproduce. The swarms of bees came from our hives, trying to reproduce, and we did our best to capture them, in part so they won't be a nuisance to the neighbors, and in part so that we keep our bees—and have more hives!
That out of the way...here we go
Steph and I were out running errands last Saturday evening and decided to drop in on the bees since it was a super nice day. Everything looked fine to me, but Steph spotted a dark blob in a tree nearby the hives then yelled, "A SWARM!"
We were both in shorts and flip flops and had no bee gear with us, much less a place to put new bees, so in an adrenaline fueled flurry, we drove back to the house and got stuff together as quickly as we could.