Collected a swarm today!

This morning I had a call from the OBKA swarms officer to say there was a swarm I could collect in Chalgrove near Abingdon. When I got there it was quite a small one, but nice and accessible, about head-height in a laurel bush. Easy to shake off into a box and it didn’t take too long for nearly all the stragglers to join the rest.

We strapped them in the back seat and drove back to Oxford. Up at the allotment I rigged up a ramp and knocked them on to the sheet. It was fascinating to see them start to move upwards, and then it was like a one-way Piccadilly – everyone scrambling up till there was quite a jam at the entrance holes (I had two open). Lots of fanning going on too. I spotted the queen a couple of times but didn’t get a photo of her. She was unmarked and looked fine tho got a bit left behind at first.

This evening I popped up for a look through the window, and they are all clustered up on the top bars (will six be enough for the couple of weeks we’re on holiday or should I put more in?) and seem peaceful. I left bits of old comb, and the lemongrass oil wad in there – is that OK?

For now I’m happy! Hoping that although they are not that many, they will soon begin to expand and thrive.

I’ll try and upload some photos – update: see here for photos.

Helen

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One Response to Collected a swarm today!

  1. Paul says:

    I would remove the lemongrass oil wad and old bits of comb, but leave that until next time you open the hive – don’t meddle or you may scare them away. These items have done their job as attractants, though it wasn’t relevant in the end, and the comb could conceivably carry parasites like wax moth.

    I would give them another 3 bars or so if you will be away for 2 weeks. Although from the size this sounds like a cast rather than a swarm, i.e. it has a virgin queen who will not begin laying immediately, they will gather nectar and form comb at a prodigious rate as the recent weather has led to huge nectar flows.

    I hope you were all dressed up in spacesuit in order to impress whoever owned the laurel bush!

    Like

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