16 November 2013

baby swarm surprise

checking for eggs in the sun-comb

baby swarm in-flight

white traces of comb in the bush

swarming the smoker

blurry cluster

smoking out the remaining cluster to encourage them to find their queen in the new hive

a fanning frenzy is always a welcome sight

the cluster was between the two grass bunches on the right, their new home is next door

pink mountain house

Kwao and I did the feeding rounds for the hives tucked around the town before switching vehicles and heading through Robin's Bay to feel the ten hives on-top the mountain. As we were feeding the last hive, we noticed that bees flying everywhere. First Kwao thought maybe just an orientation flight since they weren't really going anywhere, just circling but it was quite late in the day for that. We stood there for a few minutes, trying to figure out what in the world had gotten into them as they started to cluster around one of the hives and the smoker (lemongrass was burning and bees are attracted to the scent). Then Kwao noticed a small cluster in the bush right behind the hives and on further investigation, there were white traces of honeycomb starting to be built on the leaves and we realized that they had been there for a few days. A baby swarm! Kwao grabbed one of the empty top-bar hives and placed it right next to the cluster. We took a bar of brood from another top-bar hive before shaking the cluster in. Kwao got the queen in the hive with the first shake and quickly shook some more bees in before closing it up. We took two more bars of brood and nectar from different hives and placed them next to the first comb, along with a bag of sugar water. The bees were fanning furiously, wild with the excitement of the queen and a nest of brood and food, welcoming their sisters home. Hopefully they like it enough to stick around. It's these little creatures that run the world.

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