Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Bees are Swarming!

Last Tuesday (I know that's a long time ago, it's been a busy week!) I was finishing up with the baking for the afternoon market, when our friends ( drove in and told us that "the bees are going crazy by the barn!" Weslene has one hive and it is beside the old barn just near the driveway. So we went outside to find a cluster of bees in an apple tree not far away, they were SWARMING! Here is a picture of the swarm when we first found it.

Luckily Andy had just built a bee hive, known as a "Top Bar Beehive" (to learn more about this user-friendly, very inexpensive way to keep bees, visit the Barefoot Beekeepers website at A few weeks ago, Mike and Paula told us about them, and then invited us over for bee-a-palooza. At bee-a-palooza, Paula and I stayed upstairs to make lunch, talk about...well just about everything, and watch the boys, while Mike, Andy and Forrest went downstairs to build the hives (they're so crafty!). I digress...

So, we split up, I got the camera and my bee book, Andy and Forrest got the hive, and Paula stayed with the little ones. Andy got all suited up and grabbed ladders, saws, snippers, and anything else he thought we might need. He climbed up the ladder and grabbed hold of the branch with the swarm of bees on it. I climbed up the tree (the same tree with the swarm of bees on it, only I didn't have a bee suit as we could only find one!) and sawed the branch with the bees on it. Unfortunately, it was a lovely crab apple tree that Andy's grandfather had planted. Luckily, when Wes came home, she agreed that cutting the branch was the best thing to do.

After the branch was sawed off, Andy (like a champion) carried the branch to the hive, positioned the swarm, then HIT the branch so the cluster of bees fell off of the branch and into the hive! It was amazing!

When a hive swarms, it means that there are too many bees for that one hive to support, so they start raising a new queen. When she is ready, they kick out the old queen and half of the bees go with her. The cluster of bees we found were all worker bees that were protecting their queen. Each bee filled up with honey before leaving the hive, so that they could start building a new one somewhere else (this makes it really hard for them to sting, think about how fast you move after Thanksgiving Supper!). Luckily, when we tapped the swarm into the hive, the queen fell in with the rest of the bees. It seems like they like their new home in the blackberry field next to our veggies. It has been a very damp June, so we are hoping that they are able to find enough nectar to build an adequate home for themselves.
If you are in the Farmington area, you can get honey for a good price at the Sandy River Farmers Market, online at or at the Better Living Center. All is local, yummy, and costs less than what you get at the super market!

Needless to say, we were very late to the Tuesday farmers market, so if you were one of those waiting for us, we apologize!

That was the excitement of our week. Other than that, it has been rainy. I've been trying to combat the weed problem in the blackberry field, but it's really hard to do in the rain, not to mention, it's not very good for the plants.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I just found your blog, and love it! My neighbors have bees, and we are interested in getting some. We have a mini farm/garden/orchard and love it! The weeds are winning this year though.... do you ever find that the bees sometimes turn aggressive?