Big year for swarming!

Boy are there alot of swarms this year..  I’ve heard of at least 20 different swarms in the course of 8-9 days in late May/early June.

All 3 of my over-wintered hives swarmed  – and I was home for all 3.  I was successful in catching two of them.  Here’s what happened:

Swarm 1:

  • Happened on a Wed at 11:30ish in Mid-May – conveniently they swarmed into a tree – about 5 feet off the ground.
  • I tried to get them into the box – but must have missed the queen because they all few off.
  • About a week later, I was behind the barn & heard lots of buzzing – but there were no flowers around… After searching a bit, I found that this swarm had moved into a rock maple tree about 100 yards from the apiary!..
Swarm 1 in a rock maple
Swarm 1 took up residence in a rock-maple tree!

Swarm 2

  • The day after swarm1 happened, I went out to the apiary about 1pm.. and there were bees everywhere..  The next hive decided to swarm!
  • Luckily they went into the same tree as swarm 1.. this time lining up and down the trunk of the tree!
swarm2 in the tree
Swarm2 on the trunk of a white pine


  • I was able to catch this swarm by putting an old table cloth on the ground & using my bee brush brushing about 1/2 of the bees into a nuc box. ..
  • Fortunately I got the queen & the rest of the bees followed about 20 minutes later…  As you can see from the picture, the bees were in their “come hither” pose.. letting their sisters know the queen was in the Nuc.
swarm2 fanning
Workers from swarm2 fanning to let others know where the queen is


  • About a week later, we were laying soaker hose in the garden on a really hot day.  The bees seemed to be loud that day – but with the heat, I figured they were just fanning to cool off the hive.
  • At about 2:30, I looked up and bees were pouring out of the hive.. and there were bees everywhere in the air!
Swarming bees
Bees starting to swarm
bees swarming in the air
All the black dots are bees!
  • This swarm took a while to decide where to settle.. they ended up in a birch tree about 25 feet in the air…
swarm landed in birch
The bees were at least 25 Ft in the air
  • Well.. we have been cutting wood for the winter so we decided the birch would be good  fire wood!..We cut the tree down so the bees could be reached from the ground.
catching the swarm
with the tree down we could reach the bees
  • I set up my nuc box on a ladder and started sweeping bees into it..  After 3 tries I finally got the queen & everyone followed within 30 minutes.
captured swarm
with the queen in the box, the others followed
  • This was a HUGE swarm..I put them in 2 mediums.. some decided to stay on the ladder near by – but eventually went in the hive..
swarm is in the hive
moving swarm into the hive

Today, all hives are doing well – they all have brood.. so the apiary stands at 5 hives!

swarms are all in the box
After an hour the apiary looked like this.. swarm3 is the hive on the right




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