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Agrarian Harvest

Wholesome. Organic. Experience. All about our farm, food, and small farm life.

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hive

Swarm Finds Us

 

Last year we captured a swarm, put them in a brand new hive and were so excited to have honeybees. Apparently, they were not impressed with our hive because they left sometime during the summer. We were disappointed, but left our hive set up thinking that one day we would have bees again. The positive-thinking farmer told me that maybe it would attract more honeybees and a swarm would find the box and make it home. My response was, ”Yeah right, that’s a long shot.” Since then, we got a used hive box and supers with comb already in it and set it next to our new box.

Well, once again, I was proven wrong. We had a swarm find us and move into one of our hives, the used hive with comb and honey still in it. It was the most amazing sight! I walk around the house to hear a loud buzzing sound. I started looking around wondering what the heck is making that sound. Then I see it and know immediately that is is swarm of bees even though I have never seen one before. The air between our apricot trees and the hives was full of bees, thousands upon thousands. I have never seen that many bees at one time. I walk out to the apricot tree look up and there is a large ball of bees clinging on one of the limbs. For about 15 minutes, they continue to fly in a loop between the apricot tree and the hives. Then they started settling in and on the hive boxes, covering the outside of the box and hanging in a large ball from the tin that is covering the top. It was such an amazing sight, it is one of those once in a lifetime moments.

The bees eventually settled inside the box and now they are busy flying back and forth between the hive and all the plants that are in bloom. We are so happy to have bees on the farm again. It is great walking about the farm, hearing and seeing them at work and I imagine the plants are smiling too.DSCN9951

Capturing a Swarm

Another day, another experience. We have been reading and learning about honeybees for three years now and even considered buying a hive of bee this spring. Last year we had a local beekeeper put a hive on our farm. We loved having the bees be a part of the farm. Then this week we had the opportunity to capture a swarm and make them our bees. So we jumped in the pickup and set out to have a new experience.

20180507_164717The swarm of honeybees were on a lilac in Kimberly. We went to town to buy bee boxes, full of excitement and a little anxiousness, not sure what to expect when we got to the bees. The bees were there for three days and we felt they were waiting for us. Actually, we are wondering if they were going to make a home right there on the lilac brand. They had started building comb, which was surprising to see. We didn’t expect to see that when we swept them into the box.

We backed up to the lilac, set our deep super box on the ground with the base and to our surprise some of the bees that were buzzing around started going in. We cut the branch and shook part of the bees in the box. A large clump still clung to the branch and each other. So we used our bee brush to gently brush them off the branch and into the box and put the lid on. This whole time the farmer and farm wife didn’t have on any bee coveralls, glove or hat. In our regular clothes, with bees buzzing all around us, even landing and crawling on us. And not getting stung. There were several flying around so we hung out for a couple of hours until it cooled down and they went in the box. We taped cardboard over the opening and took them home to our farm.

They have been busy making their home and comb. We’ve been feeding them sugar water so they don’t have to work so hard to find food when they are working really hard to get home built. Everyday we spend time watching them and the hive. It seems they are venturing farther from the hive everyday. It has been a great experience and love being so close to the bee. Getting to stand in the middle of them, feeling we are part of their community and they a part of our well-being and the functioning of our farm.

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