Last week my dad needed me to venture back into the suburbs to help him capture an established hive of honeybees out of a house located in a neighborhood very close to his. We have read a lot about doing this and capturing swarms. The person offered to compensate us for our trouble hoping that we would give him a break on the mission. Little did he know that a hive of bees has a great value to a beekeeper as well. Not only that, we had never done this ourselves and gaining knowledge tops it all off.
The exterminators would have killed the whole hive and charged the man and someone would have to come and remove the siding from the overhanging eave that served as the entrance for some more money. The person could plainly see the hives in the backyard from the road so he gave my dad a call, and my dad called me.
The day was hot and there was hardly any shade at the house, and being in our bee suits and veils didn’t help at all either. The workspace was tiny where my dad tore at the sheets of hanging beeswax filled with brood and honey. We had to tear pieces of wax with brood and tie them to the frames to keep the young bees inside. We got maybe a third of the bees into the box but the remaining two-thirds were older bees that would not transport as easily, and the queen had managed to escape. We got cooked out and received a few stings in the process. My husband had come and I had to leave.
Richie, our beekeeper in training, came to help my dad finish the mission. Dad had to wait till dark to get the rest. He sprayed them with sugar water to prevent them from flying away, but it is perfectly harmless and the bees clean each other. Sugar water is used in transferring a packaged colony to a hive when they arrive to the beekeeper’s house. He decided to try this in hopes to successfully catch them and it not end in failure. It worked, and we was able save the bees and get a strong colony for our novice who is also starting his first hive in my dad’s bee yard. We had to move the bees more than five miles away or they would come back to the man’s house. Richie was a life saver–I live seventy miles away from my dad and we came up in the car. Now that we’ve done this and shared the news there is an exterminator who goes to our church who knows where there is another colony that needs to be rescued. We have to get more equipment and we get to do it again!