Step 1 - Read books, watch Youtube clips.
Step 2 - Find swarm. Entice someone who’s caught bees before to give you a hand.
Step 3 - Suit up and place box under swarm. Say a prayer.
Step 4 - Cut branch or brush bee swarm into box.
Step 5 - Seal for transportation.
Step 6 - Open new hive, unseal the box, and tip the bees into hive - branch, queen and all.
Step 7 – Gently shake bees off branch
Step 8 – Cross your fingers that the queen is in the hive, and that the bees take to their new home!
We’ve been waiting for a call about a swarm of bees needing a new home, and this week it finally came (thanks for the call Mark)! So off we bravely trotted to Cringila, the suburb at the heart of backyard food production in the Illawarra, first time swarm catchers with a ‘how to’ list in our hot little hands. Luckily another experienced local bee keeper joined in the fun and we helped each other catch two swarms, one for each of us, just before the sun was setting - thanks Suri!
Inspired by the art of natural topbar bee keeping advocated by the Barefoot Bee Keeper we built a top bar hive a while back and hope the bees like their new home! They seem to be settling in well, and haven’t flown away, which would have happened if we didn’t catch the queen.
We’re really looking forward to looking after these beautiful, productive creatures, and hope you will enjoy our occasional topbar bee keeping posts! Have you had any experience keeping bees?