Your Bee Rescue Hotline at work: Valley Village

Andrea (above) in Valley Village had a swarm in her front yard, and her crafty organic gardener Travis called the Backwards Beekeepers Hotline.

I had a semi-free afternoon (and we're hungry for more bees), so I headed out for my first solo swarm capture.

I found the swarm in what Travis had called a "wax-leaf shrub" (I am an ignoramus about plant names) about two feet off the ground. I sprayed the bees with sugar water, then wedged a nuc box (with five frames in it) under the swarm and gave the shrub a good shake.

The sugar water is definitely a good move. It gives the bees something to do and makes them clump together nicely so you can scoop them up with a piece of cardboard and dump them in the box.

I spent a fair amount of time scraping as many bees as I could off the inside branches of the shrub, then noticed that the bees in the box seemed to be sticking around. I started to get a good feeling that I'd managed to get the queen in there.

I put the lid on the box, moved it about a foot away, and opened the bottom entrance. Soon I noticed bees congregating around the hole and fanning like crazy. More and more bees began descending and heading right into the box. Virtually none were leaving. Score!

About 90 minutes after starting work I wrapped up the box in a sheet and loaded it into my car. The bees are now exploring their new Silver Lake garden. Here's hoping they stick around.