LA Backwards Beekeeper (and mentor extraordinaire) Roberta writes:
The Bee Rescue Hotline got a great call today from Melanie in Long Beach. It was the best kind of call because it was from someone who was thinking about beekeeping and then all of a sudden a swarm came to her doorstep! This one was bigger than a football and had landed 9 feet up in her Camellia tree.
I could tell from the call she wanted to keep them. It would be my first swarm of the year and their first hive. I took the nuc that Henry (also in Long Beach) had made and lent me (I had been saving it for just the right moment).
Both Melanie and her kids, especially her son Noah, thought the bees were great. The kids got the whole experience as they saw the bees swarming. Noah hadn't realized there were bees swarming by the tree and walked right through the swarm!
They all climbed the ladder to get a good look at the swarm before I lent Melanie my good suit so she could help rescue the swarm. Noah was the camera man. Once we cut the branch, we positioned the big branch over the nuc box and gave a few good whacks. There were alot of bees.
They immediately started fanning at the top of the nuc and at the entrance, which was a good sign that we had the queen. We scooped up some that had wound up on the side of the nuc. Then, in a few minutes, most had crawled in and we added some frames. Melanie looked pretty happy with her new bees and we found a perfect spot for them in her backyard.
I warned her that they may not decide to stay or the queen may not successfully mate. Either way she seems determined now to get her hive boxes and gear and rescue the next hive on her own! She needs a hive quick—the neighbors are already asking for honey!