A Swarm In An Unlikely Place

Some of you may know I work at Starbucks, and just transferred to a new location. The new store is its own building and has big windows all the way around it in the lobby, so its full of light and you can look outside all day long. On Saturday I was on drive through register all morning, which means I was the one standing by the window and handing out drinks to people in their cars. Towards the end of my shift everyone got very excited all at once, and looked out to see a swarm of bees come fly towards the store, and the opposite end of things. The swarm flew halfway around the building and then across the street to Walgreen, where it landed in the parking lot. Those bees couldn’t have picked a more inconvenient spot than if they landed on the front door itself, haha. As soon as my shift was over I rushed home to get my suit and an extra box I had been intending to use as a super for the hive I already had. I parked in one of the handicapped parking spots, right by the doors, and took two steps to the left to find the bees had landed on a very small shrub, with the bottom of the cluster literally touching the ground.

I don’t have any extra parts for this kind of hive, so I grabbed the roof off of the one in use (I left the telescoping cover on it and put a brick over top to keep the hole covered) and a wet towel on my way out the door. I put the roof on the top of the box and then flipped the whole thing upside down, so the bottom of the frames were upright. Then I put the wet towel over half of the box, and got to work. It was the easiest thing ever. I cut the main branch off and shook the whole swarm into the deep hive body. A few minutes later I had most of the bees in the box, and completely covered it with the wet towel so no bees could get out. I took the box home upside down, and then once I got home I rushed to set up a very makeshift hive stand of bricks and an old piece of plywood. Once that was relatively level I carried the box containing the swarm over and took the towel off. The box didn’t seem nearly as full of bees as I thought it would, but they weren’t clustered together either so that made a difference.  Once the towel was off I carefully flipped it right side up, and then made sure one of the corners stuck out over the edge of the plywood so the bees could get out.

They have been very happy ever since, so far as I can tell. I won’t get to check in on them until this weekend, but I think they’ll be alright. If it hadn’t been so late in the day I would’ve taken a frame with some eggs out of my established colony and put it in the swarms box. Unfortunately by the time I was finished setting everything up it was after six, and I didn’t want to bother the established colony.

So now I have 4 hives instead of three! I’m gonna go buy some hive parts later today so that I’ll have everything I need to get the bees ready for winter.

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3 responses to “A Swarm In An Unlikely Place”

  1. Emily says :

    Hurray! Nice job.

  2. Emma Sarah Tennant says :

    Congratulations on collecting your swarm – no easy feat, well done! Do you have swarm collector lists where you live? If so, you should put yourself on it! Glad to hear the swarmed colony is doing well.

    • willowbatel says :

      We have swarm lists but I haven’t my put myself on one because I never have enough spare parts on hand to handle properly collecting them. I only had this box extra because it’s technically a super for my main hive.

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