Sunday, April 21, 2013

Beekeeping: New Swarm Installed (April 21, 2013)

Yesterday I was offered a swarm of bees in Vallejo, about an hour's drive away, but it was worth the trip. My bees died over last winter. I was looking for a swarm. New bees are now about $100 for a hive start, which seems a lot of money, as I bought my first package of bees for only $35--but that was back in 2001 or so--long before so many bee colonies began failing. I had to climb up on a garage roof and help the owner, a beekeeper himself (thanks, David) lop branches off a plum tree to get to the cluster of bees. I got them in a box prepared for the purpose and then drove home with them on the seat beside me. In the late afternoon, I deposited the swarm in an empty hive. The bees were rather agitated for a while and a couple of groups spent the night in little clusters outside the hive, but, by this morning, they seemed to have taken to their new home and I'm hopeful they'll thrive. It takes about 21 days to raise a new bee. By the first week of May I should know if the queen is laying and worker bee numbers are growing.

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