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Ain’t Worth a Fly!

A swarm in May is worth a bale of hay, a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon and a swarm in July ain’t worth a fly! I’ve repeated these wise words from my father and grandfather many times on this blog and it has always been proven out. But, I think I may have finally found an exception.

July Swarm

July Swarm

Although I have received more swarm calls this year, I have retrieved far fewer swarms. Basically, once you attain a certain ‘mass’ of bee hives, it is simply easier to create your own hives from Nuc’s and Splits than it is to go get a swarm (unless it is just down the road.) Plus, now that I have a sustainable ‘mass’, I like to build my hives off of either my best queens or the exceptions that will give me experience. An example of the latter case exists today in a really strong hive. As a Nuc, the queen was laying so poorly that I was about to pinch it as I do all of the queens that I do not believe are ‘good enough’ for sale. This time, I decided to let it roll and see what happened. Would this hive peter out and succumb to wax moth or SHB? As it turned out, this queen started to really pour it on about 6 weeks after she started laying. It makes me really wonder about my queen judging ability at the early stages.

But, I have really digressed… I received a call on July 9 for a swarm that was outside of my normal range these days. But, the picture had my interest peaked – it really looked strong. I actually thought that it might have been an ‘abscond’ from the wild storm that had come through the week before (maybe their tree had been toppled?)

So, I went out to get the swarm and had to actually climb a ladder, snip off the limb with the bees and walk them back down the ladder to hive them. A lady filmed the experience and said she would email me a copy, but I have not heard from her yet. Regardless, the hive pulled down 2 gallons of syrup very fast. This typically only happens with a strong swarm. I gave them 3 more gallons the other day and will check them again on Thur. The next time they go empty, I plan to check the hive for temperament, a laying queen and other things. I could be wrong, but I am betting that I’ll have most of the initial Deep drawn by the weekend. We shall see.

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