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June 8th, 2013

Yesterday morning Mr Chiots went out to catch a swarm of bees with our next door neighbor. Here are some photos Mr Chiots took during the adventure.
catching a swarm 7
catching a swarm 6
catching a swarm 5
catching a swarm 4
catching a swarm 3
catching a swarm 1
catching a swarm 2
Now we have a hive of bees sitting up on our hill. Should be interesting to see how these guys do this summer.

Have you ever seen a swarm of bees?

12 Comments to “SWARM”
  1. Robin on June 8, 2013 at 5:56 am

    I’ve never seen bees swarm, and I’d love to. They fascinate me. I’ve been thinking about getting them next year to help pollinate our fruit trees. I’ll be watching to see how they do.

    Reply to Robin's comment

  2. Joan on June 8, 2013 at 8:14 am

    My dad used to catch swarms when I was a kid. I loved to watch, but never helped out. The best one was when they swarmed onto the clothesline, so we could get really close by watching out the window!

    My dad doesn’t have bees any more, but he saved one of his empty hives for me – someday I’ll have bees.

    Reply to Joan's comment

  3. amy on June 8, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Yes……my own….unfortunately…..but…..fortunately….I was able to get them back!

    Reply to amy's comment

  4. Corrie on June 8, 2013 at 8:51 am

    When I used to keep bees, they would swarm. I always felt terrible, because I knew they wouldn’t have much chance for survival in the wild. I’m glad you caught this swarm! It’s pretty incredible to see, especially in the few minutes before try decide to leave the hive. There is a whole series of events (sending out scouts, etc) until the moment the queen leaves and they all follow. It’s fascinating!

    Reply to Corrie's comment

  5. Deb on June 8, 2013 at 9:03 am

    In the first 12 yrs. maybe of living here we’ve had 4 swarms. We don’t have hives though but I’d like to. 2 were captured, the others got away before someone could get here to capture them. it was very fascinating to hear and see them though. I knew they couldn’t survive the wild and one was a small swarm and I know they would’ve died. Now that I’d like some there aren’t any. I know 2 sets of folks who ahve bees within 5 miles of us. We use absolutely no chemicals but there don’t seem to be as many around this year. Darn those sprays in the fields.

    Reply to Deb's comment

  6. Maybelline on June 8, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Never saw s swarm in person. Fabulous images. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  7. Smee on June 8, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Agreeing that the above story and the photos are great!

    I witnessed a swarm twice, and small leaf cutter bee nest being built.

    The first swarm was in our front yard tree, they came quickly, built what everyone informed me would be a resting place, but turned out to be the beginnings of an actual hive on one tiny limb! Living where and how we do it wasn’t a great place for a hive. No beekeepers could be found after a week of trying, but a teacher from a university about an hour away came and informed us they were Africanized and needed to go. (Coincidentally we later found out there was a swarm just the day prior to our group landing in the tree wherein a woman was swarmed in her car about ten miles south of us.) We had to get them to move along safely on their own, which we did with a gentle sprinkler over about four days. They grew tired of the constant “rain” and left for parts unknown. The limb had about tripled in width with little cells.

    The second time was aboard a Navel Ship docked in San Diego, CA. It was about this time of year, and, in addition to giving public tours that day, they were set up also for a Dental School Graduation. The tour day was ending and we were leaving when we noticed the swarm landing on one of the tables set up for a reception after the graduation ceremony. Unfortunately, they preferred the table that had all the cords and mics and just clung to the cording, the cloth, and a few in the air. By the time we needed to leave the techs were still stymied as to what to do, not wanting to disturb them, but needing their equipment!

    The 2-3 leaf cutter mom bees dug their tiny little tunnel in a potted plant on our front porch! They typically are lone bees, moms, on occasion, will hook up for a nest, lay eggs in a tubular leaf nest, then leave and live their own lives. The babies grow and feed in the leaf tubes until they’re ready to leave, burrow out, and fly away in about a year! No harm no foul! It was pretty amazing to watch them build the nest.

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  8. Lisa on June 8, 2013 at 11:54 am

    This is the time of year they swarm. Totally natural. If someone in a few square miles has hives, the hive has simply split and the new queen has run off with a segment of the original hive. Keeping the swarm in a smaller Nuk box (5 frames) might help them establish. I wouldn’t add a second layer to the 10 frame hive until they fill out all the comb. Feed them honey water or sugar water so they will have a food source. They’ll still forage and pollinate. I have one 2-level hive, I ve rob twice since August, pulling just a single frame for extraction and got 4 pints the 1st robbing and 7 pints the second. I would also suggest getting a real, full suit. Bees sting through even the heavy canvas suits. You all are cool enough up there to wear the canvas. Its 90F here already and I need to get into the hive and don’t want to get into that suit.

    Reply to Lisa's comment

    • Susy on June 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm

      We put them in a hive and put a box on of comb filled with honey that our neighbor had saved from one of his hives last fall, so they should have enough to eat until they get established.

      That’s our neighbors beekeeping suit, he’s been keeping bees for a while and it works for him. Mr Chiots used to have a full canvas suit.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Lisa on June 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm

        I have a slightly aggressive hive currently and they stung me through the suit. In (our) winter, I wear long sleeve shirt and jeans under the suit but last week, I was in shorts and a tank….and they got me good. My left arm hurt like the dickens but my finger arthritis improved.

        to Lisa's comment

    • Matt on June 8, 2013 at 2:44 pm

      This was a very large swarm, there’s no way they would fit in a 5 frame Nuc, We’re talking at least half of a 5 gallon bucket of bees. They filled the 2 mediums nicely. You are right though, bees do best in a space they can control.

      As far as the bee suit goes, I have one but never really liked it. That’s a canvas shirt I wear over my normal clothes, works for me!

      Reply to Matt's comment

  9. Caroline on June 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    *shudders* I know bees are beneficial and important… but I still run when I see them! I don’t want a hive in MY yard with my young kids!

    Amazing photos though. I’m grateful to have only seen a few lone bees on their own!

    Reply to Caroline's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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