Sunday evening, the 13th of May.....I received a SWARM CALL from a friend. I'd just returned from a BOW event (Becoming an Outdoors Woman)...and had NO ENERGY left to suite up, jump in my ride and retrieve some wayward bees. I told him....if they're still there tomorrow aft (monday), give me a call. He did - they were still hanging. I have a "real job" so for whatever reason - that probably being, I'm too busy". The next day when he called, I told him...if they're still there tomorrow aft (tuesday), give me a call. He did - they were still hanging.
I'm thinking....swarm hanging for 3 days - without food...should be getting hungry! MEANWHILE - a beekeeper student from this year's classes calls. HIS QUEEN IS DEAD. (a newly installed package).
I called him back the next day....after I confirmed the swarm was STILL HANGING... FREE BEES!
Wednesday morning, two beekeepers, a 12 foot ladder, and a home-fashioned catch box in hand....
We retrieved the bees and installed them into a box on top of the queenless box with a sheet of newspaper in between (just to slow them down from integrating - in case the queenless bees weren't ready to accept a new queen)......and we majorly crossed our fingers that the swarm queen was INTACT and NOT HARMED.
The news from this hive is....they're doing a PHENOMENAL job! Population is twice that of the other package hive installation (he started with two hives).
Interesting notes here....that swarm hung for 4 days....hung-over through some pretty cool nights and high winds. Were they just not capable of coming to a decision? Couldn't they find a suitable place? My friend said he's had at least 5 swarms in the last 5 years....he suspects they're issuing from a tree in his yard - though he can't see them (very large mature trees on the property)....he's a "natural beekeeper" ;)