I got a call from an anxious woman working for a well known property management company about bees getting into a number of apartment units. HELP!!!
turns out, it was a swarm that had landed the previous day right over a vent cap on the outside of one of the apt bldgs and a few wanders wandered into the bldg via the vents.
No sooner than I set my ladder up and attached a bait hive to the top rung in order to entice the bees to move into it while I searched for the queen in the pile, the swarm started to take flight. YIKES!
There was a small group of scouts that were really interested in a hole in the bricks in another of the bldg’s across the lawn about 5 0yards away from the first bldg. Guess where the swarm started heading? Yep.
I grab the fully extended ladder (bait hive still attached to top rung) and run, carrying it to the destination of the swarm. I beat them by about 30 yards and had the ladder set up by the time they were still about halfway there.
Climbed the ladder, set the bait hive up again and tried using the box to block the hole.
they didn’t find that amusing and the first arrivals just went around the box. OH NO!
I need to clog that hole or else! but with what?
I got it. I raced back to my work truck (about 30 yards away) and grabbed a shop rag and ran back to the ladder, climbed up , moved the box away and held it with my right hand while I held the rag against the hole with my left.
So, here I am standing about 15 ft high on a ladder with both hands full. what to do. The swarm had now completely encompassed me and they weren’t really excited about their new home being covered.
I was covered nearly head to toe with bees.
eventually, I realized I had to plug the hole with the rag so I could look for the queen. but with only the one hand on it, it didn’t work well.
I didn’t want to just drop the nuc box 15 ft because I didn’t want to break the frames inside.
Oh well, have to take that chance. so I dropped the box and then used both hands to stuff rag into hole to block bee entry.
Now with both hands free, I could see that bees were leaving me and were settling on the wall just to my right and out of seemingly nowhere, I see the queen!
She was crawling on top some other bees right next to me.
I snatched my queen catcher out of my pocket and catch her and a a few of her entourage just like that. I was feeling pretty cocky about then. I let my and withe the catcher drop to my side for a bit so I could examine the whole swarm.
I brought the catcher back up to get another look and she was gone! That little stinker had gotten so skinny to from her trip that she walked right through the slots.
That’s it. I couldn’t see her anymore and I was running out of time. Weatherman reported rain coming in the afternoon.
So, I fired up the bee vac. two full cages later, all the bees (sans the odd few scouts that would come back) were captured and in my truck.
I managed to get the bees transferred to a hive within about an hour and a half afterwards and about the same amount of time before the thunderstorms hit.
I checked on them this morning and all looked good. girls were active in the hive and now they will get started building their new home.
Give them a few weeks to stabilize and they will be gotten into the hands of an area beekeeper who can care for them and fulfill our goal of keeping local bees alive.