Tag Archives | swarms
Large honey bee swarm. Photo: Jeff Lee

A massive swarm reminds us swarm season is here again

It is swarm season again, but this time with a twist. The early spring is wreaking havoc for beekeepers, who are finding overwintered colonies exceptionally strong. The mild winter, I think, has lulled some beekeepers into not realizing their hives are bigger, stronger and hence, more prone to swarm earlier than usual. The general rule […]

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How many times have you seen this kind of a swarm, just out of safe reach? No ladder long enough, no way to reach it? We've made a simple solution using a collapsible window-washing or painting pole and an old water carrier with the bottom cut off.

How to make a honey bee swarm retrieval pole

With swarm season comes a multitude of challenges of how to successfully retrieve a colony that makes like a hive and splits. Many of us have seen the pictures of swarms in really, really odd places; on the wing tips of aircraft, under bicycle seats and on the tines of harrows and other farm equipment. […]

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We boxed the swarm right off the roof of the condo building; it came off the tree to the right,  four storeys up from the street. Easy-peasy! Photo: Sharon Lee

Two colonies; from swarm heaven to flying hell

It is a spectacular thing to chase a massive swarm as it moves straight down the middle of a major street, all while people go about their business, unaware of what is going on overhead. Recovering that swarm from the top of a four-storey tree, as its branches, bent heavy with bees, bend over the […]

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Kirk Webster, whose pioneering views on treatment-free bees are helping to influence beekeepers, shows his home-made division board feeder to  Axel Krause, right, a B.C. provincial bee inspector, and Jim Tunnell of Snohomish. Jeff Lee photo.

Kirk Webster on treatment-free beekeeping in Pacific Northwest

FOREST GROVE, OREGON – It’s a contrary argument for beekeepers wrestling with the greatest pest in they’ve ever faced to suggest that you should make the varroa mite your ally. But that’s exactly the argument Kirk Webster, the pioneering treatment-free beekeeper, made this weekend to a packed crowd. More than 100 beekeepers from all over […]

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Retrieving a swarm from the top of a holly bush in Vancouver required patience, a ladder, a banker's box and a neighbour's pruners for the many branches the branches surrounding the cluster. Photo: Amanda Goodman Lee

Lessons learned from our first bee swarm of the season

We caught our first swarm last week in Vancouver, under circumstances that, like everything in beekeeping, delivered us a wealth of information. With the strong warm weather of May and June and the lack of rain, most hives in the Metro area grew like stink. The week of rain in late June not only shortened […]

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Beekeeper Alex Kurnicki demonstrates how to move a nuc into a larger brood box during the Richmond Beekeepers' annual field day held June 15 at his house in Vancouver. A beehive sandwiched between a lush garden and a changing neighbourhood. Photo by Jeff Lee

Beekeeping field day tips in Alex Kurnicki’s garden

Alex Kurnicki has an interesting problem literally developing next door to his lush Vancouver garden home that puts into perspective the challenges facing urban beekeepers. Right next to his lot on St. George Street, a tiny little oasis of bee-friendly plants and trees, is a massive development. When finished, the new owners of the strata […]

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Elevator B, a 22-foot stainless steel tower built by University of Buffalo students for a survivor bee colony.

Stainless steel hive tower built in Buffalo, New York

A Langstroth hive it is not. An indulgence by a group of over-active, over-achieving architecture students, well, that’s more likely. I’m talking about a new “Elevator B” tower of polished stainless steel that students from the University of Buffalo have built for a survivor hive in an industrial part of the city. Here’s a CBC […]

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Honey bee swarm found on a Delta Airlines jet in 2012. It was safely removed.

Bee Swarm Season is here: what to do if you see one

This is the season now for honey bee swarms, and if you’ve ever seen one, it can be an impressive sight. What to do with a swarm depends upon who you are: Homeowner or business owner Municipality or first responder Beekeeper First of all, don’t panic. Swarming is a natural phenomenon for honey bees and […]

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