Oxford Bees

Swarm catching

A very tricky catch for Colony 20

Submitted by will on Sun, 28/06/2020 - 05:30

I was called on 24th June to see a swarm in 2 parts on a tree. The tree was on raised land next to the canal towpath in Jericho, Oxford. There was no hives nearby so I suppose it came from the Cripley Meadow Allotments which are reasonably nearby.

The swarm had formed in 2 places in the tree. By the time I saw it, it had joined into one fair sized swarm at the whippy top of the tree and was in accessible. Next morning it had fallen out of the tree and was all over the ground.

An easy catch for colony 19

Submitted by will on Sun, 28/06/2020 - 05:30

I was called to the Barton Fields allotments to see a swarm of bees on a bush. By the time I arrived it had fallen onto the ground. I placed a box next to it and gently scooped some bees into it. Quite quickly there was fanning and the remainder marched in. The whole catch must have taken no more than half an hour.

I gently cycled home with the box on my bike. It turned out that the box was slightly damaged so a couple of dozen bees escaped. I left them in a cool place and marched them into a hive the next morning.

Welcome to Colony 16

Submitted by will on Thu, 23/05/2019 - 21:53

I received a call at lunchtime today that there was a swarm settled in Portland Rd, Summertown, Oxford. I went immediately.

The swarm was big. It was in the lower branches of an apple tree where it hung over a fence. I borrowed a ladder and just knocked the bulk of the swarm into the box and waited while they got organised. In went the remainder. Boxed.

Collecting could hardly have been quicker or easier. From phone call to me leaving with a box of bees was only just over an hour. Quick work given that I must have taken 30 minutes just to get there.

Catching and Losing Colony 14

Submitted by will on Tue, 07/05/2019 - 05:22

Yesterday I went to catch a swarm in Summertown, Oxford. The swarm was hanging from guttering above a first floor window.

The person who called me helpfully had a large ladder. After quite a bit of work we fixed it to the house and I approached the swarm. I was not delighted with the place that the swarm had chosen. When you are balanced 5 metres above ground on a porch roof it's best not to think about the ground.

Swarm on the pavement

Submitted by will on Fri, 08/06/2018 - 16:00

I was called today to an unusual situation: a swarm on the pavement outside a house on a fairly busy street. When I arrived the bees were like a splat on the ground. They were next to a low Privet hedge, so I suppose that they'd fallen out of that.

I spoke to the house owner and got a box. This covered the splat while I went for my swarm catching equipment. When I returned they had started to cluster on a flap beneath the box. I had brought a larger box so I carefully placed small box with bees inside the big box.

August swarm

Submitted by will on Thu, 10/08/2017 - 21:59

I caught a swarm today. It was small - perhaps about the size of an orange once it had clustered. It was stuck to the side of the building where my out-apiary is. I suppose that it came from one of my hives.

I boxed the swarm this afternoon and then moved it to the roof this evening.

The swarm is surely too small to survive the winter so I'm considering adding it to hive H, which is has too few bees.

EDIT 12/08/2017 - this colony of bees had absconded from Hive H.

The unexpected Hive H

Submitted by will on Fri, 23/06/2017 - 07:08

Last night I went to visit my out apiary. As I was pottering around I received a phone call. It's hard to answer when your phone is inside a bee suit.

The call was from the same people who had given me the colony in Hive E. I'd given them some honey and asked for them to call when the feral colony swarmed.

I arrived to find a football sized cluster on their apple tree. They say it's the first swarm of the season - prime swarm.