On Sunday a swarm of bees settled into a branch on the pine tree beside the Tom Thompson statue in front of town hall in Huntsville. Concerned citizens flagged down an OPP officer that was driving by and he contact Craig Nakamoto. Craig captured the swarm (at least 2/3 of the bees) in a plastic box:
Then he set up an actual bee hive box below the tree.
Then he poured the bees in to the hive.
and waited for about 15 minutes and pretty much all of the remaining bees went in to the bee hive.
Once that was done he strapped up the hive, covered the entrance with screen and drove it out to his bee yard near Aspdin to start a new hive.
Dawn Huddlestone with Doppler wrote a great article about the swarm incident and you can read it here.
Hive #1 is thriving and the new frames of comb are covered with capped brood already. Looking good and only a few more frames to build out and we will need to add another box.
Here is a photo of one brand new frame of foundationless comb filled with capped brood waiting to emerge. You can see worker brood on most of the frame, some capped honey in the top corners, and drone comb along the bottom and the bottom corners – it is raised up because the drones are larger and need more room (click on the photo to see a larger version).
Hive #2 is not doing so well. The queen is weak and barely moving today, and there was some very clear piping coming from the hive. This is the first time we have seen this queen since we installed the hives two weeks ago.
Although no virgin queens were visible, there were at least half a dozen capped queen cells and one that had already emerged. It is beyond doubt that the bees have decided that their queen is not strong enough and they are in the process of replacing her. Luckily the weather looks to be good for the new queen’s mating flight(s).
The new queen will likely kill the old queen and any other new queens that emerge. She should start mating flights within a week and once she is mated she will start laying eggs within a few days.
Here is a photo showing some queen cells (they look kind of like peanuts) and the one that has already emerged (a worker is cleaning it out right now – large cell on the left, click on the photo to see a larger version).