I belong to a swarm call list in my area, and I got a call a couple evenings ago. I had just returned from swimming and was getting ready to make a homemade pizza. I rarely eat pizza, but I had a couple slices back in May and again in June, and was giving in to the pizza smell that was entering in my brain.
Bees get me pretty excited so I dropped everything to take the swarm call because it seemed that it was meant to be. I was already planning to be in that area, so I thought I’d get the swarm in the box, trade the van for the truck (as I do every weekend) while the swarm settled into my box, then retrieve the box and go home. I loaded my things and left the house within 5 minutes of getting the call.
Being in a high traffic area (a truck stop) and knowing that swarms may not rest in one place for long added some urgency to the situation. I called the employee who filled me in by sending a couple photos:
Technical words: If you look at the tree, you see that it’s tethered very tightly to keep it upright. This means that I couldn’t bend the trunk to my advantage and shake the bees off. Instead, I pushed a deep frame of old comb under the cluster and shook the bees off the branches as best I could, then transferred everything into the blue nuc box that I had waiting on the ground. I spent more time than I would have on a non-tethered tree, but overall, everything went very quickly. I want to say I used 3 frames. I could reach the bees from the ground as they were near elbow height and the sidewalk and driveway were laid in a way that I had plenty of buffer between me and everyone else and could drive pretty close, the ground was level — everything was ideal.
When I returned with the truck, I had to give one more shake to the branch, which went into a second nuc box. I set another deep frame of comb next to the blue box to attract all the bees that couldn’t fit inside. Once I got them moved into the second box, I headed inside to get paid, as instructed.
Then I drove home. I named them “Lollipop” because I felt like a kid buying candy at the truck stop and it fits with this year’s Wizard of Oz naming convention.
After I got the bees out of the nuc boxes and into a full-size box, I headed indoors and found my abandoned pizza dough.
But that was OK, because I had asked to get paid in pizza.