Yesterday afternoon Jack and I received a call that an apartment complex here in Pleasant Prairie had a swarm of honeybees hanging out on the side of the residence. So we got a hive box ready and grabbed our tools to collect ourselves a colony. We started clearing the bees from the wall and putting them in the hive, but unless we could locate the queen, the bees would soon leave the box and return to the wall.
After some sifting through a thick layer of bees Jack locates the queen! We put her in a queen clip and set her in the hive box. Hopefully, the rest of the colony would follow. We continue spraying them lightly with sugar water and scraping them with cardboard to dispense them into the hive. Once we’re happy with the outcome we leave the hive and the remaining bees to enter the hive on their own upon nightfall. We come back later in the evening hoping to gather our new colony.
To our surprise there is still a cluster on the building! We are now thinking there may be another queen. Now what? Well, we came back in the morning to collect again with another hive box. We did not see a second queen but felt confident with what we managed to get into the box. There were just a small amount of bees left on the building and flying about. Again, we left for the day to return at night.
We came back to the swarm site later in the evening to bring the hive home and found quite a large cluster still on the building. Using a flashlight we open the top and inner cover to find it empty!! YES!..... empty!
What now? Is there a second queen or are they attracted to her pheromones when she was in the cluster? I guess we will go back tomorrow morning and try again. I’ll keep you posted!