The bees have swarmed. Meaning half of our hive left. Left their hive with a new queen bee that they created and found 'residence' in our blueberry bush. This is not a good situation. A situation that would become tricky to resolve.
After my account of the situation, Dan called in reinforcements. We knew that we would need help from someone more experienced. Luckily, there is a great support system of beekeepers and the president of the association said he'd be over!
Dan knew that there must have been a problem within the hive for this swarm to happen. This is where Jeff could figure out what that problem was.
Jeff went through the hive, frame by frame and determined that the original queen was a great queen. Laying fantastic eggs and producing many bees. So many that the bees were running out of room in the hive. Leading them to produce a new queen cell and following this new queen out of the hive. You can not have more than one queen in a hive.
We all agreed that we wanted to keep the bees that fled the hive, if possible. So Jeff and Dan set about the tricky task in trying to do this. My next few picture are from a safe distance away as I was not suited up or protected other than a hooded sweatshirt!
The bees are sprayed with a sugar water solution prior to transferring into a temporary box. We were fortunate to start this task late in the day when the bees are quiet. Though it did lead to a long night.
After shaking the swarm off the bush, hand shoveling the bees into another box and when we knew the queen was in the box (you will know this by the trail of bees that voluntarily walk into the box, following the queen) we waited. Waited for the bees to mostly be in the box before moving it safely into the garden. Dan prepared food (sugar water solution) for both hives.
It was a job for the headlamp!
And now we wait. Dan will need to get more supplies for this new hive. But we will wait and see how this new queen reproduces; to see if she's a 'great queen' like the original. Once we figure that out, we will choose the best queen to remain with the hive and blend both bees together. This will be another process but one that is necessary. Keep your fingers crossed!