The next day, we got a second chance. The weather had
turned dramatically colder (and maybe this led the bees not to spurn
the offered home). A neighbor called and reported they had bees. Please
come and get them. I have no doubt these were the same bees; they had
been headed in that direction the day before when I lost them.
Oddly enough, they had split into two smaller swarms.
I surmised the queen was more likely with the grounded one, as she may
not have been able to fly as well as the workers. Possibly the group on
the tree contained a virgin queen. Who knows?
One thing for sure: their survival chances were not good, with a
possible flower-killing freeze tonight - and maybe quite a few days
before they could gather enough day-to-day nectar to survive. I have
seen early swarms dead on the ground after a cold night, below the limb
where they pitched.
I quickly placed the nuc box up to the cluster on the ground. The speed
at which they entered indicated that I had probably guessed right about
After the ground cluster was in the box, the ones on the tree started
becoming active and many moved to the box as well. I moved the box
under the limb and dropped the bulk of the cluster down next to it.
Most of them went into the box. One got into my shirt sleeve and nailed
me when I pinched it. Another followed, attracted by the odor of the
first sting. Actually it was not bad for the rough handling I gave them
at that point. And none had really acted agressive in any way.
I am pleased to have "hived" them. They are, of course, still free to
leave, but I doubt that they will now. They have feed honey, and they
will soon have some syrup to help sustain them until more flowers bloom.
They are kind of a parable, actually. They made some serious
miscalculation, in swarming so early, and in spurning the care I
offered. Now, in my care, things will go much better for them.
How often do we do the same: we want to do our own thing, and spurn the
Father's care. But we are far better off with Him, than on our own.