Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Sale and a Swarm

This weekend we went to an Estate Sale.  These things always bring a bit of sadness as you know someones lives have turned a corner in one way or another.  At the same time, I like to think that when someone like me stumbles upon them, certain things are finding a new home where they will continue to be loved as opposed to being sold at some antique shop and collecting dust.
All sorts of goodies...and yards and yards of fabric for $12!!
It was of course, hot.  A rare day when no one seemed to mind that every person was dripping wet because we all were!
I love this cart!  And my first Crock!!
Towards the end of the sale, we got a frantic call from my Mom saying there was a swarm of bees in the walnut tree.  Uh-Oh.

We were every bit of two hours away from home.  As luck would have it, we made it home in time!
Pig Pen was able to get to it before they actually made a real run for it.  Phew! 
All suited up with a little help from a brave friend not suited.  Crazy!
He believes that they split the hive, but can't be entirely certain until he locates the second queen.  If he doesn't find a second queen, he will order one.  Either way, that puts us at 6 hives if all goes as planned.
Luckily, he didn't have to trim much of the branch. 
For now, into a new hive they went.  He just shakes them down.  Yes...this is the same branch!
Can you see them all flying around?  You may have to enlarge the photo below to see them.
He will let them settle in for a while before he moves them out back with the other hives.
In the meantime, he decided to open the other hives to see how much room they have.  He was going on the advice of another beekeeper this year to keep adding boxes as opposed to mid-season harvest.  The theory being they will continue to build upwards.  Well, they were doing that; however they had so little wiggle-room getting thru those boxes and there are so many bees, that he believes that's why they swarmed. 

So you know what comes next, don't you?  Harvest Time. 


  1. Amazing that they were still there when you got home! We had three swarms this year, but only managed to capture one successfully.

    When we lived in Illinois, we usually got about 100 pounds of honey per hive. Is that about what you get?

  2. I forgot to ask you what you were going to do with the old fan? Its neat. And I know that Pig Pen did not take these photo's, so was someone getting braver?

    And now you know why I hate to leave the farm. As soon as you do the critters get together and decide who is going to make a break for it now that the warden is gone.

  3. I can't get over Adam NOT being afraid to walk up to that swarm of bees! I got stung by a wasp the other day and had a finger twice its size for 3 days and was in pain! I would be so afraid of all of them attacking at once. Ask Pops about that! :) He experienced it!

    Your finds at the estate sale are awesome. I can't wait to see a big ol' scrap quilt made out of it. And I'm jealous of the metalware - my favorite thing!

    I guess I better get busy using up all of my fabric or someone might luck out and get it all for $12 at an estate sale some day. Oh no, wait, YOU will get it for free! My bad!

  4. Congrats on that crock - I spied it right away LOL! Being from Red Wing, MN, I'm definitely the crock girl - if you don't know about them yet, read up on the numbers and keep an eye out, it's easier now to get your hands on them outside the state of MN now :)

  5. MamaPea, three??? That stinks! How many hives are left? I think a post is in order! Pig Pen would want to see! That sounds about right on the pounds harvested. Since we have triple the hives this year, it will be very interesting to see just how much we bring in.

    Jane, the fan needs a new end put on it. I am hoping it works! Of course it's not dog or kid proof and might rip a wrist off. ;) You are so right about the critters! They are mischevious at best.

    Jan, you have to learn to stop playing with those darn wasps!! They must really like you. Or you could be like me and run screaming like a girl!

    And morbidly I say to you, "Gee Thanks!!!" for all the fabric! It wont ever see a sale table ;) Heheheee! We are so sick!!

    Erin, yup! My first one! I was pretty excited! I have been watching them for some time now and it's amazing what they go for! Jane finds hers (I'm told) for around $10-50 for the 8 gallon, which is what mine is. However, this one dinged me for $75. When I last found one it was $135!!! Please do fill us in on what we should be paying...even if I paid too much, hey- I got one! YEAH!


  7. And then Sue has to chime in with a DUMB QUESTION........WHY do bees swarm? And how in the HECK do you get them? Do they just sit there and let you take them? I'm sorry-these may be dumb questions but I'm not familiar with bees. We now have a "bee" guy that brings his hives, but I haven't had a chance to ask him anything. He's in and out before you know he's there!

  8. Judy, the crock is for fermenting. But I think I will end up burying my head in it :o}

    Sue, those are NOT dumb questions at all. Bees swarm generally because they run out of room.

    Believe it or not, they are somewhat easy to handle when they swarm because just before they leave, they gorge themselves on honey to sustain them during their travels.

    They have already sent out scouts typically to find their next home even. So they are fat and full in a swarm and not so much interested in you as they are in protecting their queen. Which is why a swarm also smells like honey.

    You 'get them' by walking right up, trimming the branch they are on and literally shaking them down into the new hive or box for transport.

    Or if they are in a tree (like in a hole and hunkered down in a wild hive) they have what is akin to a bee-vac and you can suck them out.

    Pretty neat, huh?

  9. We didn't lose the whole hives when the bees swarmed. As you explained so well, just some of the bees took off because of the over-crowded condition so that left a good number of bees in each hive that had the swarm. We've got five strong hives right now.

  10. Wow. Just wow! Its so interesting looking at your bee pictures and stories. I know nothing about bees or honey...so you are teaching me things, darlin! I'm glad you found some things at the estate sale. They are fun. :)

  11. MamaPea, sweet! I don't think I realized you had that many hives. My head said it was too cold up yonder. Hopefully CM will get some next season as well.

    MamaTea, the bees, honey and chickens are what is keeping me sane this year. If I played with yarn like you, I'd probably hang myself with it! heheee

  12. Thank you APG!!! This was sooo helpful. You're the gooder-est bee teacher!

  13. The winters are a real problem with keeping bees up here. Not so much the cold (although that certainly does enter into it) but the fact that our winters are so LOOOOONG!