Received a swarm pic from fellow beekeeper and Apiopolis friend and super volunteer Chris Hagwood on September 19. We met on site, walked the bees onto drawn comb, offered them some @spikenardhoneybees tea and waited til dark for all the scouts and foragers to return then closed and removed the swarm box.
We all know the jingle “a swarm in May is worth a bale of hay... a swarm in July isn’t worth a fly...” It doesn’t even go beyond July in appropriating value to swarms but we are seeing them later and later in the year though their chances of finding shelter and building up resources and numbers needed to survive the winter are slim.
Often late swarms are actually full absconsions in response to pest pressure or viral load or robbing, some weakness in the hive that makes the bees decide to cut their losses and try to start again somewhere else. Sound familiar? Natural selection? Likely. But it’s a hard decision to refuse to at least offer help.
These bees looked really healthy. The timing of their arrival coincided so exactly with the storm that we think they were displaced by Florence. I’ll move them into a hive body prepped for winter and appropriate to their size, give them built comb and share food from other strong colonies with them so they at least have a fighting chance.