Sometimes there’s just no stopping them.
And sometimes customers want their hives to simply produce bees, and swarm.
I try to have a no judgement kind of approach and am happy to help treatment free, or whatever kind or type of beekeeper I can.
I was able to help a customer over the weekend that was a little too late in getting help, but also was inclined to let his bees swarm.
No worries there! There were there were lots of swarm cells, some already hatched out, and little virgins running around.
Still, I used the opportunity to be understanding of the intent and offered some insight to how this beekeeper might be viewed by other Beekeepers.
Some beekeepers might consider it irresponsible, etc.
So, we talked about swarms, how they can end up where they shouldn’t be and could make their homes in some difficult and expensive places if they required being cut out or needed a professional removal.
I showed them some emerging virgin queens, damaged queen cells etc. while we talked.
And towards the end, after seeing eggs and a glimpse of a queen retreating into the bottom deep, I suggested we at least make sure the bees (that would likely be swarming at any time) were as healthy as possible.
So, we did a mite count together.
After a little fumble (as I often let my clients participate and swish the sample bees around) we established a very low mite count (1). I answered questions as patiently as possible, and even gave a lesson on how to quickly light a smoker.
I left a happy and more informed customer and went to my next appointment.
I received a video of them swarming within hours.
But, you know what?
As I pointed out in my reply to them, it is REALLY COOL to see a swarm taking flight!
To stand in the middle of a swarm and listen to their roar and watch them head out to parts unknown...it’s awesome.
So, there was really no stopping it at this point. Especially for a new beekeeper, and there was no way I could take the time needed to go find a bunch of virgins and grab the queen.
Yes, they could have banged some pots and pans together and tried to make them come back (that works sometimes by the way), but if they had, what would they do with them?
They had no extra equipment, no intentions of running a second hive, and I was headed to my next customer appointment.
All in all, although it wasn’t the way I would recommend or teach, I’ve grown to realize that my way isn’t the only way to keep bees.
A lot of my fellow beekeepers might want to take note of that last part!
We can be a pretty opinionated and argumentative bunch in the beekeeping world.
Then again, I’ve never met a beekeeper I didn’t like!