A swarm of honey bees is rounded up on Carr Street

Beekeeper David Millsaps examines a branch holding hundreds of bees before dropping them into his bee box on Carr Street on Friday.

A swarm of hundreds of honey bees settled in a front yard on Carr Street late Friday afternoon, on their way to a new place to live. A bush at 924 Carr provided an opportune spot to take a rest. Before the little pollinators were ready to take off and resume the search, College Hill beekeeper and good neighbor David Millsaps arrived to round them up and add them to his hives.

David said honey bees swarm when a hive gets too crowded and a group leaves to find a new home. This swarm arrived around mid-afternoon and formed a massive, loudly buzzing vortex near the bush where they gradually settled. Most of the bees formed a core several feet in diameter and several feet high with others orbiting as far out as the street and the porch of the house next door. It shrank down to nothing over the course of 30 minutes or so as the bees settled down upon each other in the bush. Swarming honey bees aren’t aggressive and won’t attack unless they feel threatened, David said while he collected them.

David explains the process to homeowners Lynn Gagnier and Dave Hemm.
David checks a frame that still contains honey from an earlier hive. The honey will nourish the swarm, which needs food after its flight in search of a new place to live.
The first step is to trim some branches to reach the resting swarm.
The inner branches holding the bees get clipped and dropped down to the bee box.
Once most of the bees have settled into the box, David replaces the last frame.
As he brushes a few stragglers out of his hair, David and the swarm are ready to go.
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2 Responses to A swarm of honey bees is rounded up on Carr Street

  1. David Arneke says:

    The honey bees just keep coming! Another swarm was sighted on Carr Street today. David was called to get that one, too. This is great news for gardeners as well as beekeepers.

  2. David Arneke says:

    More honey bees! David Millsaps posted this Sunday on Nextdoor:

    Big day today. I went to the office to get something out of the shop. On the way spotted a swarm on a rose bush. Got permission to collect it. Ran to shop and collected a supper. Collected them an headed to the house.

    While I was in the apiary, roof of shed, spotted a swarm in the front yard. A neighbor kept watch and they gathered about 20 ft up in a hemlock.

    A neighborhood project ensued. The spotter had some lemongrass oil to use as an attractant to a box with drawn comb and with a bit of honey. Julie across the street had a telescopic pruning pole and 8’ step ladder. Taped a bucket to the pole saw and could just take pole with bucket and bump the limb hard enough to gather about a quart of bees. Did this several times. Apparently got the queen in one of those attempts. Shortly the remaining bees began following the queens scent and coming down to the hive box. A socially distanced group gathered.

    Who would have thunk a virus and bees could create community? Neighbors met. Bees safe. And now there’s a story to be told.

    Be well!

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