Our bees swarmed this morning. We had been wondering if they would as we had seen swarm cells in the hive. We gave them a whole empty super, but I guess once they get it in their heads there’s no stopping.

Margaret was home when it happened:

I got home from picking up eggs at the neighbor’s and as I came down the driveway I could see a cloud of bees circling above the hive. I knew immediately something was wrong. This was way more than a busy day at the clover. The cloud was about 25ft tall ad 10ft in diameter. I went down there and you could hear the buzzing. It was a little scary. After two laps to get the camera and call Rob I could see the cloud moving towards a tree to the right of the hive. This was about 10:30am.

Here’s the cloud of bees:

They started to collect on a tree branch. The branch was only about 15ft up so I had high hopes of starting a second hive.

I called Rob and we decided I should get our second hive body ready to catch the new bee swarm. It still needed a lot of foundation replaced, so I had some work to do.

While I was working on the hive I periodically went down to check on the bees. They started to calm down as they all collected on the branch. Here they are at 11am.

It took me another 40 min to finish the hive and collect the materials, so we’d be ready to go when Rob got home. Here’s the hive after I was done:

I went back down to check on the bees on the branch and ………
THEY WERE GONE! Sometime between 11am and 11:40am they had all flown away. Most of our bee books seem to say bees usually stay in their initial swarm location for at least a few hours, but apparently we have fast bees. The bees would have sent out scouts to find a new location to start a new colony (the old queen is with them).

When Rob got home at noon we put on our bushwacking pants and carefully checked the brush behind our house, but no luck. We also checked the neighbor’s house, and were glad to see the bees hadn’t moved in. Sadly we may never find our bees again. They can fly as much as a mile to start a new hive and a mile is a lot of tree limbs to check in Maine!

We did open the hive and the remaining bees look ok. More on that to follow.