On the first warm, dry day for weeks, I had noticed a higher level of activity than normal around the entrance to one of my hives, but I’ve not been opening the hives up when it’s been so cold and wet and it didn’t surprise me that the bees might suddenly get so active given the opportunity, so perhaps I should have expected to find this just after lunchtime today (26th May). The good news was that it settled near the ground where I could reach it. The bad news was that they settled on the post supporting a crab apple tree, so I couldn’t exactly trim it off and carry the bees away.
I decided to try something I’ve really not had much success with in the past, but I couldn’t think of much else. I put a cardboard box (upside down) over the top of the cluster (just visible at the top of the above photo) and then puffed smoke at the bottom of the cluster repeatedly until most of them climbed into the box. Once they’d moved I put the box on a sheet on the ground and propped it open at the bottom (spilling a few bees in the process).
Clearly they were happy enough there though. The one on the bottom right of the wooden block here is fanning pheromones out into the air to tell the stragglers where to come (as are a few of the others).
Now I just have to make up a new hive, which is all going to be a bit of a rush this evening as I really wasn’t expecting to have to provide new living quarters at the moment, and tomorrow morning I’ll put them inside. Gives me a convenient opportunity to try out my new 3d-printed hive entrances though.