For the past week we've had rain, sometimes brief downpours and at other times more gentle rain, and the rainy days would be interspersed with sunshine. We were warned by one of our beekeeping mentors that this was "swarmy" weather: The bees are locked up inside the hive when it rains, and swarm on the days that are going to be sunny. "Watch your hives for swarms!" we were told.
We did take care to minimize swarms from our Apiary #1. We split the hive and gave the original hive frames of blank foundation to work on, hoping that this extra space would counteract any tendency to swarm. It seemed to work on the original hive, but yesterday the split swarmed. Surprise!
Here's what a swarm looks like when the bees are getting ready to depart. They gather on the front of the hive until a certain critical mass is achieved, then they take off to a temporary landing site nearby.
These girls went down the canyon and decided to alight on the poison oak. All that green stuff you see in the video is poison oak, so nice and shiny. Alex was brave and bushwhacked a path through the poison oak, then he captured the swarm and brought it back up the hill. By the end of the afternoon the bees were safely (and, we hope, contentedly) ensconced in their new home, our Blue hive.
We hope they decide to stay here.