Swarming during the nectar flow

This isn’t something I’ve seen thus far in my beekeeping experience: a swarm smack dab in the midst of the nectar flow. I had done a quick check and thought I had made a mistake by not trusting my instincts: the strongest hive looked a bit to me like it needed to be split, and I suspected this swarm came from that hive.

High swarm May 12 2015

See them up there on the second branch on the left of the tree? How about a closer look?

High swarm closeup May 12 2015

They were fairly high off the ground, and far enough away from the trunk that getting them was going to be a bit of a puzzle. I figured with our tallest ladder – the one I used when I painted the barn – I could probably get close enough to spray them with some sugar water to get them to clump, and then use an extensible stick of some kind (like the one we use to change lightbulbs) to knock them down. It sounded like a good plan. Unfortunately, when I headed back out later in the afternoon closer to dusk to check where to set up, they’d flown away to whatever home the scouts had found. Bummer.

On the positive side, when I suited up to head to the yard to see which hive had tossed the swarm, it seems it did not come from the hive I thought, but from another that had already tossed two swarms very early this season just days apart. That hive must be possessed.

On another positive note, during my quick inspection post-swarm loss, I found one of the hives that I had already added a honey super on needed another, and one of the hives that had built up into two brood boxes was now ready for a honey super themselves. The very strong hive had a second honey super added last week, and a peek at a few of the frames in the original super showed they are capping off honey at a fantastic pace. Minus the swarms that couldn’t be caught, this season is turning out to be a good one thus far.