This is a little video of our most recent beehive re-homing at the CLU SEEd Project Garden. We started keeping bees there a couple of years ago and we’ve since been trying to grow our apiary by rescuing local swarms and relocating unwanted colonies of bees. We do this instead of splitting or dividing hives or buying queens with “nucs,” or starter colonies of bees.
It’s been our mission to connect with local people with bee “problems” but who are nevertheless interested in saving bees rather than exterminating them. So our bees are mutts–wild or feral colonies that haven’t been bred to any specifications. They’re certainly “africanized” (as are around 90% of colonies in the Southwest) but this just means we can’t necessarily predict their behavior. They’re also native to the area, so we know they can survive in this climate and we don’t have to go out of our way to support them.
So far we’ve had some successes and some failures. Feral swarms, or homeless bees, don’t typically hang around, so we more or less gave up on collecting them. Better to re-home an existing colony that has established itself and so has a reason to stay. Established colonies are also survivors.
We’ve relocated bees from an old art installation on campus, a local family’s shed where we had to cut out the floor to get them, a water meter box, and now a local gardener’s worm bin. Maybe one day we’ll rescue a colony from the head of an ox.