My First Swarm Call and a Tragedy for the Bees

It has been a wet spring so far but the bees have been making do.  They have not been expanding as quickly as I hoped but it is still early yet.  My name has been on the Philadelphia Bee Keeper Guild's swarm call list for a few weeks and I received my first call today.  A renter in West Philly has a mass of bees outside of his second story window and was hoping I could come and get them.  Even better this was all within about two blocks of the hives at the community garden.  I did not have a ladder but the man that called said he had access to one so I headed over.

I left as soon as the call ended and was both excited and a little concerned when I drove over.  This would be my first attempt to catch a swarm, and being on the second story I would have to be on a ladder to do so.  I was still eager to give a try and only had about a 20 minute drive to get to the address.  However, when I arrived I learned that just 10 minutes before I got to apartment building the building manager decided to throw a large bucket of pesticides onto the swarm.  I climbed up the ladder hoping that enough of them, and especially the queen, had survived.  Unfortunately it looked like a total loss.  There were still many bees flying around, but the few that still lived on the ledge where the swarm were writhed on their backs in their death throes.  It was very disheartening, especially since it had just happened and there was no way I could have arrived sooner.  I spoke with the building manger in the hopes that this would not happen again, but only time will tell.

Dead bees, from where the swarm was, on the lower ledge of the second story of a building

On the ledge above the first floor windws you can see some of the swarm that was just killed

Where the bees might have originated from in the building

This is above the second story, and where the building manager thinks the bees may have come from.  He thinks there may be a hive within the walls of the building here

What is left of a dead swarm of bees

What was left of the dead swarm of bees, looking out from the secondary window from where the chemicals were thrown



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