I discovered an unexpected benefit to negligence when a very large swarm found some of my equipment sitting around unoccupied. The hive bodies stacked in my yard awaiting a fresh coat of paint and filled with old brood comb proved irresistible. While I wish I was more on top of my woodenware maintenance, I am at least fairly certain this swarm did not originate from one of my hives, recent inspections showing no signs of swarm preparations. The queen was also unmarked (mine all sport paint dots), so I am hoping that I’ve lucked into a feral colony. Judging from its size–two very full deeps–this was likely a prime swarm. I marked the queen with a purple dot. This non-standard color will remind me of the fact that I haven’t a clue about her age.
I was a bit surprised to see a so large a swarm at this point in the season, but in my neck of the Coast Range, the blackberries and fireweed are just hitting full bloom, with Canada thistle and meadow knapweed (plagues that they are) just about to yield another respectable nectar flow. Though I will keep a close eye on this colony’s build-up, they should have plenty of time to set up house-keeping and provision themselves before fall.