I may have to enter this challenge after all... ;)
Intheswamp...e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you instructions to put a trap on the tree, you can build it yourself from a nuc or 8 or 10 frame deep. A good tree will get you 3 to 5 starts ( 3 to 5 pounds each), each year, and you don't kill the feral colony. You can trap year after year.
The purpose of the trap is to get you three to five pounds of bees for a start. After you remove them, let the tree build up for a couple weeks, then trap again. Normally after two starts you will need to wait about 30 days, unless the colony is a very large one.
A bait hive is at best, hit and miss. In fact you will miss, far more often than you will hit. Of course it is good to have bait hives out, but the trap will weaken the hive each time you remove a start and help prevent it from swarming. If it does swarm, they may go 20 feet or they may go 1/4 to 1/2 mile before they find something they like.
The trap is a sure thing. A bait hive is better than nothing, but no guarantee they will go into it, regardless of distance from feral source.
Hmmm, sounds like this would be actually trapping the bees out of the hive using your trap. I really don't want to interrupt this colony in any way as it appears to be a survivor and a good strong one. I would hate to think I did something to harm them by weakening them beyond their natural swarming. I really appreciate the offer of the info and would still like to see your method in case a situation arrives that would work for me....game?
Another Wow! for Tomas.
I think we found someone that can give OD a run for his money.
intheswamp..... you are not going to hurt the feral colony unless you over trap and weaken it. This time of year that is difficult to do. You will be able to tell how strong the feral hive is, by, how many days it takes to get 3 to 5 pounds of bees in your trap. A good strong hive will put three to five pounds of bees in your trap within 24 to 48 hours of introduction of the unsealed brood. If it takes longer, let them come and go through the trap and let the colony build back up. The trap is an integral part of their colony, and it doesn't bother them.
If you get the queen, you will have a good survivor queen, and the colony will make itself a new queen this time of year, since there is normally lots of unsealed brood available for the feral colony to make themselves a new queen. As you get futher into the year it becomes more problematic that they can make a new queen.
If you allow them to naturally swarm, they will find a new home, may or may not be in one of your bait hives. I trap the same trees year after year.
send me an e-mail and I will send the info along with photos of two of my traps in progress. The photos show the process of trapping from start to ready to relocate.
Cleo - I am excited. From one cutout, I have the main feral colony, plus my bee tree (minus roots) in my garden, and a nuc, that appear to have bees and queen. Flow is on and about to pick up speed massively around here. I intend to let the bees in the hollow tree get themselves established, then just mount a swarm trap on it and harvest multiple colonies this spring. After I get the woodware to keep up with the bee-flow built.
Gypsi..... Sounds like a plan to me. Good Luck. Wonder if oddfrank would let you put a trap on one of his hives. HA!!! He is way ahead in this contest.
In Kentucky, our swarm season has just started. Only caught 2 tree hangers so far. We don't have a lot of feral colonies. Mites in the late 90's and a highly agriculture area with lots of pesticides, and feral bees are scarce.
Cleo - most of our ferals died in the last month. Drought and dearth last year, warm winter with few stores this year. The cutout I just did had red honey, which means they lived on hummingbird food that people put out.
These are a lively bunch of bees, but pretty docile. Might be all the mites draining their energy, but they just seem to be sweet bees, if prolific. They did rob out the contents of hive B and steal all their honey. I think they let the bees join the club though, seems like the bee count doubled in size and the hive entrances were 3 inches apart.
Inthe swamp, that is one purty bee tree - would wear a trap proudly.
and Tomas is definitely winning the swarm catching contest. OD doesn't stand a chance. None of us do.
Don't give up without a fight. oddfrank won't.
[QUOTE=Cleo C. Hogan Jr;774253]Don't give up without a fight. oddfrank won't./QUOTE]
Charlie started the original thread, not me, he is the macho competitive guy, not me. I just don't think swarm crazy African bees are fair competition.
Like I said, I may have an unfair advantage with africanized bees. Maybe we need to level the playing field a bit--two of mine for every one of yours up north? :) I'm not taking this challenge overly serious though--just good fun.
I do take my swarm trapping seriously, however. It would be really nice to have a fourth yard with 20 or 30 hives in production next year. I just got the location of it confirmed yesterday. Getting the apiary set up with hive stands is on the agenda for next week. I've got too many bait boxes with bees that need a home. There are seven sitting in my back yard that I need to move out. Another three are still hanging in a tree.
Just so everyone knows, I am from the States, Wisconsin to be exact--I just happen to have lived down here in Honduras for the last 20 years. I came down here with Peace Corps and sort of fell in love with the place (or I should say with my wife). Africanized bees can be ornery but that challenge makes beekeeping here that much more interesting.
Good luck to every one else on catching swarms.
Since the texans, SOCal beeks & floridians are allowed in the challenge, african bees must be OK.
Where or how would one draw the line. DNA testing?
I think since the thread is named after me, I should be able to change the rules as I see fit.
TWO more today and the weather wasn't even good. And I doubt that they are AHB.
I know I'm in AHB country but so far all my feral colonies behave no different than my store bought.
Anyway, I got my 4th swarm in the same box and place as #2, at my son's house. I moved first catch into a deep because all 5 frames were drawn and I wanted to try with that box again, and it only took a couple days for this next swarm to move in. I took it out to my apiary and went through it. There's a queen and 2 drawn frames (beside the existing drawn frame) and a decent amount of bees. The only box of the 4 I have not gone into yet is the one in my back yard.
I am done now, unless I decide to order more deeps. I only have enough for these colonies. I have 12 hives now which was my goal...but it sure would be fun to keep trying.
(I am not an addict, I am not an addict,)
Ok, everyone check in and tell us your swarm count. Remember, each individual swarm had to have chosen your trap and moved in on their own. I have not had one swarm move in to any of my traps yet. :(
Charlie B... Oddfrank.. Just checked my swarm hives this morning, (About 12 miles and 25+ traps) Found two occupied since last week. One very small, only covering one brood frame, but saw the queen. Only two I have caught so far. Here in Kentucky we don't have a lot of feral bees, and I am one of the few beekeepers with lots of hives. None close to me. Valleyman may be the closest, 25 miles.
At one of my swarm boxes I saw about 30-40 bees coming and going on the landing board and i thought I had a third one, but nothing inside. Might have been scouts looking for a home. I caught two there last year, but, they were late in the year. I put two good dark brood combs in and will check it in a couple of days. I am out of lemongrass oil. Need to order some today.
Oddfrank is in no danger of me beating him.
Ten traps out, no bites yet.