Two days ago, there appeared to be a large swarm of bees leaving a hive that I had jut started in May from a nuc. However, they returned to the hive, and I assumed that although there had been a "beard" on the front of the hive, since the weather had cooled, and it was now late August, I needn't worry about swarming. Then, this afternoon, we discovered a VERY large swarm in a spruce tree about 10 yards from the bee yard. Witht help of a neighbor, we cut the branch down into a garbage can.Then using newspaper, we combined the swarm by placing as much of the branch, and bees, in an empty box on top of a weak hive.(We'll try to remove the branch tomorrow.) It was quite an adventure.
Has anyone had a "pre-swarm" similar to this? How cmmon is a swarm this late in the season?
I've had late swarms. Last year I had four of them. I think it was the drought, but who knows.
I'm not sure what they will do when you combine them so soon after catching them. Hope it works out. I probably would have let them get settled in first and then combined them.
Let us know how it works out.
Yes, I would have prefered settling them in their own hive, but i didn't have enough equipment. I had one extra shallow with frames, and a friend had an empty deep-so that's what we used.
Chapter Two: After all that work, there is a large swarm still on the same tree brach, just a little closer to the trunk. I guess we didn't get the queen! I put out a box with a few frames below the swarm, but it's just too high (and the ground slopes) for me to get. Any suggestions?
I have a five gallon bucket that is attached to a pole. There is a rope going up through the inside to the lid. You can buy one from Brushy Mt. (but it will be too late then) You slam the bucket under the swarm so they fall in and pull the rope to put the lid on. I've also seen a pole with a wire loop with a bag (a canvas or burlap bag would do) attached so it stays open. You stick the bag under the swarm and rub it around to kock them loose into the bag. Of course the trick is always the queen.
If you can put the box under it and knock the limb hard enough to knock them off with a pole or whatever else you can come up with, that might work.
There is always the "shotgun" method, if you're not in town. Shoot the branch down with a box underneath that they (hopefully) fall in.
Also, it may be you did get the queen, but they were intent on swarming and not combining.
I've had much better results with a bee vac then with a shot gun Dan
If I can reach a swarm I'm more likely to use a brush than a vac, but if you can't reach it what are you going to do?
Hi I have a 20 foot ladder. My rule is if my ladder will not work I do not want it. Several times people have asked me Aren't you afraid of getting stung? I say no I'm afraid of falling off the ladder.
I agree. The fall is what I'm afraid of.
But stings can be distracting when you are on a ladder.
Its probably to late now but for the future maybe these will work.
I've put old hive boxes out hours after a swarm and had interest. Scout bees are looking as long as they are clustered. Only caught one like this but its a shot.
Not late in the evening since I would rather have the bees survive if catching means killing them. I would find any means possible to knock them down as a last resort. The end result of this is that they may regroup closer to the ground or take off and land a distance away but at a better spot. Just have your sneakers and some help to run after if they start moving. I have run after a swarm for about a half mile before they landed and were caught.
A 12 foot board and using the ladder.
Cut the branch down.
cut the tree down.
Lasso a rope with an old shoe on the end, up and over the branch to shake it.
Water hose(I never did this, but a thought)
Send a nieghbor kid on a dare.
I've used the water hose on wasps nests and taken them without harm to the wasps. I don't know why it couldn't work on a swarm.
I usually use a hammer tied to the end of a rope to go over the branch to shake it. I seem to be able to throw a hammer better than most things. But then I used to be a carpenter.
Thanks guys, for all your suggestions. I tried hard to dislodge the bees with a long handled rake, and also tried to entice them into a makeshift hive, using a few frames of honey-coated foundation. They showed a little interest, but none stayed. When I looked at the tree later this afternoon, they were gone -- possibly back to the original hive, which now has a real "beard". They were very good-natured about all this, even the girl who climbed under the elastic of my bee suit and up my pants leg and quickly flew away when I good get out of public view and release her. Bees continue to mystify me, and I have great admiration for professional beekeepers!