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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Chandler, Tx
    Posts
    282

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    Yesterday I got a call to pick up a swarm from a ladies front yard. It was only about 10' up hanging from a big oak limb. I backed the truck up, got our my nuc that I had put a drop or 2 of lemongrass oil in and lit my smoker. I started to put on my bee suit but before I could get one leg in it they started becoming VERY active. They flew right through me tapping me on the head as they went. Then they flew across her pastuer, across the highway and out of view. I didn't get stung at least but I was baffled by why they left in such a hurry. They only thing I could figure was that it was the smell of the lemongrass oil. She did say that they had been hanging there for about 5 days. So I'm sure they were getting ready to move on anyway. I just hated that I missed out on catching them. But she was happy to see them leave.

    Any thoughts on all of this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
    Posts
    1,998

    Post

    I don't use a smoker on swarms (it never seemed necessary). Maybe the smoke itself encouraged them to relocate. Have you used smokers on swarms before?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,068

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    My guess..... just a case of bad timing... 5 days is a long time for a swarm to hang around. If I shake frames of bees off or brush off young bees they seem to congregate at the swarm traps in the bee yard. They've never oriented to their own hives and are attracted to the lemongrass oil. Usually a day or so later they're gone. I'm assuming found a home in one of the hives. I'd find it difficult to believe that it would drive them away.

    Dan
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Whidbey Island, WA, USA
    Posts
    182

    Post

    You still got rid of them so I hope you got paid anyway!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Chandler, Tx
    Posts
    282

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    I've always lit a smoker while getting a swarm but have rarely ever used it. I just like to have it ready just in case. Sometimes I use it to coax them into the hive a little. The smoke from my smoker was blowing in the opposite direction so I don't think it was the smoke that drove them off. They seem to get really excited when I took the lid off the hive that was baited with the lemongrass oil. And then like I said ....off they flew. I think you are probably right. Just bad timing.

    I've got another call to go and check out at a guys storage building behind his house. He said the door doesn't shut well and he has honey bees flying back and fourth through the door. I hope they are built somewhere in the room where I can get them and not inside the interior wall. I'm fairly new to beekeping and have never been called out to look at anything like this.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

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    I've had good luck with the lemongrass oil. I never smoke a swarm. But when they are ready to go they don't wait on you. They fly. Many times I've gotten there just as they were leaving.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,115

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    Try and spray them with some clean cool water, donÂ’t soak them just a lite spray, a hand pump sprayer works good. It seems to calm them and they will shake into a box or whatever you are catching them in, without a lot of flying around.
    This works well on a swarm, an established hive will have to be smoked and then cut the comb and fit into a empty frame, keep the comb in the right orientation the cells have a downward pitch so the nectar will stay in the comb.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Chandler, Tx
    Posts
    282

    Post

    Good idea. My grandfather does this. He claims it makes them think it is raining and they will stay around longer. I've also heard of people using sugar water.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    san antonio.texas USA
    Posts
    487

    Post

    Sounds like the bees may have been moving regardless of what you did. I see no benefit useing a smoker or puting lemon grass oil in a smoker when hiveing a swarm. I much prefer to spray them with sugar water if I have it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    1,848

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    At least you tried propolis30, thats what counts. My guess is that they would have left at that moment whether you were there or not. Appears that their housing authority found a new house that satisfied their colony just as you were going to interfere with their plans.
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1,525

    Post

    <The smoke from my smoker was blowing in the opposite direction so I don't think it was the smoke that drove them off.>

    Any amount of smoke should drive them off. Remember they have already gorged on honey and have no hive, brood or stores to protect. Simulating rain using water or sugar water should work a lot better than smoke. Smoke makes them gorge on honey. But these bees don't have any honey so they just abscond.

    Never smoke a swarm unless you just want them to move on.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
    Posts
    1,998

    Post

    Dilute sugar water is nice for working bees. It makes their wings sticky so they can't fly, and they also fill up on the sweet stuff and cannot sting as easily.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Chandler, Tx
    Posts
    282

    Post

    Great info to know. I won't light a smoker next time. I'll bring a spray bottle instead.

    Thanks!

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