Second swarm of the week, 82520, commercial beeks just moved in, I thank them for my new bees, look like Carnies, will post picks.
Second swarm of the week, 82520, commercial beeks just moved in, I thank them for my new bees, look like Carnies, will post picks.
We have had six swarms in the last two- three weeks. We captured four and gave them new TBH homes. Went from three hives (intended) for this year up to seven. Please give suggestions as to how to combine the smaller captured swarms as we are concerned they may not have enough time to develop in numbers and prepare for winter here in cold Wisconsin. All but one swarm seems to have come from our own hives. We are not in this for the honey production, we enjoy the bees and are happy to have them populate and increase their numbers.
Combining should not bee all that hard. For Lang's, just get them started and then put a sheet of newspaper across the top of one and punch a few pencil-sized holes in the paper and put your weaker box on top of the paper. Close everything up and come back in a few days and there should be shredded paper to clean up and a single colony. I've done this a couple of times and it worked out well. I guess there's some risk of ending up queenless but in my case, one always survived.
I juat started with TBH's this year so am not sure if there's an "approved" or "proven" method. I guess you could make up a special follower board witha big hole in the middle and duct tape your newsprint over the board. It could work, don't you think....?
Swarm in the big city. Chicago, Today (July 4, 2011), to the neighborhood playground, captured and brought back. The weather has been about mid-eighty. Can't figure out why, no swarm cells, no queen cells, no idea...
4th of July!...They just flew in and landed in a trap as we were drinking our morning coffee. It was quite a sight.
I guess they just wanted their independence!
Late posting this, but saw/had?/caught my first swarm on the 25th of June...25-30 feet up and basketball size...hopefully I can eventually post video of it. Covered half the lens on my phone when they left the hive, so no good video of that! 53182
Hived a small swarm this morning into one of my nucs. It was about the size of 2 medium oranges, or a double handful. They were about 4 feet off the ground on a small limb of one of my holly trees. Clipped the branch with my hand snips, shook them gently into the box, and looks like they are happy in their new home.
Today is July 9, 2011
I picked up a swarm call last week July 3 in a guys yard up in a pine tree. Perfect weather for days. There was more bees before he gave them a bath w/ the hose but I got around 2 lbs in bee's. Downtown Anchorage,AK
July 6, probably two swarms from one of my own hives. Ogden, UT 84405
Huge swarm spotted on some high voltage power lines on the NW side of Milwaukee. Watched it for about 30 minutes to see if it would move, but they seemed to have settled in for the day. Milwaukee 53222
July 12 about 3:00pm
My first swarm ever and it could not have been easier. About four pound swarm that was hanging from a branch about 30 INCHES from the ground. I just slipped a plastic tote under the swarm, gave the branch a quick shake. and they just dropped with a buzzing thud. I put the lid (with a screen vent) on then cut the branch down to a size that would fit in the tote. The rest of the swarm went back to the branch as I was cutting or to the vent on the lid. After I put branch in the tote i opened up the screen a bit and the rest just marched right in. Heading out to hive them after dinner
The whole thinbg took about 15 mins
I just had my first swarm today, 7/12/2011. I have two hives going from May 6. I went out to check on my bees and noticed a huge swarm on a small 4 ft. pine tree near my garden... where I have my other two hives. There must have been 20K bees there. I was completely surprised, not ready. I had four supers put together, but no frames as yet. Thinking that since I just got my bees in May they wouldn't swarm this year.... WRONG. I was nailing those frames together at lightening speed. During this time a small thunder storm come over with about 5 minutes of hail. I didn't have a spare bottom board or top so had to use 3 5-gal. buckets to sit the super on, then grabbed a piece of plywood for the top and put 4 rocks on the edges to hold the plywood up from the top of the super. Painted some raw honey on 3 of the frames.... for bait. Then gently grabbed handfuls of bees and 'poured' them onto the super frames (before I put my makeshift top on). When my husband got home he made up a plywood bottom board for me while I made up ten more frames for an additional super. By the time we had the second super ready (the boxes had been painted early May), the swarm had started to settle into their new home which had been placed right next to the pine tree. We put the second super next to the other two hives, and then carried the newly inhabited super on top and put the makeshift top on. I'll check on them tomorrow after they have had a chance to 'settle in', and look for a queen. I had to really hustle today.
tomorrow we will get the remaining super frames ready, AND call Western Bee and order 4 more deeps, two telescoping tops, two inner covers, and two bottoms. I obviously didn't have pine for my bottom today, just happened to have plywood handy, and no time to paint either. If I don't see a queen bee, guess I'll be ordering her also.
I'm pooped. But it was really exciting and fun. The little rain we got .. here in Montana..helped to 'slow them down a little'. Made it easy to gather them up and pour them into their new home. So, since I have two hives to start with, I guess I have to expect another swarm again from the other hive in the next few days.
Yes, it was fun and surprisingly easy. I just happened to walk out to check on my two hives I started May 6 and noticed a huge brown ball on a little pine tree. EAsily twice the amount in the bee boxes I got at the start from Western Bee...so about 7 to 8 lbs. The two supers I had to put them in are not nearly large enough, so have to call Western Bee to get some deeps ASAP. I do have two more supers I can use, but do have to put the frames together for them. I guess because I just started this May, I didn't think they would swarm this Spring. SURPRISE, SURPRISE.
So, now I have to get ready for another swarm,,, since I have two hives.
We had planned a 5 week vacation to see our kids, so had neighbors feeding the bees from June 4 til June 27, as we had a very late Spring. Lots of rain and very cool temps, no flowers. Obviously, the Queen was well fed. "-) Anyway, plan to change them over to deeps as soon as I can get them. Just want to use the Supers for honey harvest. At first I was a bit intimitated because of the numbers in the swarm, but they proved to be very gentle (I had a short sleeved shirt on, with just short leather gloves). Hope I managed to get the queen in the new home. Will look for her tomorrow.
Congrats!!! Sounds like a ton of fun. Don't worry about looking for the queen. Give them a few days and go from there. I caught a swarm and gave them 3 days before opening them up. I didn't want to have them leave on me due to my meddling. They're now comfortable in their "new" home. I also wouldn't worry about a queen. If you'd like check the old hive to see if there are queen cells. My guess is that there will be. If you only have them in 1 deep then that's why they swarmed. Have fun!!!
Just learned a very valuable lesson. We had to run errands this morning, so I called Western Bee, ordered another Super Special (2 deeps, 1 super, top, bottom, and queen excluder). Told them about my swarm and what I'd done so far. They said it was most probably from one of my hives, so to just add the two supers of bees to the hive they swarmed from (like THAT'S easy to figure out.... both hives looked conjested). Soooo, I did what any new beekeeper would do.... I GUESSED. While out there, I decided to 'reverse' the remaining hive and add a super and queen excluder to it. Well,,,,,, I had my husband lifting the top deep so we could switch them, but the little devils had three frames glued to the top deep. So I tried to pry them free so we could do the switch. I OBVIOUSLY FORGOT SOME IMPORTANT WORDS FROM THE BOOK..... This is best done after SMOKING THE LITTLE DEVILS. OR at the very least when it is COLD... as the process of having the top deep lifted up in a rush by my husband and me trying to pry the frames loose REALLY, REALLY pissed them off. The result was something from a Charlie Chaplin movie. One got caught in my hair right next to my ear (hence, the fear of having her
insert her 'weapon' in my ear) so I tried to get her out and ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.
We had to step away for about 5 minutes to let their tempers cool down a bit...... after I sustained about 6... yes... count them six 'HARPOONS' in my face. Then we went back and simply added the queen excluder to the one I was trying to reverse and added the super to it; put the inner and telescoping tops back on and came inside.
This was at 2:45 MT time. So the right side of my face should look somewhat like a punching bag later tonight. HOWEVER, I AM A QUICK LEARNER..... NEVER TO MAKE THIS MISTAKE AGAIN. I was rushing to get ahead of this thunder storm coming in, and the makeshif top was already wet from last nights rain. Try to do something nice in a hurry and what do you get????? Anyway, will go back out and do the reversal probably Friday... hoping they forget who it was that was 'screwing' things up two days earlier and we can re-establish a good relationship. BUT,,,, I got to taste some of the honey, and IT'S WONDERFUL!!!. I just hope I put the swarm back with the right bunch of girls.
"after I sustained about 6... yes... count them six 'HARPOONS' in my face."
I have the full suit, but have not needed it. I was always slow and gentle, etc.
So, I should have known better than to rush things. Anyway, they only stung for a few minutes, can't even see where they 'harpooned' me now. I just went back out to pick up the feeder trays we took out. (our weather in May was rainy and cold, so we had to keep feeding them until about June 18. And since we were in CA on vacation, our neighbors were doing the feeding for us, but not comfortable in pulling the trays out).
The one tray was empty of bees (heh, heh, but I did get some comb loaded with honey left inside). The other tray had 'some' brood comb in it and lots of bees, so we layed it on the bottom board in front of the hive opening. As of about 40 minutes ago, it was still pretty 'busy'. Also, the other tray (that I have since cleaned), had a couple of queen bee combs. I had to take it out. I layed it as close to the inside of the hive entrance as possible. There is still a large ball of bees around it, so don't know what will happen there. If I pushed it inside, I would have crushed the future queens.. at least that's what they looked like... much larger than the other girls. So, it's now 8:20pm here, I'm going back out to hopefully collect the other feeder tray in about 40 min.
If it is still heavy involved, I'll just leave it there and collect it early tomorrow morning.
I know I'll be losing some future brood, but I need to get them out of the tray and back into the hive. They seem to be settling down. I was doing this without the 'hazmat suit'. If I can figure out how to attach photos in the next few days I'll do it.
Oh, the honey comb that came out of the one tray gave us about 1/4 cup of honey.
I think it's a little high in water content, when I finished pushing the honey thru a small
sifting grid there was a very small amount of water that seem to come to the surface. The flavor is really great though.
Book says water content should be less than 18.6%. So guess I have to look into some additional equipment. Starting to save for an electric extractor. Getting ahead of myself here. Will let you know if I'm able to get the last feeder tray in 30 min.
10:06, just went back out to recheck bees. The ball surrounding the Queen Bees 'nest' has left and gone inside. However, at least two of the queens are moving, so I opened the space between the top deep and new super and moved the end frame closer towards middle to give me room to shove the 'nest' of queens inside. Sooo, they are in with their sisters,, that's the best I can do for them.
The feeder tray I had left in front of the other hive still had quite a few bees in it, although most have made their way into the hive. I elected to move the tray right up next to the hive entrance for the night. I'll set my alarm for very early tomorrow morning and get up ........and this time... just to be safe...rrr, I'll put on my 'hazmat suit... complete with veil and shake out any bees still inside the tray.
Planning to try the 'reversal' bit again Friday morning VERY EARLY, so the girls are still
sluggish. Wearing the hazmat suit. But this will give me a day to 'master' the smoker, so I don't get it too hot, etc.
More updates on Friday.
35805 Huntsville, AL. Swarm call at Madison County Board of Education on a sign in back parking lot. However some idiot sprayed them all with wasp killer. I guess this bonehead thought he was saving his co-workers from the Apocolypse. This is the third swarm call I've received in the last month where someone kills them before I arrrive.
Rohe Bee Ranch "Free Range Bees"