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Thread: Swarms

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Sebring, Florida, USA
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    Sad Swarms

    I have an exterminator that started bringing me swarms and nests from unwanted locations that he has captured. Instead of killing them, he wants me to try to hive them. I have not had any success on getting them to stay; I have tried it 5 times. Can any of you give me any info on how to get them to stay in my boxes? They have all left after eating my feed within a few days.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Sounds to me like they may not have queens with them. If no queens in the swarms, then they won't stay.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
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    Can you give them an open frame of brood when you hive them. I have had great luck getting difficult swarms to stick with this technique. Also a swarm lure pheromone helps or lemon grass oil. Are you hiving them on foundation or drawn comb? At least one old comb can also help, as it is very attractive to swarms and gives them something to work with.
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  4. #4
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    Default

    Yes I can give an open frame of brood; I will try that. I have never used any lures, do you use them? As to foundation, I have used a couple drawn comb and the rest foundation. With the one, they completely ignored the drawn comb and started their own before leaving. I also do not have the best luck in getting them all out of the exterminator's box and into my hive. The one stayed for 3 days, and on Sunday as I was heading to church, I saw them up in one of my oak trees, and when I returned, they were all gone, after eating all of the sugar syrup. Thanks for the input.

  5. #5
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    Could you ask the exterminator to call you when he comes across a swarm so you could go out to pick them up? Moving them into one box might be more successful than moving them into a box, driving a ways, then transferring them to a different box.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Ditto on the open frame of brood. I also give them some syrup (1 to 1). I've never lost a swarm when I do that. I have heard of others losing them with these steps but it knocks the chances down dramatically.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  7. #7
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    Default

    Thanks; I'll definitely give it a try this spring. He hinted at bringing me a bunch this next year.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Not to panic you but AHB do tend to abscond more often from what I have read about them and you are in Florida...
    That being said, you can also try adding in a queen excluder in between the hive body and the bottom board. I lost alot of free bees before I figured that one out.

  9. #9
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    Default

    I like that idea; thanks! As to AHB, that is a potential problem. Last year two swarms were found in my county. This guy is the "goto" guy for the county who destroys them. He has advised me that if any swarms appear aggressive, he will not bring them to me.
    Last edited by Anthony Ritenour; 01-21-2009 at 04:00 PM. Reason: bad writing

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cow pollinater View Post
    That being said, you can also try adding in a queen excluder in between the hive body and the bottom board. I lost alot of free bees before I figured that one out.
    Swarm queens are starved to slim them down so they can fly... They usually can fit through an excluder as easily as any worker.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  11. #11
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    Default

    I haven't lost a swarm since I started doing that and most of mine go onto bare foundation.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
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    Texarkana, TX
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    Default Swarms leaving

    Howdy Anthony

    Most likely no queen. Three keys:

    Open brood - be sure there are eggs.
    Close entrance with screen so they can not leave for 3 days.
    Feed 1:1 syrup immediately.

    Doc

  13. #13
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    Jun 2008
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    Hubert,North Carolina, USA
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    If at all possible, give your friend a hive that is ready to go. I mean with a frame or two of drawn comb and foundation in the others. Don't forget to give him an entrance screen. Then you don't have to transfer. Less stress on the bees seems to work better for me. Also maybe the exterminator needs a few lessons on catching swarms. Tell him to look for the fanning of the hive after swarm is caught, since this usually is a tell tell sign the QUEEN is in the hive!!!!!!!

  14. #14
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    Macon, GA USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Ritenour View Post
    ....He has advised me that if any swarms appear aggressive, he will not bring them to me.
    Be careful. From all the info I've seen so far, Africanized swarms do not usually show any more defensiveness than European swarms -- so their swarms could be very docile. Their defensiveness only becomes apparent when they have an actual hive to defend.

    I would highly suggest following the Best Management Practices set up by Jerry Hayes and others in FL. Follow the link and scroll down to "BMPs for maintaining European Honeybee Colonies". It links to a MSWord document -- see especially #6.

    http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/plantinsp/apiary/apiary.html

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cow pollinater View Post
    I haven't lost a swarm since I started doing that and most of mine go onto bare foundation.
    The power of belief is an amazing thing
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

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