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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    New Cumberland, PA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default Swarm Questions??

    Im a new beek (one season under my belt) and I am thinking of ways on how to capture my my own swarms that may leave their happy home for another.

    For those of you lucky or unlucky enough to see a swarm depart from your hive, do they circle the hive or do they basically fly in the direction to where the hive entrance is pointing.

    My understanding is that when the queen lands, the rest of the bees land and cluster around her and the swarm can be at any height from the ground.
    Does this mean that she is in control of the flight and path of the bees?

    For those of you who have seen swarms of bees that have landed, is there a statistical average on how far the swarm was from the ground and how far it was from the hive and what direction the swarm was from the entrance of the hive.

    I have been wondering if I put obstacles in front of the hive such as a potted evergreen tree, would the queen be more likely to land there or does the swarm go where ever the good lord leads them? Has anybody ever tried that and what results could you share. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,305

    Default

    Swarms circle and look for a spot that is not in direct sunlight. If there are cedar trees close they usually land on the shaded side of those.

    The queen leaves when about one third to one half of the swarm has departed. I personally think she follows worker bees that search out a cluster location.

    The warmer the day the further the swarm goes before it lands and the higher off the ground it will be. Most of my swarms have landed within fifty yards of the hives. There are trees down the east side and across the south front of my bee yards and the bees usually land on a tree that is in front, 12 o'clock position, or at the 8 o'clock position from their hive location.

    I met a beekeeper that said he had no trees close to his hives so he drove a piece of pipe in the ground in front of the colony and cut a small cedar and placed it in the pipe so it stood upright. He claimed he caught swarms from his colonies this way.

    Checkerboarding has about eliminated my swarms, but I still clip a wing on my queens. My hives are close by and I am retired so I have a chance to check every day. Swarms will emerge at about the same time of day, so if you hear of a swarm happening, check your hives at that time.

    If you have a swarm, "Padgen" the colony that swarmed and you will have a good producer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default

    Speaking from books and others (not swarmed myself) they usually land within a hundred feet of their hive, but that is on the first day. If they swarm again from that spot then further away, but they may swarm from that spot in a day or an hour, so.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    New Cumberland, PA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default

    When you clip one of the queen's wing, I am guessing that if the queen is caught up in a swarm, that all she does is go outside the hive and she is unable to fly and the swarm to be captured is right outside the hive.

    How do you clip a queen's wing -- Do you do it yourself or with others.

    I will need to read a thread on checkerboarding. thanks for sharing

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,584

    Default

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,305

    Default

    When I clip a queen I pick her up by both wings. If I miss her on the first try I let her go till another day.

    If I catch her, I touch her legs to the tip of the first finger on my left hand. When she grabs the tip of my finger with her legs I trap all the legs on her left side with my left thumb.

    I cut off 1/3rd of a wing, left for odd years and right for even numbered years. If you fail to trap the hind leg be careful you dont cut it.

    When I decided to learn to clip wings I raised 50 extra queens to work on. If they were superseded within 30 days I considered it my fault. I lost 50% the first year, 20% the second and 0% in the years since then.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Starkville,Ms,USA
    Posts
    516

    Default

    I met a beekeeper that said he had no trees close to his hives so he drove a piece of pipe in the ground in front of the colony and cut a small cedar and placed it in the pipe so it stood upright. He claimed he caught swarms from his colonies this way.

    I read about a beek who would stuff a stocking with some lightweight material so that it had the shape of a typical swarm hanging from a limb. He would hang it from a rope high in a tree within sight of his hives. When a hive would swarm he said they would tend to swarm onto that stocking and then he would just come along and lower the swarm with the rope and collect them.

    I'd like to try that sometime to see if it works. It would be annoying to see your unreachable swarm 30 feet up in a tree with no way to retrieve it.

    Of course swarm prevention is the best method of all.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    independence,ky,usa
    Posts
    53

    Default

    I wonder if you could put some swarm lure on the stocking to incress your chances of catching a swarm?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Loganville, GA
    Posts
    2,172

    Default

    I'm sure it would. I've talked to folks that have placed lures on accessible limbs before that attracted swarms well and consistently.
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,584

    Default

    I've done lures on accessible limbs with good success. I LOVE the idea of the sock. Maybe I'll get around to trying that one with some swarm lure in it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,990

    Default

    I had a black sock hanging with a lure and sand in it for years and numerous swarms passed it by. My Chinese elm tree bonsai with bark resembling a swarm, caught several.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Starkville,Ms,USA
    Posts
    516

    Default

    I LOVE the idea of the sock.
    I forgot to mention the name of the beekeeper who used that method.

    L.L. Langstroth.

    I read of another modern day beek who used that method with a dark stocking cap.

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