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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Spicewood, TX, USA
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    375

    Default I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    I checked on one of my swarm traps this AM, and noticed a few bees checking it out. I have been sitting here for 45 min and the intensity has really picked up. Now I'm wondering if I already have a swarm or if these are just scout bees. There are 10 to 20 beesflying in and around the trap. Will it become obvious, and if so, how long should I give them before I take them home?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
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    2,887

    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    If they do take up residence I would wait until night fall and close the entrance and take them to a new home. They are much easier to move into a new hive before they start setting up house in a swarm trap. Just keep the entrance on the hive closed for several days and feed them some syrup until they start to establish.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,824

    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Scouting flight is circular with a lot of bees gathering around the entrance, rubbing antennae. Established flight is straight in and out, after the arrived bees mark their location. Scouts will be checking every crack of the box. Fighting bees is a good sign and if they start killing each other a swarm will almost certainly arrive. But I have seen scouting activity reach the intense limit of lots of killed bees without a swarm arriving in the end. I do not know if the killing is different hives fighting over the bait hive, or just intense arguments between bees of the same hive.
    This is a picture of bait hive war victims on an exposed aggregate patio. At least a hundred were killed over a few days time, and the swarm finally arrived. I catch about four at this location every year. An overturned garbage can makes a good stand.


  4. #4

    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Not to but in, but.... OdFrank - do you use the trash barrel for a stand for your swarm trap? If so, the mantra about 9-12' off the ground seems sub-critical?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Adair Co, Oklahoma
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    I have been told that you should leave the trap with the new colony in place for several days until they will began building comb and the queen gets comfortable in the trap before moving them. I you move them too early, they may leave. As far as placing the trap 10 to 12 feet off the ground, anything above 4 feet is fine according to several "experts" I have talked with.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeButler View Post
    If so, the mantra about 9-12' off the ground seems sub-critical?
    There is so much poor information passed out on BeeSource that I warn you not to take any of it until well digested.
    I have Multiple Sclerosis, can barely walk, climb a ladder, or stairs, but caught 50 bait swarms last year none place higher than I can reach from the ground.
    I have caught several at ground level.
    All about four feet off the ground:





  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Spicewood, TX, USA
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    375

    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Alrighty then, so much for getting lifted up in the bucket of a front end loader. Assuming I do catch the swarm, I have to find some brave soul to sit on the loader and lift me up there while I take it down. If those photos are what they are supposed to look like when the swarm comes, I would say I must have been seeing scout bees, but it did get pretty active by the time I left. I will check it again late this afternoon and then again in the AM.




  8. #8

    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Thanks, Odfrank. Great photos. Hope you have as much swarm success this year!

    B

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Stanisr View Post
    I you move them too early, they may leave. As far as placing the trap 10 to 12 feet off the ground, anything above 4 feet is fine according to several "experts" I have talked with.
    I have moved many in the evening after they arrive and none have abandoned the box.
    The only one I have had leave is the one shown below that could not fit. I am now making eight frame traps, but have caught two frame baits in eight frame traps and full baits in five frame traps.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Risky Beesness View Post
    Alrighty then, so much for getting lifted up in the bucket of a front end loader.
    My main requisite for a bait swarm location:
    how easy will it be to pick up at night. I now place baits on stands in all my apiaries so that I don't have to move them at all.

    If there are swarms around, and your bait hive is attractive, bees will move in almost anywhere. i have four hives in an open top "hive closet", and much to my surprise, have caught several bait swarms in the closet.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
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    780

    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    <snip> i have four hives in an open top "hive closet", and much to my surprise, have caught several bait swarms in the closet.
    Odfrank - Could you please describe/define this "hive closet"? Just curious. Thx. -james

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Collinsville, Illinois
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    86

    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    this is a very good thread....and i'm interested in hearing more, esp. from odfrank....i've made two five frame traps this past winter in hopes of catching a swarm...i have four hives and want to expand,....would like to hear what attractant you are using and more about your set up.....you're putting these things in your own beeyard ? how close to your hives ?

    dixie

  13. #13
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    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Risky Beesness View Post
    Alrighty then, so much for getting lifted up in the bucket of a front end loader.
    Why don't you move it down before a swarm comes?

  14. #14
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    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by dixiebooks View Post
    Odfrank - Could you please describe/define this "hive closet"? Just curious. Thx. -james
    My "BeeHive Closet":

    I was hired to manage bees at this site, the ones they owned were very mean. Consequently, some I caught there also buzzed the gardeners. So I built this 4'X8' closet with gates on both ends. Now the guard bees on the entrance can not see any activity around their hives and there have been no more "mean bee" problems. I can work the bees from both ends. I have caught at least two baits on the stands inside the closet.



  15. #15
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    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by dixie1 View Post
    twould like to hear what attractant you are using and more about your set up.....you're putting these things in your own beeyard ? how close to your hives ?dixie
    I use old black combs but have caught swarms on foundation and new yellow combs. On new boxes I melt wax and propolis on the entrance and inside. I dribble a few drops of lemon grass oil on a comb and entrance. I already caught one this year, in my own yard, in a brand new box, that had not yet been treated with LGO. I put them wherever I can get permission - neighbors, friends, customers, and even advertised in Craigslist and got a new site where the owner had problem swarms in the past. I have one site that caught ten last year.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Spicewood, TX, USA
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    375

    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Why don't you move it down before a swarm comes?
    Since there are bees going in already, I think I will follow through and write it off to the "newbie learning curve". I am just stoked about building something from scratch and having it appear to be working. This is my kind of fishing.

    This is what it looked like this afternoon. Sorry for the poor quality.
    Swarm Trap Video

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Whitehall Texas
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    79

    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    I was wondering what the best method of moving a new catch into a permanent hive is..

    I made 8 of the 5 frame traps this year and expecting great results, due to where I live

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Spicewood, TX, USA
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    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Same here. How dark does it need to be, I mean at what point of darkness have all the bees returned? Also, since my traps are 10 and 8 frame deeps, with foundationless frames, can I bring them home and leave them in it for a while or should I transfer them immediately to a hive body?

  19. #19
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    Dec 2010
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    Spicewood, TX, USA
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    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    Checked on it again this AM. It appears that they are just flying into and out of the opening. No fighting or dancing around the opening today. Think I should chance it and take them down tonight or give them a couple more days?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
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    2,887

    Default Re: I Think I Am Catching 1st Bees

    You know that all the bees are in for the night when none are returning to the hive anymore, usually right around dusk.

    Sounds to me like you caught the swarm already, maybe even before you discovered bees coming and going.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

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