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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Middlebury, Vermont

    Default What Questions Can You Ask A Swarm-Caller to Avoid False Alarms?

    I got a call about doing a cut-out here in Halifax a week ago. I was pumped. I've never done one.

    Another beek south of me had gotten the call first, but he was too busy, and seeing as the caller was in my area, he passed it on to me.

    So I called the guy, and found that it was challenging to talk to a person, and to try and make sure that what he had were honey bees, and not something else, without making them feel like you didn't trust them. This guy was pretty certain that he had honeybees.

    So, in talking to him, I found that the nest entrance was at the foot of his front door frame, and he could see it from one of his windows. The fact that the entrance was low to the ground concerned me, as I asked,
    "How many bees are you seeing?"
    His answer?
    "Well you know, I'll see one in the morning, and then I might see another later that same day."

    Done. I explained that he likely had bumble bees or wasps, and what I felt his options were for dealing with them, but I didn't even bother to travel the 20 minutes to go over there. Here in Nova Scotia, the wasps and bumbles are just getting started, so their numbers are relatively low in a nest.

    So I still have yet to do my first cut-out.

    What are your key questions and your approach to asking them, to avoid wasting time on wasps and bumble bees?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109

    Default Re: What Questions Can You Ask A Swarm-Caller to Avoid False Alarms?

    ask a lot of questions, how high are they? how do you know they are honey bees? what do you see? where are you located ( how far away)

    After asking a lot of questions and telling them to set out a can of sweet pop and see if the "bees" go into the can and call me back if the dont and if they do go in call Joe the exterminator

    The last thing I tell most is OK I will come look and if they are Yellow Jackets you owe me 20 bux for gas, and if they are honey bees wwe will talk MOST never call back
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Livingston County, NY

    Default Re: What Questions Can You Ask A Swarm-Caller to Avoid False Alarms?

    I have gotten LOTS of calls where peeps think they have a swarm, when in fact they have a resident colony. I will GLADLY take a swarm for free. I would recommend asking questions concerning inside a dwelling or on a bush, post, lawn chair, etc. John Pluta made a statement that I wrote on top of my Cutout checklist...'The easiest cutout is a pain in the butt' (my paraphrase)
    I went to a local hotel, 3 stories up in the soffits LOTS of honeybees. Owners thought it was a swarm. "How long have they been there?" response:"years". AINT A SWARM! power lines obstructing any chance of using a lift. Went up to 3rd floor. 10' ceilings, plaster & lathe, lead paint, & colony is in cavity above separating wall. Large pitb! When I told them that they had lead paint & I could be fined for disturbing lead w/o "proper procedures" they decided that my fees were not practical.
    My point is; better to ask too many questions & get a good read on the reality before wasting time with someone who has mis-identified a resident colony w/ a swarm, & is/was expecting that I would take it for free. Clean up alone from an easy cutout is a PAIN!
    Looking forward to a "questionaire" to save wasted time.
    I have done 2 cutouts this year; 1 in ceiling PITB! still have bees, doin well, GOT PAID, & 1 in barn, same results.
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee

    Default Re: What Questions Can You Ask A Swarm-Caller to Avoid False Alarms?

    Some of my questions have already been covered: If they are in a tree, how high are they? (learned that one the hard way, after a long trip out to nowhere for nothing - swarm was 75' up and way out on the edge of the limb). How far away are you? Are these bees actually on YOUR property? If not, does the property owner know you are calling me? (again, learned the hard way). How many bees? Are they forming a ball or a cluster? How big of a ball - softball, soccer ball, basket ball? Are they going into a hole in the (building, tree, whatever)? How many do you see flying around? A lot? About what time of day does this happen? (if just in the afternoon, it is likely an established feral colony taking orientation flights).

    Then I make sure they know that bee removal isn't free - certainly not a cutout. I give them my price range spiel.

    I also like honeymans suggestion of: "OK, since u are positive these are honeybees, I will come out and give you an estimate but if it turns out to be yellow jackets, a $20 charge applies to HELP pay for fuel." Again, learned the hard way for me.



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