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Thread: Swarm call

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Madison county, IL
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    Default Swarm call

    A coworker called me to let me know she has a swarm on a branch in her back yard. Is it too late in the year to capture a swarm? Can they survive in a NUC? Is it worth it this time of year?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    2,489

    Default Re: Swarm call

    Why not try? Worst that will happen is that they will draw some comb for you and die out over winter or early spring. My hive is busy stashing away honey at the moment, no idea what it is, but they have filled a comb or more in a shallow super since last week.

    If they build up well, you should be able to feed them up enough in a nuc box to winter over. Might not build out a full hive at this point.

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
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    2,025

    Default Re: Swarm call

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Read up on overwintering nucs and give it a try.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wilmington, Illinois, USA
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    875

    Default Re: Swarm call

    Why not ? There is at least 2 months left in the season. You'd be amazed at how fast they can get up to speed. Would suggest one brood box and one honey super for their winter stores. They may not fill out the honey super until the last month of their season.
    Honey is the best thing ever discovered ! www.greenanything.net/honey-bees.php

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Madison county, IL
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    28

    Default Re: Swarm call - update

    I went over a looked at the swarm. This is my first attempt at capturing a swarm ( I watched all the Utube videos ). This swarm actualy has comb built around the branches. Is that normal? does that change the process at all? I assume the bees will be a little more agressive when I mess with them.

    It is in a pretty easy location. I was going to just trim the limb and put them in a NUC.

    Thanks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Bloomington, IN, USA
    Posts
    307

    Default Re: Swarm call

    I have NO experience with swarms with comb, but I have read on this sight last year, that many swarms start to take up residence outside. The posts I read were from the fall of the year.
    Just think of it as a bonus. A cut out with no walls - sort of.
    Good luck!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, U.S.A.
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    396

    Default Re: Swarm call

    If I found a swarm and I had a box and supplies I would be getting it ......if it fails it fails if I get a few frames of drawn comb for next year Im ahead,if it makes it through the winter I am way ahead...I do not see a down side.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: Swarm call

    You can never tell how early winter will set in or how motivated the swarm will be, but swarms tend to be very motivated.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Swarm call

    Just be careful, make sure you have all your gear on and smoker lit. Swarms that have been hanging around for a while can get tetchy. I caught my first one last season was way to gung ho about it and copped ~20 stings and a trip to hospital for my troubles. Have split it since and have two strong hives out of it so worth it in the end, but dont beleive everything you read about swarms being passive...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, U.S.A.
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    396

    Default Re: Swarm call

    you do relize that once they have a comb built and have settled in they are not swarms anymore ...swarms are a colony looking for a home not building one

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Madison county, IL
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    28

    Default Re: Swarm call

    Johnblagg, I didn't know that but now I do. I'm a neebie and learning something new every day regarding bees. This will be my first wild capture. Thanks.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    Default Re: Swarm call

    Quote Originally Posted by rbaum0519 View Post
    Johnblagg, I didn't know that but now I do. I'm a neebie and learning something new every day regarding bees. This will be my first wild capture. Thanks.
    I'm envious!!! Be careful, but GO FOR IT!!!!!!!

    Ed

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, U.S.A.
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    Default Re: Swarm call

    lol a log I picked up sunday full of bees decided to swarm today ...they are now in a box so YES,YES I would catch those swarms

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Madison county, IL
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    28

    Default Re: Swarm call

    I just got back from Step 1. I cut the branches and lowered the enitre hive into a 5 gallon bucket. There was allot of unfilled comb - pristine white with no brood or honey in it yet. I'm hoping all the foragers will return so I can go back later and pop a lid on and bring them home to a Hive body.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, U.S.A.
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    Default Re: Swarm call

    good call and they should do just that...use a screen wire cover so they dont smother in the bucket on the way home

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    1,766

    Wink Re: Swarm call

    Wow! One day I want to do this. Ordered parts this morning so I can set up a 2nd, empty, hive..... I actually know where a hive has taken up residence in a shed next to my ex-husband's place. They were originally nesting in the rocks on his pond.

    Have fun, be safe, want to read the results!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Battle Ground, Wa
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: Swarm call

    I picked up one a lot like what you described just last week. It came in as a swarm call & after getting all the details the home owner casually mentioned that they had been there a month!!!. It was about a football sized group with three combs on a branch that was maybe two inches in diameter & cut off about six inches past the colony. Went over just before dark, pruned off a few small branches & slipped a garbage bag over the whole thing, tied it & cut the branch off. After getting them home I opened up the bag & then rubber banded them into combs the next morning. They're doing great so far.
    In general I wouldn't advise working bees close to dark, but in this case it was the easiest way to catch all the workers at home and all I was doing was bagging them, not cutting fitting brood into frames.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    457

    Default Re: Swarm call

    Like Johnblagg said, use a screened cover. You'll be surprised at how much heat a swarm can put out even with a screened cover. Oh, be sure to attach the screen on the topside of the lid, and not the underside of the lid. The weight of the bees clustering on the screen can pull it off. I won't make the mistake twice.

    Pugs

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Madison county, IL
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    28

    Default Re: Swarm call

    I cut a few holes in the lid of the bucket and taped nylon screen to cover them. Got the bees home and hived. I didn't have any drawn comb for them so I'll be feeding them heavily.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    Default Re: Swarm call

    Quote Originally Posted by rbaum0519 View Post
    I cut a few holes in the lid of the bucket and taped nylon screen to cover them. Got the bees home and hived. I didn't have any drawn comb for them so I'll be feeding them heavily.
    But you have the unfilled comb in there, right? Sounds like you made a good haul!

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