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  1. #1
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    Default September swarms in south Alabama????

    I know it's LATE but I'm curious if there are normally any late summer swarms in south Alabama. It seems that the feral colonies would have stores put up that might be crowding them a bit for room and might encourage a swarm.

    I've got a couple of spots I could go fishing at if it might be possible. I know the chances are *slim* but... I know also, that it's late to get a new swarm built up, but if they're going to swarm they'd have a tough time in a hollow log, too, so I could give them a little added help...feeding, housing, etc.,. Plus, it'd give me something to tinker with.

    But, am I just wishful thinking and need to wait till the spring?

    Ed

  2. #2
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    Default Re: September swarms in south Alabama????

    Ed, my traps are filling up every few days... I have recently set up a study to test the feral populations in a national forest and placed 45 traps with my lures in them spread throughout a 209 square mile area...37 have caught 2+# swarms with a few being 5+#... this is since august 1st... quite a few of the swarms were led by virgins, and we are now seeking the original locations to find out if they are indeed swarms, or if they are absconding colonies that were being slimed... poor ferals... as soon as they start getting over the mites, shb comes along...

    http://i1040.photobucket.com/albums/.../cell17016.jpg

    http://i1040.photobucket.com/albums/.../cell17013.jpg
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 09-01-2011 at 04:32 AM. Reason: imagers larger than rules allow please read posting rules

  3. #3
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    Default Re: September swarms in south Alabama????

    Russell, that short note from you really tells a much larger story! It seems that with the ferals swarming late that there will probably be many of them lost this winter. With fewer ferals in the population the "wild" gene pool could slant towards more towards the Africans being as the Africans are more adept at a "transient" lifestyle and by nature swarm often. The Europeans depend more on larger stores and a more "settled" home life.



    I guess I'd better get some wood and a saw set up and start building some nucs....5-frame double mediums is what I'm planning on...that 5# of yours won't fit but hopefully others will! I don't have any comb, just some foundation, lemongrass essential oil, and a couple of pheromone lures. I'm figuring maybe a starter strip or two in each nuc and the rest with just the wedge nailed in vertically. Ya gotta use what ya got...

    I really want to get feral/survivor stock...

    Ed

  4. #4
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    Default Re: September swarms in south Alabama????

    Keep in mind that "Feral" and "Wild" are most often two totally different creatures... many people capture swarms thinking they are feral survivors, when they are infact just swarms from other beeks... another part of that is that this is shb prime-time, so a lot of the "swarms" that are cuaght are actually bees that have absconded from their homes (whether it be a tree or a hive) after being slimed by the beetles... those that come from "feral" colonies can very well have been swarms from other hives from this season, or even swarms that made it through this last year or two, but may have been on deaths door even before the beetles got to them... so absconding could have been a blessing for them, as they abandoned their brood and with it, the majority of their mite populations... since shb, the "feral survivors" of mites have been/are being wiped out by shb... that is one of the reasons for our new studies... we intend to try to locate as many as possible and attempt to determine how much influence managed genetics have had on the feral popluations in the way of helping them to withstand the mites... at the same time, it is a chance to safe come of their lineages from the shb... the ferals of the "pre-mite" days were greatly influenced by amm genetics and their pockets are ever thinning due to shb after they were just starting to make a slow comeback from the mites... with the earlier popularity of russians in the US, there are many russian influenced swarms out there and that makes it much harder for the average bee keeper to distinguish between angry russian infuenced swarms and naturally protective AMM swarms... even more so, the russian influenced swarms may be quite light in color and thus are thought to be AHB and destroyed because of it... just giving you a little info that may be helpful in identifying what you find.

  5. #5
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    robertsdale,Al.,USA
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    Default Re: September swarms in south Alabama????

    still catching swarms in Baldwin cty....our SHB like our bees so much they travel with the swarms...if only beetles could produce honey also

  6. #6
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    Default Re: September swarms in south Alabama????

    Thanks for the info, Russell. I understand the feral/wild difference that you speak of. Aren't they all wild, though?....having been brought here from Europe (and Africa)??? But, I do indeed understand where you're coming from.

    This late summer swarming is very interesting...and sad/scary. We could (hopefully not, though) be watching the annihilation of feral bees. It seems even more urgent to capture and try to retain these colonies before the genes are lost...but, once we house them in hives can they be called feral anymore?

    Are most feral bees darker bees? It seems that most of the time that I hear folks speak of feral bees they refer to "dark" or "black" bees...the yellow striped color of the Italian lines I've seen little talk of in reference to feral colonies. ????

    You speak of "angry" Russian bees and "naturally protective" AMM swarms...aren't the Russians just *more* protective (defensive)? Will ferals that are trapped be naturally more defensive than say a swarm of Italians or Caucasians? I'm wondering if I oughta find a full suit rather than just a hooded jacket.

    You mentioned "...the russian influenced swarms may be quite light in color and thus are thought to be AHB and destroyed because of it". Do the AHB tend to have a color trait?....dark, banded, light gray, dark gray, yellow tint, pink???? I had been wondering whether the AHB gene tended to produce more of one coloration than another. ???

    Thanks for your time, Russell.
    Ed

  7. #7
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    Default Re: September swarms in south Alabama????

    baldwinbees, I will have only a couple of traps to put out and I'm trying to figure out where to put them. Do you feel it that you have better results around creeks and waterways or do you catch more on higher ground? I'm thinking the bees may follow the waterways much like birds and a lot of other wild critters do.

    Ed

  8. #8
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    Default Re: September swarms in south Alabama????

    Ed, I will have to get to my laptop to answer your questions a bit better (in the bee yard right now taking a coffee break. Lol)... but I can go ahead and tell you that yes, all creatures need water at some point, so locating a water source with a bit of clear area around it (mud, sand, or ever water weeds that they can walk on easily to reach a drink) will get your trap near a scout or two but it usually works better when its mostly shaded water with open views to the sky (so the water has mixed light on it or at least the edges are shaded by trees)... in the forests, high points such as ridges at intersecting hollows or cliffsides work well also... in the fields a shaded area on a woodline near a field with good forage will get attention... good luck!

  9. #9
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    Aug 2011
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    Cohasset, Massachusetts, USA
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    Default Re: September swarms in south Alabama????

    Russell, can you tell us what you bait your swarm traps with? I have not yet tried to capture any myself. A friend who has been showing me the ropes has about 12 swarm boxes out but only gets a couple swarms total per season here in Massachusetts. He uses lemon grass oil and a bit of comb, but the comb is usally gone within a few weeks - he thinks from earwigs. Any pointers would be great!

  10. #10
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    Jul 2011
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    Perry, Florida, USA
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    Default Re: September swarms in south Alabama????

    They are still swarming here in N. Florida. I just caught a huge swarm that filled a ten frame deep. Now just hoping we have a good fall flow so they can build up and I dont have to feed them all winter.

    Psisk

  11. #11
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    Default Re: September swarms in south Alabama????

    Rationalanimal, (interesting screen name btw!)

    We have actually just added the lures that I use to our website... its a mixture of nasonov, qmp, and lemongrass oil in micro centerfuge vials... works very well... for the boxes, I prefer weathered cypress with two 1/2" or even 3/8" holes drilled one above the other on the front with a strip hung by a nail in the center to close both holes at once when I'm ready to close them off... the vent is just a 1" hole in the upper rear with screen covering the inside of it and the boxes will fit five deep frames in them very snugly... I like to use an old brittle brood comb just barely offset from the center of the box... just one frame of this comb with the lure vials pressed into either side of the wax near the upper front and upright... they work best for me set in bushy trees like the Chinese tallow tree in the pic above... I like them to be just about a foot over my head (I'm 6'2"), so I can easily reach them, but high enough to make a swarm feel safe from most critters...

    Hope this helps.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: September swarms in south Alabama????

    schools&churches seem to be the hotspot right now...actually they show up everywhere...pecan orchard,middle of town,but a good oak bottom by a creek would probably bee a good spot if you are running blind...set out a plate with some honey on it in different locations&check them for activity if you are hunting them

  13. #13
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    Default Re: September swarms in south Alabama????

    Thanks baldwinbees, Churches and cemetaries (especially old ones) always do "seem" to have bees around them. Oak bottoms with creeks sounds good. I've got a couple of areas I'm thinking about. I may just try the honey bait to test some areas.

    Ed

  14. #14
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    Default Crappy wood from Lowe's

    On a side note...I put together most of two 5-frame medium nucs and two 5-frame medium supers last night (will be 10 frame stacked nuc traps) . Gotta add the end caps, bottoms and add the cleats to the roofs today. I bought some 15/32 plywood at Lowes the other night...crappiest wood I've ran across in a looong time. I was going to get two sheets and have them rip it for me. First sheet's first rip went good...the second sheet de-laminated about a third of it's length from the first split. This was *not* the $13 stuff, this was their $20 stuff!!!!! The $13 stuff looked *really* bad. I ended up with only one piece of it and struggled through putting them together last night (better wood would have been easier). My woodworking skills are cabinetmaker quality either....it's really not feed-trough making quality! But, thanks to screws and Titebond III I think they'll hold together.

    I'm worried about painting them, though. I know they need the paint, but that is simply another "smell" (besides the new wood and glue smell) that the bees will have to overcome if they decide to visit/move into the traps. I'm thinking of smearing the end grain with Titebond and putting a sheet of plastic or tin on the cover and call it done for this season...paint them when I bring them back in in a month or so. Think they'll be fairly "ok" unpainted for that long?

    Ed

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Crappy wood from Lowe's

    my mentor coats his with beeswax...rinses&melts his cappings

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Crappy wood from Lowe's

    That's why I use cypress for everything... no paint needed and no glue used... however, I still like to rub the bottom of the swarm boxes in the soft soil beneath cedar trees and then set them up in a tree to air out well for a few days...

    With standard boxes, we use to treat them with copper, let them cure, then toss them in the shallow pond overnight.. they would then sit out in the sun, stacked crossways for a Looong time before we ever put bees in them...

    May have been over kill, but then again, we don't lose any bees either. ;-)

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Crappy wood from Lowe's

    baldwinbees, I wish I had some beeswax to coat'em with!!! That'd work great. But, I'm going in somewhat empty handedd so I'll make do.

    Russell, our last local sawmill shut down probably 10+ years ago. There's a couple of guys scattered about that have small portable mills. Will have to try and look them up, who knows...one of them may have some cypress stacked up.

    I guess for now I will have to do with what I have. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If I come up empty with the plywood I can still use'em this spring.

    I had thought of wiping some dirt on the hives for "atmosphere" purposes. I figured to lightly wipe some on the inside walls and bottom avoiding the outside walls and cover (these will be painted later).

    I have no drawn comb. I'm thinking of turning the wedge on my wedge-top frames vertically and setting them up for frameless or either cutting some wax starter strips. I've thought, too, of using some "ladder strips"...narrow strips placed vertically from top bar to bottom bar. Who knows what I'll end up with!

    I hope to get them and the frames finished today/tomorrow and get them set up by tomorrow afternoon. I hope the fish are biting.

    Ed

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Crappy wood from Lowe's

    Ok, I've got a couple of rough double 5-frame nucs put together. I'm going to install some 1" wax foundation strips in the frames in the morning. Lemon grass essential oil on a paper towel in an open ziplock bag (and maybe a drop on the floor of the nucs) will be the lure. I'm still pondering the location...probably be over close to the swamp. I'm hoping to put them out tomorrow but I may get rained out. Wednesday may be the day...it's getting late, though...running out of time.

    Ed

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Crappy wood from Lowe's

    duplicate

  20. #20
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    Default Re: September swarms in south Alabama????

    Well, the rains are hitting regularly this morning. I'm not scared of getting wet (I won't melt though I might get a bit runny) but being as the nucs are unpainted I figure if I waited a day or so I could miss all of this rain. I do have a couple of sheltered spots that I could put them into, though. Or I've even thought of cutting a sheet of cloroplast (old campaign sign) a bit larger than the covers and tacking it on...that would make attaching it to a trip a bit more problematical but would work in my sheltered spots. Anyhow, heading over to the office to finish putting the wax strips in the frames and do a couple of detail things to the nucs.

    Ed

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