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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
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    900

    Default Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    I have captured and lost my share of swarms. My Beekeeper friend tells me that he never captures a swarm before 3 pm ( leaving them wherever they settle and hopes they don't take off) and rarely looses one.
    Did I read that spraying with sugar solution keeps them at the new home?
    A large Beekeeper here tells me that splitting hives is a much much easier way to get more hives and he thinks that catching swarms is to much of a gamble.
    Any comments and suggestions>

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,363

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    What could be easier than having a swarm move into your bait hive? Splits are good too. You almost have to do splits or your hives will swarm anyway. I don't understand the gamble part. I caught 10 swarms this spring and all of them are mega hives and will make it through the winter easily. A frame of honey and a frame of brood will almost guarantee a swarm will stay put and go to work building comb immediately.
    Last edited by Charlie B; 09-18-2011 at 01:15 AM.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    Hi Charlie B,
    I have trap hives all over the place but for some reason they are not catching any aswarms this year ( I had good success last year with Lemon Grass oil)
    I do splits but I'm after honey and splits here generally means missing out on honey for a good while.
    You say: " A frame of honey and a frame of brood will almost guarantee a swarm will stay put and go to work..." - the honey should keep them happy and the brood will put them to work - which one would you consider more important?
    Any comments about the timing of hiving a swarm and the use of sugar water?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,354

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    Quote Originally Posted by max2 View Post
    brood will put them to work
    Brood will cause them to stay. They typically wont leave brood untended. So add a frame of brood and they will stay put. You can also use it like a vacuum to get them off of a tree etc. They will climb on it like a vacuum.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,363

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    Here's what I do. I get the oldest hive box I can find with that "lived in" smell. I use old eight frame deeps I got from a commercial beekeeper that have a 2" hole for an entrance rather than a traditional slotted opening. I think the hole best mimics a tree opening.
    I then put a frame of old comb inside. I soak several cotton balls or a piece of paper towel with lemongrass oil and place it in a small zip lock sandwich bag leaving the bag half open and place it on the bottom board near the back of the hive. The sandwich bag will keep the lemongrass oil from drying out thus preserving the smell. I then rub a little around the entrance with my finger.

    Now where to place the hive trap. I used to hang them in trees which seems logical but I never has much success with that. I place them in my apiary. There's something about bees that attracts other bees. Swarms are attracted to places where other bees already are from what I've seen. I watched two swarms coming from the park across the street land on my hive traps and move it. It was very exciting.

    The next day after they move in, I open the lid and place a brood and honey frame inside (middle of the box) and then add the rest of the empty frames in very carefully then close it up for two weeks with top feeder full. If you can't spare honey, the brood is more important. I have never had a swarm abscond putting in a frame of brood or eggs.

    After two weeks, I take all the frames out looking for the queen and or eggs and place them in a new hive box and repeat the process. It's important to leave them alone for the first two weeks. That's the most sensitive time in deciding if they want to stay or not. Remember, there's nothing tying them to an empty box with no food or babies so you have to supply those two essentials.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    Thanks ES Buzz and Charlie - all very interesting. I hived a swarm a week ago and I opened it today to place some SHB traps in the box. All seems OK.
    Another swarm yesterday and they are working today - I will not open the hive for a while.
    Another swarm today and they are still in the hive on dark.
    I do pretty well the same for my trap hives. It was great last year but not so far this year. I generally re-do the Lemon Grass trick every week but will try the bag trick. Good one.
    I have recentlyread a book " Bee Democracy" ( I think it was called) and it deals in detail with trap hives.
    I have read that trap hives should be 100 m from your bees. Mine are in the yard and fairly close - generally at an elevated position

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    2,363

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    Quote Originally Posted by max2 View Post
    I have read that trap hives should be 100 m from your bees.
    I've heard that too but from my experience, it works just fine in your bee yard. Elevation is a good thing. My hives are on a four story roof top but I've seen swarms captured on the ground so I don't think anything is certain with bees. That's what makes it so fun!!

    I'm jealous. Our swarm season is over. I wish I could bring my traps down there and have another good season.

    Have fun!!!
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,949

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    I started taking an old comb, two well used medium eight frame boxes, a bottom and a lid (in other words a hive) some QMP (either as the alcohol from old queens in a jar or Bee Boost from Mann Lake) and a little lemongrass essential oil. I dip one end of a Q-tip in the QMP and the other in the Lemongrass essential oil. I put it on the ground under the tree and wait for them to move in. They almost always do. I don't climb a ladder and they don't keep flying back to the tree.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,768

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    Height wasn't a factor on mine, they moved into a nuc on a low rubbermaid tub, with one frame of old comb, 4 new waxed frames. Didn't occur to me that I didn't have to stack the hive with full frames.....
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    "some QMP (either as the alcohol from old queens in a jar "
    I tried to get some medicinal alcohol but the shop will not sell any to me. It appears that it can be turned into an explosive. Question: will any other alcohol ( eg Gin) do? This is not a joke question - I'm serious!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    4,861

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    I don't invest in Qtips or baggies. A few drops near the entrance is all they get. Over 50 catches again this year.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,949

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    >Question: will any other alcohol ( eg Gin) do? This is not a joke question - I'm serious!

    Any alcohol will do. Rubbing alcohol, vodka, gin, as long as it's at least 90 proof I'm sure it would work.

    >I don't invest in Qtips or baggies. A few drops near the entrance is all they get. Over 50 catches again this year.

    I bought an eye dropper (hard to find these days) but it was plastic and the essential oils melted it. The Q-tips are an easy way to measure and I don't have to find an eye dropper. Just trying to get a few drops is difficult for someone as uncoordinated as me.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    I'm trying the Qtips now - before I also just put a few drops at the entrance.
    Another swarn settling - a trap hive is metres away - with Qtips, old frames..... Why can't they make it easy for me?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    2,363

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    I don't invest in Qtips or baggies. A few drops near the entrance is all they get. Over 50 catches again this year.
    You're probably tired after all that. I can help you out and take some of those off your hands
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    We have perfect weather conditions and there is a lot flowering - and swarms are coming past just about daily. So far all the swarms I boxed after 3 pm have stayed. There is a large swarm high up in the trees. I noticed scouts around the entrance to two of my trap hives. I would love to see the bees settling in one of the boxes.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Love County, Oklahoma, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    I sure wish I had read this a week ago. A friend called Monday telling me about a "bunch of bees" and I rushed out and boxed them up, carried them back to the house, filled the box with frames and stuck a feeder on top. Everything looked great until Thursday morning. All the bees were gone. I had no idea what I had done wrong. As always the knowledge gained from this site is great. I just need to acquire it in a timely manner. Next time I'll include the brood frame.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,363

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    Quote Originally Posted by max2 View Post
    We have perfect weather conditions and there is a lot flowering - and swarms are coming past just about daily. So far all the swarms I boxed after 3 pm have stayed. There is a large swarm high up in the trees. I noticed scouts around the entrance to two of my trap hives. I would love to see the bees settling in one of the boxes.
    Ok, I already said I was jealous. You don't have to rub it in.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,768

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    Charlie,

    You caught 50 swarms this year? Fall comes everywhere... He's in spring.

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,363

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    Odfrank the swarm master caught 50, not me.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,861

    Default Re: Suggestions for successfull swarm catches

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie B View Post
    Odfrank the swarm master caught 50, not me.
    I will not adapt the term "Master" until I am 85 years old and have been at it over 60 years. Twenty years to go or more.

    Charlie, I still need your address so I can drop off some BB trees and get your address so that I know where to set my SF bait boxes next year. I sent you my cellphone number last week but you must have figured out what I am up to because I never heard from you. I have a few Presidio locations that I could use. Is that close to you? We could meet in a anonymous location for the tree exchange and you could keep your site a secret from me. Or meet me in San Mateo, I am not greedy with my lost swarms. We will be pulling honey and extracting most of next week.

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