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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Dunlap, TN, USA
    Posts
    146

    Default How far will a swarm travel?

    I've built a swarm trap and have LGO ready to go but I really have no idea how far a swarm will even travel. I do regularly see honey bees in my yard and garden but I have no clue where they are from. Obviously I'm close enough to a hive somewhere for them to forage on my garden, but does that mean I'm close enough to lure a swarm in?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Blacksburg, VA
    Posts
    444

    Default Re: How far will a swarm travel?

    There are honey bees in this country almost anywhere there are trees. You can catch swarms in your bait hives most places. If you have any old comb put it in there too. Now is the time in the mid Atlantic region to down south.

    Good Luck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,206

    Default Re: How far will a swarm travel?

    Jyawn, the answer to your post is maybe.... I've read here on Beesource that the more traps you have out the better. The only way to find out is to get that trap out and watch it. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Lafayette, IN
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: How far will a swarm travel?

    In researching this question here on Beesource I found that question has been asked several times. The answers ranged from 1/4 mile up to 6 miles.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    406

    Default Re: How far will a swarm travel?

    Quote Originally Posted by BoilerJim View Post
    The answers ranged from 1/4 mile up to 6 miles.
    Yeah,somewhere within that range so everyone was correct.Old fat mama coming out with the prime swarm won't go far but the afterswarms coming out with virgins head for the tall timber.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: How far will a swarm travel?

    So how far do you thing the prime swarm might go?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: How far will a swarm travel?

    In his book on swarm research Dr. Seely found that bees would travel a few hundred yards to six miles. It is the quality of the new home (swarm trap) that seems to make them want to stay. If you have an apiary 2 miles down the road and there are 3 quality places for them to make a new hive between the apiary and your swarm trap your chances are slim.

    Bottom line is more traps equal more chances. Like fishing, the more lines in the water the more fish in the basket.

    I have ten traps deployed over a very large area of southern Vermont. Too early for us here but they are sitting there and ready. Fishing!
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  8. #8

    Default Re: How far will a swarm travel?

    I’ve watched a prime swarm leave the limb of a tree and fly away…out of sight. Over a mile. On the other hand I’ve seen them move into some old equipment that was stacked less than 300 ft from the parent hive.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Dunlap, TN, USA
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: How far will a swarm travel?

    So it seems like there isn't a predictable "Zone".... but what I'm hearing is good. I live right up next to a small mountain ridge so I'm sure the bees are coming from the woods in the area. Hopefully I'll catch some.... If not I've still got a package on the way in early May.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: How far will a swarm travel?

    I would say a quarter mile is most likely. Within 1 1/2 miles is next as they seem to know that area well. It would drop off from there with 6 miles not unheard of.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Huntland TN Franklin County USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: How far will a swarm travel?

    The swarm I got on the 27th of March was only about 70 feet from the parent hive. Like mentioned above, the big fat mama didn't go far. I hope she is more satisfied in her new home than she was in the other hive. She had some pretty mean off springs. Last fall they were not mean at all, but for the past few weeks my little black dog could not get within 30 feet of the hive without them getting after her. Maybe skunks have been bothering them? By the way, they didn't like my black Farmall cap either. I had to stop wearing it when close to the hives.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: How far will a swarm travel?

    I've seem them move next door a few inches away... but 1/4 mile is the most typical distance...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Orinda, California, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: How far will a swarm travel?

    From what I have observed with swarms, they seem to come out of the original hive and then settle on a bush or a tree. Then they start selecting sites. I don't think they fly out of the original hive and fly directly to the new location they are going to move in to. When I read Seeley's amazing book 'Honeybee Democracy' he talks about that voting process where scout bees come back to the swarm with suggested sites to inhabit and do their dance on the surface of the swarm blob. Then more scouts follow those directions and go check it out until finally there is consensus as to which site gets the most votes.

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