Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 37
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Dilworth, MN,USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    Well, I'm an aspiring beekeeper. I want to do this the cheapest and most natural way possible. Bee packages are expensive. I want to catch my own bees with a swarm trap. Any input? I'm I crazy?? I just want to know if this is something that is within reality. If it is, then I'm willing to try it. Thanks ahead of time. Kim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    8,505

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    It is certainly worth setting out some swarm traps, but counting on catching a swarm can be a path to disappointment.


    When I first started, I too read all those Beesource swarm threads, and built & set out 5 traps. I hived the (2) packages I had ordered, then 2 weeks later found a swarm had moved into one of those 5 traps. Wow, this is easy, he said!

    So over the next winter I built 4 more traps. But for the last two springs I have no joy with any of those 9 traps. That first swarm has been the only one I have trapped over the past 3 years.



    Tip: make your traps such that they can serve a dual purpose - either as nucs or regular hive bodies. That way your efforts won't be wasted if you don't catch anything.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Talladega County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    I also had one swarm out of nine empty traps. Was worth putting them up even for the one. I think it came in to my box with motivation to make it and it has so far. But I wouldn't count on it to get your first bees. Swarms are kind of like mining you have to be where the ore is to get any.
    An old deep hive body is what my swarm prefered.
    mike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Dilworth, MN,USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    Ok, thanks! I really don't like the idea of paying $100 a package for bees.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    South Jordan, Utah, USA
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    Another option is to figure out how to get on local swarm call lists. I've only caught one swarm in a swarm trap over the last three years, but have averaged 12+ manual swarm captures (out of trees, etc.) over the last two years. I've got a few videos on my blog about how I catch them using a swarm pole. During the spring my car is always fully loaded so I can head out to a swarm call in a moment's notice. They aren't always still there by the time I arrive, or somebody's sprayed them, but more often than not I come home with a few pounds of bees. The best part is the opportunity to educate more people about bees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Sedgwick Co. KS
    Posts
    478

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    It is certainly worth setting out some swarm traps, but counting on catching a swarm can be a path to disappointment.

    Tip: make your traps such that they can serve a dual purpose - either as nucs or regular hive bodies. That way your efforts won't be wasted if you don't catch anything.
    But, Rader, the effort will be wasted unless he decides to purchase bees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Dilworth, MN,USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    I'll check out your videos. I've never even kept bees. Will they allow me on a swarm list?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Dilworth, MN,USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    I'm a she :-)... Why is it effortless if I get a swarm with the queen? Please explain, thanks.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Dilworth, MN,USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    Watched one of your videos. That was awesome! Did you make the swarm catcher?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    South Jordan, Utah, USA
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    Kim - I did make the swarm pole. It's very easy! The page titled Honey Bee Swarm Catcher Pole on my blog gives you an idea on how to make it. I got the idea from other youtubers who posted it well before I did.
    http://jorgedenton.blogspot.com/2013...m-catcher.html

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    8,505

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    Kim, some swarm trap reading for you ...

    http://ecommons.cornell.edu/bitstrea...ney%20Bees.pdf
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Dayton, OH
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    Planning to start with a swarm is fine if you are okay with the idea of not starting beekeeping for a few years. Swarm catching is like fishing. Sometimes you can't pull them into the boat fast enough. Sometimes you spend all day without a nibble. Sure you might get lucky and get a swarm in 2015...or you might not. Are you okay with that possibility?

    Even more frustrating, you might catch a swarm that is too small or too late in the fall to build up to last through winter. If you are in MN, you had better catch that swarm pretty early in the spring so that they have time to draw all that comb and fill it before winter.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Nevada, MO
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    I bought one colony of MN Hygenics two years ago. I also put up 5 swarm traps. Towards the end of July, I caught one swarm. Both hives survived the winter. The MNH died last summer. Not sure but I think I might have injured the queen. Didn't like the MNH anyway. Massive amount of bees when it got dry in the summer. Ate all their honey in no time. The swarm bees did great. Didn't have time to store much honey, but didn't have many bees to feed over the winter. When the other hive died, I did a walk away split. Both were great this fall. Light now so feeding sugar. I'd suggest buying bees for at least one hive, two if you can, but deffinitely trap too. It's fun. I didn't catch any last year. Use extra supers with plywood tops and bottoms.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Metamora, IL, United States
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    The swarm catcher pole is a great idea. After watching the videos and thinking about some of my challenges I experienced the first year I caught swarms, I have some ideas on possible design improvements. I'm not saying your design is bad by any means, but just thought I would share some thoughts based on my experiences.

    Instead of attaching the water jug to the flag pole bracket, how about attaching a medium super that has a piece of plywood or OSB as a bottom? This would give you something a bit more solid to attach the flagpole bracket to - and - you would not have to dump the bees out of the super. You could simply add some frames and consider the swarm hived. This would be a nice step saver and reduce the chances of absconding. The less you have to disturb the bees by shaking them into a container and/or dumping them from one container to another, the better your chances that they will like the permanent home you are trying to get them to stay in.

    If attaching a medium super to the flagpole bracket would end up being too heavy, perhaps try using a Jester's corrugated plastic EZ Nuc or a corrugated cardboard Nuc to lower the weight, but still be a container that you can insert frames directly into.

    Kim - I agree with the reservations on buying packages. Why buy bees from California that have no genetic traits to survive a winter in Minnesota? Local feral bees are always the preference. On the other hand, if you really want to keep bees, it makes sense to get one or two packages your first year just to start getting the experience.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    South Jordan, Utah, USA
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    CJ - If you don't have to extend the pole too far, you could put a medium on there, but that weight PLUS the weight of the bees may reach a tipping point. I've had a couple of swarms where I was 3/4 extended and was very concerned that the weight of the bees was going to fold the pole before I was able to get them to the ground.

    I have considered using a lighter nuc box (cardboard) to bait with brood because sometimes the swarm gets wrapped around several branches of a tree making it very difficult to shake them out. If I could get the box close enough to the swarm, they may just walk right in...we'll have to see.

    Please share how your improvements work in the future!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Talladega County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    I would suggest a nuk instead. You would get frames with comb and brood plus the bees. A package comes without anything for them to start on. Spend a few more dollars but you are way ahead.
    Also plan to feed them at the start.
    mike

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    49,983

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    Swarm traps are like fishing. Actually, except for the fish, they ARE fishing. A good location might yield several catches. Some locations will never result in any catches. If you want to have fish for supper tonight, it might be a good idea to go to the grocery store, but that shouldn't stop you from fishing...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 41y 200h 38yTF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Dilworth, MN,USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    Ok, white all that being said, I want to trap swarms. But realistically looks like I'll also need to purchase bees. If I can only afford bees for 1 hive this year, is it best to wait til next year and save up money for 2 hives?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    49,983

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    If you want to get started, then start with whatever you can afford. Get one and maybe you'll be able to split it (if it's a good year) and maybe not (if it's a poor to average year) and maybe you'll catch a swarm, but one way or the other you'll have some bees.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 41y 200h 38yTF

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Metamora, IL, United States
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Newbie wanting to acquire my bees by swarm trap

    Something else to consider - join a beekeeper's association if you have one in your area. The one I belong to has been good about helping new beekeepers get established. Some seasoned beekeepers have given new beekeepers entire hives to help them get started, or have given them swarms that they captured.

    Good luck!

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads