My First Swarm Catch Ever!
My first swarm ever! Luckily it was a pretty easy one for a beginner. Got a call from someone who had seen my name on one of the swarm retrieval lists. Approximately 3 lb. swarm on a tree stump in East Canton, OH 44730. The swarm had been there for about 24 hours. Day time temperatures were in the mid to upper 50s, night temps down to upper 30s. Light to moderate drizzle most of the day, but the rain stopped by the time I collected the swarm in the evening.
A lot of the bees were hiding under rotten bark, which I peeled off pretty easily and shook the clinging bees into the box. I did not see the queen, but once I had scraped about 1/2 of them into the box with a hair pick (works great, and doesn't crush bees the way something flat would) most of the others followed, so I think she must have been in the box by then. There were lots of them doing the Nasonov fanning on the top bars. By that time, most of them were taking to the air as I scraped them off the stump, rather than falling off in clumps into the box. But most of them seemed to settle into the box.
A few (maybe 50 or so) kept stubbornly settling back onto a particular small spot on the stump. I figured that they must have smelled residual queen pheromones on that spot that attracted them back. After checking the spot very carefully to make sure the queen wasn't really still there, I smoked them off of the stump and declared the job finished when only 10 or so remained.
Amusing note: when I first started, I tried to brush them into the box with a black paintbrush. This was a bad idea, and was not well-received. They were perfectly calm before that, but when I brushed them many took to the air and viciously ATTACKED the brush, with about 100 of them clustering on it and doubled over trying to sting it. Apparently, they thought it was an animal. Wish I had a video. Amazingly, none tried to sting me, a real animal. When I tried to shake them off of the brush into the box, they took to the air and instantly re-converged on the brush. It was like iron filings on a magnet! So I set the brush aside, and they left it alone within a few minutes. After that they calmed down again, just as gentle as I've ever seen bees behave.
Here are a few photos: s1065.photobucket.com/albums/u400/ebruckner1/Swarms/East%20Canton%20Swarm/?albumview=slideshow
“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” – Albert Einstein