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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Clinton, Illinois

    Default swarm that got away

    Got a swarm call. When I arrived I found them in a pine tree at about shoulder height, so naturally I thought this would be easy pickens. Placed the box underneath and gave the branch a jolt and 90% of the bees go in box. I close the box and wait for them to fan and watch the rest march in. I've done this about 1/2 dozen times before so I was feeling fairly confident.

    Well, sometimes it just doesn't work out. In seconds, the bees inside start to pour out, so I obvioulsy didn't get the queen. OK.... what amazed me was how quickly they vanished. No re-settling back on the branch, no swirling mass of bees, nothing.... they just seemed to fly off into the blue yonder... and I couldn't even tell what direction... it was that quick.

    I realize you can't get them everytime, but takes a little swagger out of your step when you drive 15 miles and tell the property owner how confident you are, etc., when there's a ball of bees inches from your face that manage to get away.

    In retrospect, since I was nearly eye level with this swarm, is there any merit in trying to spot the queen and nabbing her rather than shaking all the bees into a box? Is that realistic?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    San Francisco, CA

    Default Re: swarm that got away

    I've never been able to spot the queen right away when they're hanging. Usually she's in the center of the cluster after they've settled down. In your case it sounds like the queen didn't make it in and flew off with her colony following close behind.

    I'd also make sure that there's nothing in your box that would repel them. I know a beekeeper who used Bee-Gone on a cutout and accidentally got some in a cardboard nuc box he was using as a tool box at the time.
    Vice President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    KC, MO, USA

    Default Re: swarm that got away

    On the few swarms I have done I used sugar water.

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