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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Whitewater, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    141

    Default Is it possible to capture a swarm before leaves hive?

    I noticed a beard of bees forming under the front of the hive about 1 week before it swarmed. I was under the assumption the swarm had to physically leave the hive before you could capture it. I also did not know there was a queen in the middle of that ball of bees. I saw a youtube video of someone collecting the swarm under their hive in the same spot as mine. My question is: At what point can you collect the swarm off a hive? Are there enough bees in that football size mass to function as a hive? I did not realize there was a queen in the middle of that mass or I would have brushed the hive into another box and also brushed all the bees hang on to the outside of the front of the box. If I had collect right off the hive I would have missed a bunch of bees because when I caught it later it filled up two deeps easily. Any suggestions for the future for collecting before they leave the hive????

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,963

    Default Re: Is it possible to capture a swarm before leaves hive?

    You can split the hive anytime that works for you. You don't need for them to be outside the box. If you are doing a split as an artificial swarm, make sure the old queen is not left behind! If she is she will still swarm, just with fewer bees and with less of a chance of surviving. When you split, you can simulate that the bees have swarmed by leaving any brood to support the new queen. If you split during the day, it is likely that the field force will be out and about, and they will all return to the parent hive's location at day's end.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,282

    Default Re: Is it possible to capture a swarm before leaves hive?

    What you saw prior to the swarm date was called bearding. I doubt the queen was then out in that clump of bees. If you find a bunch of peanut shaped cells of various ages at the bottom of frames, it is a sign that the bees are going to swarm. You can split this colony several ways and they may still swarm. Splitting them does cut your losses though as you lose fewer to the trees. Go to this site and read about a taranov swarm board. A simple construction and procedure that anyone can do. Start out with lots of smoke.

    http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/man.html

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    DeKalb Co. Alabama U.S.A.
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Is it possible to capture a swarm before leaves hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    Go to this site and read about a taranov swarm board. A simple construction and procedure that anyone can do.
    I resemble that remark...

    Very much worth doing for the experience, as well as keeping your bees at home.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,263

    Default Re: Is it possible to capture a swarm before leaves hive?

    this may be a reason to not believe everything on the computer. the bees swarm soon after a swarm cell is capped. they dont gather on the hive. they just leave. like many posts, etc you have have to look at the source.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,156

    Default Re: Is it possible to capture a swarm before leaves hive?

    Why are you dissing the guy. He read on the forum where somebody had a legitimate swarm collect on the outside of the box. Sometimes they leave and come back.
    Andrew, I have no idea where the old queen ended up when I did my splits but I don't think it is guaranteed that the hive will swarm if she is left behind. I think there is a lot of details that determine whether the hive swarms or not. I am not sure what all those details are though.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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

    Default Re: Is it possible to capture a swarm before leaves hive?

    A beard is not a swarm. Let the beard be and, if you have swarm cells, follow the standard procedures for swarm prevention. Splitting a soon to swarm hive into 2-5 nucs works for me. Despite this I missed one of mine last week! About an hour before I was going to split it up they hit the trees. My loss but fun to watch!!
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

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