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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN USA
    Posts
    55

    Default First swarm; didn't go well.

    Just trying to figure out whether I did something wrong - I'd appreciate any feedback.

    I got a call about a swarm today, and was able to get to it about an hour later. The swarm was at the top of the chimney - they'd been flying into the chimney, apparently looking for a home in there. Anyway, the homeowner wasn't impressed with that idea, so he started a little fire to chase them out about 45 minutes before I arrived. When I got there, there was what I think was a very small small swarm up at the top. I was able to get up on the roof and access the top of the chimney and use a paintbrush to get a handful or so into a box, but there were so few that once they hit the box they took off again, and I couldnt keep more than a few dozen or so in the box. I then noticed that they seemed to be congregating on my beesuit (which I got used and is covered in propolis/honey/etc and probably smells like a hive). I swapped into my newer half-suit and put the old suit into the box, hoping the bees would congregate on it. This idea worked slightly better, but after maybe 30 minutes of brushing and coercing, I only had maybe 5-600 bees in the box. There were few enough bees that I felt like I should have been able to see the queen, but I never saw her and they weren't in a very tight cluster - there was a main cluster, but there were a couple other smallish groups of bees clinging to bricks that werent in the main group.

    The only way I think I could have done better was to make a bee vacuum for next time, but my experience wasn't much like the videos I've seen. Is this normal? I got the impression that there was no queen around, maybe she had gotten nabbed by a bird or something, does that seem reasonable?

    I ended up leaving with only that small group of bees in the box (less than 1000, i think). Any suggestions for next time?

    Thanks in advance,
    bsquad
    Last edited by bsquad; 06-21-2012 at 10:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
    Posts
    121

    Default Re: First swarm; didn't go well.

    Sounds like something happened to the queen and the bees couldn't find her.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,444

    Default Re: First swarm; didn't go well.

    They swarmed before you got there and this small cluster stuck around where they smelled the queen before is the likely scenario.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Findlay, Ohio
    Posts
    524

    Default Re: First swarm; didn't go well.

    It is always nice to have someone call you about getting some bees, then they decide to chase them off or spray them before you get there. The bees probably left after he started the fire.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Brookville, PA
    Posts
    187

    Default Re: First swarm; didn't go well.

    Did you check with the owner how big the swarm was? Before I go on a call, I always ask how big it is. As has been said, I have to wonder if the swarm was there, and then after the fire was lit, they moved on, but the remaining bees were scouts that came back to find their family was gone.

    Did you charge for this?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN USA
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: First swarm; didn't go well.

    I'm itching for more hives, so I didn't charge. The homeowner described the size (so I suspected that it was small) but I was hoping that it was thicker than it was. Next time I'll make sure it's cantaloupe sized or so before I head out.

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