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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Moultonborough, NH
    Posts
    61

    Default Advice Needed (swarm in progress)

    I've got the mother of all swarms in my yard, but it is about 50 feet up in an old oak tree. The bees were clustered until about 15 minutes ago, when all hell broke loose, and the swarm broke up and flew around, buzzing noisily. Now they have reconvened back up in the tree, and are quiet again.

    I have three baited swarm traps within 50 yards of this swarm. Two are the flower pot type sold by Mann Lake, with a swarm lure inside and a few drops of lemongrass oil on the exterior. The third is a deep with a lure and 8 frames of wax foundation plus two empty drawn frames with a few lemongrass drops on the landing board.

    Any suggestion about what I might do to increase my chances of catching this swarm?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    788

    Default Re: Advice Needed (swarm in progress)

    Quote Originally Posted by MES613 View Post
    I've got the mother of all swarms in my yard, but it is about 50 feet up in an old oak tree. The bees were clustered until about 15 minutes ago, when all hell broke loose, and the swarm broke up and flew around, buzzing noisily. Now they have reconvened back up in the tree, and are quiet again.

    I have three baited swarm traps within 50 yards of this swarm. Two are the flower pot type sold by Mann Lake, with a swarm lure inside and a few drops of lemongrass oil on the exterior. The third is a deep with a lure and 8 frames of wax foundation plus two empty drawn frames with a few lemongrass drops on the landing board.

    Any suggestion about what I might do to increase my chances of catching this swarm?
    Maybe put in a frame that has a bit of stores in it to make it even more attractive to them? -james

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: Advice Needed (swarm in progress)

    couple of frames with honey-pollen and maybe if you can spare it from a thriving hive, some brood both sealed and unsealed ??

  4. #4

    Default Re: Advice Needed (swarm in progress)

    And let us know how it goes. 50' may be better than 20' in terms of your health - at least you won't be tempted to do anything silly. I used a step ladder, a saw pole extension and duct-taped a large dragonfly net (w/8'handle) to go for a swarm 20' up in a maple. That is where I learned that when you hit the swarm mass with a large net, they only let go of eachother on the back-lash, and down came about 3-4 lb. of bees, w/ me on the top rung of a step ladder. Haven't had that much fun since Grandma caught her !*#$ in the wringer! Next time I'll put a tarp down - and wear more protection.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Asheville, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    552

    Default Re: Advice Needed (swarm in progress)

    Cross your fingers and toes!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Moultonborough, NH
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Advice Needed (swarm in progress)

    Sadly, that swarm has moved on to greener pastures. Bad management on my part, I'm afraid. I should have had my swarm traps out earlier this year. Oh well, live and learn. Thanks all for the good suggestions.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Moultonborough, NH
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Advice Needed (swarm in progress)

    BUT WAIT, There's More!

    So I had written this swarm off, and spent last evening drowning my contrition and reviewing the lessons of the day with some of Kentucky's finest sourmash. This morning I noticed a few bees checking out one of my baited (swarm lure and a few drops of lemongrass oil) swarm pots, went in to make a cup of coffee, and 15 minutes later the world exploded with bees, gradually concentrating on my swarm pot. Bees began bearding on the pot and slowly most worked their way in to the pot.

    Joy in Mudville, I had trapped my FIRST SWARM!

    I dug out a ten-frame deep, and put the pot inside of a deep and medium box on top of the deep with frames, and moved that swarm to my beeyard, about 200 yeards away from where I grabbed the swarm.

    Now, 6-8 hours later, however, there are still 500+/- bees hanging around the area where the swarm had congregated, even though the bulk of the swarm has been moved back to my beeyard.

    So here are my questions.

    First, if that swarm emanated from one of my hives, can I bring that swarm back to my beeyard? Or do I have to take that swarm to a distant (>3 miles) apiary?

    Second, there are still bees hanging around the area where the swarm was trapped. I'm concerned that perhaps the queen is among them, or why else would they hang around? But the bulk of the swarm has been boxed, and those bees seem content to stay in that pot inside the hiveboxes, presumably because the queen is there. Is there a way to trap the remaining bees?

    Third, how and when do I dump the bees out of the swarm pot and in to the hive box. Right now I have the pot inside two boxes set on top of a deep with 10 frames (2 already drawn out). I figured the bees in the pot would work their way in to the deep frames, preferring that to the swarm pot. But I don't want them building comb in that pot. So when do I transfer them, and do I just shake them in to the deep like a package, except they are like a package that comes with a queen?

    Thanks again for your suggestions.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,224

    Default Re: Advice Needed (swarm in progress)

    The bees milling around have lost their queen -- they were out and about when the swarm moved into the trap and have not found the hive again. They can still smell the queen where the cluster was, so that's where they wills stay until and unless they decide to enter a hive.

    You can put the new hive in your yard, the bees will re-orient on their new home.

    Dump the bees out of that flowerpot trap and once, into a standard box with drawn frames if you have them. They have already drawn about an inch of comb on the top , and if you wait they will have the queen laying in it tomorrow. I prefer to trap with a standard box, certainly will not ever go collect a swarm with anything else -- they go to work instantly in a true hive, an empty box is asking for trouble.

    Just pull some frames from the box, pour the bees in, and work the frames back in as the bees cover the comb.

    Peter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Moultonborough, NH
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Advice Needed (swarm in progress)

    Peter, you are confirming what I now recall having read before. I'm on that first thing in the morning. Many thanks. -Mark

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Elmira, NY
    Posts
    937

    Default Re: Advice Needed (swarm in progress)

    Also, if the cluster of bees where you trapped the swarm is very substantial and will be worth the trouble, if you please the hive containing their queen right under them, they quite likely will smell the queen pheremone from "home" and join their sister in the hive by nightfall.

    Then just put a screen over the entrance and return the hive to its place in your beeyard.

    But if there aren't many bees, it might not be worth the bother.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Moultonborough, NH
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Advice Needed (swarm in progress)

    Epilogue:

    Thank you all for the advice. Here is the ending of the beginning of the story.

    Peter, you were correct. I got to the hive by 6AM, and added another ten-frame deep with foundation. I removed some frames and poured the bees that remained in the cardboard flower pot trap in to the deeps. By the time I did that, the bees had already built out a 3 x 5-inch slab of comb from the top of the trap.

    Beregondo, rather than move the hive back to where I captured the swarm, I took the pot in which the swarm was captured back to where the orphaned bees were bearding and flying around. Fairly quickly the bearding bees readily entered the pot, apparently in search of their queen and smelling their colony. The others flew around most of the day, but as the temperatures cooled with the evening air, there was less and less flying activity. Early this morning I closed up the pot and brought it to my apiary. Within 15 minutes of popping off the top, all of the bees left the pot and moved in to the now two-deep hive.

    So, I now have a new hive with gobs of bees, and the area where I snatched the swarm is bee-free.

    Thanks for your help!

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