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  1. #1
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    Default When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    I've heard the adage about Swarm in May and Swarm in June, etc., but I'm wondering when it's really too late to catch and rehome a swarm. I just got a call about a small swarm on a guy's house. They've been there a bit because it appears they've built some comb on his house. It's about the size of a soccer ball, though I don't know how much of that is comb.

    I'm wondering if I should try to combine this swarm with another I caught about a month ago that is almost ready for a second deep, or if I should catch and hive it in a new hive and let it get after it. I expect our dearth to start any day now as dry as it's been for the past month.

    Thoughts from you veteran beeks?

    TIA
    I'm the dude, so that's what you call me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Jacksonville, NC
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    No veteran here, but I've bee catching them anytime I can get them...
    I would catch it, place it by itself and see how it does. Feed if you say flow is coming to an end. They might just surprise you. It might come in handy if you need to re queen a dud, or just use as resource for other hives if you do have them. And like you said, combining it is always a possibility.
    Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Big Stone Gap, VA
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    977

    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    Quote Originally Posted by imthedude View Post
    I've heard the adage about Swarm in May and Swarm in June, etc., but I'm wondering when it's really too late to catch and rehome a swarm. I just got a call about a small swarm on a guy's house. They've been there a bit because it appears they've built some comb on his house. It's about the size of a soccer ball, though I don't know how much of that is comb.

    I'm wondering if I should try to combine this swarm with another I caught about a month ago that is almost ready for a second deep, or if I should catch and hive it in a new hive and let it get after it. I expect our dearth to start any day now as dry as it's been for the past month.

    Thoughts from you veteran beeks?

    TIA
    Like Apis,

    I would catch it, feed it and hope for the best. If they overwinter great. If not, you have some new comb. Late June, in our mountain region, with feeding, they should be able to build up for winter.

    Just be careful when you feed. Otherwise, you will set off robbing. After the sourwood bloom in early July, we have a dearth. In our region, I would not feed during that dearth, other than to give them a frame of honey from a stronger hive. Only feed what they can guard, otherwise they will get robbed.

    Shane

  4. #4
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    Apr 2006
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    Pepperell, MA.
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    3,771

    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    If I get a late season swarm call I plan on using them to draw comb and then ultimately combine with another colony as winter gets closer. Sometimes they do real well and can hold their own but not always. Swarms typically draw lots of comb so I take advantage of their desire to build.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Knox, Pa. USA
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    1,271

    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    "When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?"

    When they have flown off! lets face it if the bees are swarming they are looking for a new home. Be it in a old building, hollow tree, or your hive, the outcome will be the same. It is too late to catch swarms when the bees stop swarming.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Larimer County, CO
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    next question to those of you that responded:

    this swarm has built comb on the side of this guy's house, so presumably they have something to defend. i wasn't planning to smoke a swarm, thinking they are relatively docile, but should i take a lit smoker or instead use my normal plan of spraying them with sugar water?

    TIA
    I'm the dude, so that's what you call me.

  7. #7
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    I would use some smoke. just a bit to get the bees to load up. then I would scrape the entire comb off the building and place it in a hive. if you get the queen all the others will go to the hive leave it until sunset. when all the bees are back from the field. close it up and take it home, or return before daybreak and do so. once home I would band the come that has brood into frames and place your favorite frames along with them in the hive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Jacksonville, NC
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    I'd use some smoke, ever so gently...a few puffs. Observe, and see how that goes. Is it outside the wall, in the open? If yes, you can also look for the queen. If you see her and can grab her, it can go much easier. If not, that's fine too, use some mist of the sugar water and get them in the box.
    If you have other hives from which you can borrow a frame or two of uncapped brood, you can use one to touch the swarm so that the bees will crawl on it...they will crawl on it...uncapped brood is hard to resist...take your time.
    Once on the frame, shake the frame in your box or if you have two, place the one with the bees in the box, and repeat with the other frame.
    Anyways...that's what I would do.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    Its a lot warmer here then Colorado but I've caught one in September & had it overwinter in a nuc box. USDA 9
    Bet you could do it with an observation hive where you live.
    Dan

  10. #10
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    Feb 2011
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    I would use some smoke. just a bit to get the bees to load up. then I would scrape the entire comb off the building and place it in a hive. if you get the queen all the others will go to the hive leave it until sunset. when all the bees are back from the field. close it up and take it home, or return before daybreak and do so. once home I would band the come that has brood into frames and place your favorite frames along with them in the hive.
    +1 on this advice.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Rockford, MI
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    It's NEVER too late. You can always combine with a weaker colony.

  12. #12
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    It's never too late for free bees. I would wait a while before combining them. Let the new swarm draw some comb first and evaluate later.

    Last year I had two late swarms that I ended up combing in late summer. The colony overwintered well and is now 7 mediums high, about half of it filled with honey. It doesn't always work out like this, but sometimes they will surprise you.
    To everything there is a season....

  13. #13
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    Dec 2005
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    yesterday
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  14. #14
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    I like that Mark. One word says it all.
    To everything there is a season....

  15. #15
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    swhatido
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  16. #16
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    Took the advice of the smoker and gathered some fuel, papers, and lighter but left the actual smoker sitting in the driveway at home 30 minutes away. Decided to try a fine mist of sugar water, and that worked.

    They were clustered in the corner of this guy's soffit which presented a logistical nightmare for getting the bees off the house and into a hive. They had built about a 4" disc of comb on his house, so I dropped that in the hive too.

    After some improv, they're now in their new home at our house. Hopefully they stay.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    give them a frame of brood and they usually will.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: When is it too late to catch and hive a swarm?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    give them a frame of brood and they usually will.
    i didn't try that with the last swarm i caught for fear of robbing my other hive of previous brood, but since it's absolutely exploded in the last month, i think i will take a frame from the top deep and add it to this swarm. thanks for the reassurance.
    I'm the dude, so that's what you call me.

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