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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Posts
    122

    Default Tough swarm catch...trying to decide when to head back.

    I got a call for a swarm tonight and after getting there about an hour before sunset I found a large swarm about 2 feet from the ground wrapped solidly around a young pine tree with a 2 inch diameter trunk. It was a decorative tree so I couldn't cut anything so I wrapped a drop cloth around the base of the tree and scooped as many bees into the swarm box as I could. I got 1/2 to 2/3rds in the box and put the lid on with the opening about 2 feet away from the remaining cluster. Bees began clustering around the box opening and started fanning so I'm fairly certain I got the queen. I spent about an hour brushing and encouraging the remaining cluster as much as possible but the pine needles worked like velcro and it was too windy to smoke with any real purpose. I left the box there for the night with about half the remaining cluster on the drop cloth and the other half bound up in the grass and lower tree branches. How soon should I expect the remaining bees to make their way (hopefully) to the swarm box? Will they crawl over there during the night or will they remain clustered until they get some sun on mid morning? The location is a bit of a hike so I don't want to have to go back more than once if I don't have to. Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,803

    Default Re: Tough swarm catch...trying to decide when to head back.

    Smoking serves no purpose on a swarm. They might not all move in until it warms up tomorrow. I would make two hikes. One to check if they had moved in, one to pick them up at dusk.
    Last edited by odfrank; 07-28-2013 at 09:36 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Stockton, CA
    Posts
    276

    Default Re: Tough swarm catch...trying to decide when to head back.

    I agree with odfrank

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Posts
    122

    Default Re: Tough swarm catch...trying to decide when to head back.

    I'm happy to report that the swarm catch was successful. Went back the next day to a box full of bees. Thanks for your advice!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,744

    Default Re: Tough swarm catch...trying to decide when to head back.

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Smoking serves no purpose on a swarm. . .
    Odfrank, My hero, you have disappointed me.

    There is a purpose for smoke when catching a swarm. Especially where you have to shake a swarm from a height, or brush off from an area you cannot get your catcher box near. If you do not get all the bees on the first attempt, and the queen is in your box, stragglers will often ball up where the queen was. Smoke that area and they will not return to it.

    If you can leave your box overnight, or for an extended period of time, those stragglers will eventually join the others in the box, but, if you have driven for some time, or just have to take them and leave, smoke the limb, wall, whatever and those stragglers will join the others faster.

    cchoganjr

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,803

    Default Re: Tough swarm catch...trying to decide when to head back.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleo C. Hogan Jr View Post
    Odfrank, My hero, you have disappointed me.cchoganjr
    Sorry, first mistake I have ever made in my whole life. Sorry to let you down. There are exceptions to every generality. I see a lot of beekeepers smoking bees like they are doing a fumigation job and just wanted to point out that is not necessary for a swarm . I rarely have a need for that. Because I now vacuum almost everything, even cutouts just get a puff or two if any at all. Because the mites and CCD kill all the bees so fast they all seem to be very gentle domesticated offspring from packages these days.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,744

    Default Re: Tough swarm catch...trying to decide when to head back.

    odfrank.... You are still my hero.

    I understood what you posted, and I agree with it. Just wanted to expand a little beyond the generalities, for any newbees that might be out there. Smoking a swarm does little good, since they are already full of honey, and have no way of filling up on honey, which is what happens when you smoke bees. Additionally, it will put the bees into flight, which is not what you want, when hiving a swarm. My remark was more toward smoking to keep the bees from returning to the area of the queen/swarm when time is not on your side.

    cchoganjr

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