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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    south central kansas
    Posts
    84

    Default First swarm. a little help please.

    My brother (not a bee person) has a feral colony in his cottonwood tree. Put a trap up two days ago today he sent me this picture. I think i should've used a bigger trap.
    My question is if they just showed up today, do I need to go get them tonight? The next possible time for me to pick them up will be monday. It would be after dark, but I can reach it without a ladder.
    I thought the trap would hang there for a few more weeks.
    Will they beard like that and leave? Is the queen most likely in the box?

    Thanks from a new guy who's stumbling through his first go at this.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,495

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    Wow, that is either a really small trap or a huge swarm! Looks like a TBH, how many bars is it? How did you bait it?

    I would put money on them flying. If they were going to move in they would have probably done it already, but I could be wrong. Normally when a hive swarms it will go some distance, is the trap in the same tree as the feral hive?

    I would try to convince your brother that those are stingless bees and to get him to put them in a box or something for you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    south central kansas
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    Its a top bar trap, 14 bars long. Its on the other side of the yard from the feral hive, maybe 65-70'. I hope the manage to stuff in there.
    He sad they were still there at dusk, about 20 min ago.
    Don't think I can make it tonight, lets hope theyre still there tomorrow!
    Dang it, I knew I should've hung a bigger box.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,495

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    Good luck! It looks like a big swarm. If you get it get some pictures of it!

    I've up sized my TBH swarm traps that I've made this year to 24 inches, but I'm not putting any of those in trees. I'm still hanging my 16 inch traps though and maybe I will get lucky this year.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    south central kansas
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    I'm going to take a trip out there.
    If everything is inside and out grab them.
    it's dark but easy to get to.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    south central kansas
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    Had a look at them. They are bearded up all AROUND the box but looking through the entrance there isn't a single bee that I can see inside the box.
    Does this mean they are still looking for a home and aren't going to move in? Staging? If so I will come back before first light and knock them down into a box.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,265

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    It does not mean that they are not going to move in, sometimes they take a while to decide. But it does not mean they are either. I would shake them into a hive and lock them down with brood. unless you see signs that they are moving in, Do you have drawn comb in the trap? That always helps.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Santa barbara, CA
    Posts
    156

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    I agree with Tenbears, but I think there is something they don't like about your trap. When I catch mine they move inside pretty quickly. Shake them into your hive preferably with some drawn comb and some syrup. Confine them for a day or two. Some brood would really help keep them if you could get some. Don't be too shocked if they fly off, I hope they stay! Oh also be prepared for a lot of bees crawling all over you if you do this at night, it's a weird feeling.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,591

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    I take it there is no drawn comb in the trap? Any LGO or queen juice?
    They appear to be staging.
    You never know though, the queen could just slip inside for a moment, then... it's on.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    south central kansas
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    No drawn comb, no queen juice, there is LGO.
    If I do shake them I don't have anything but sugar water to give them once they get back here.
    I'm thinking of putting them in my Lang hive, I have two frames of drawn comb that was given to me. That may be an incentive to stay over having nothing in the top bar.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,495

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    I would shake them into something, move them and cross your fingers.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Lafayette, LA - USA
    Posts
    299

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    south central kansas
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    That's what we ended up doing. They seemed calm so we carefully threw them into a box. After we got most of them in the box we walked away for a few minutes and the rest were marching in, I hope that means we got the queen in the first go. Same when we moved them into the set up Lang at home. I hope they stick around. They didn't seem aggressive, and are neat little bees. I kept an eye out for the queen but never did see her, a few drone false alarms!

    My brother asked if we knew what we were doing, Ha! Ha! Nope, well sort of, we know how its supposed to go.
    The tree grew a few branches in the way overnight.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,495

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    Nice!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,591

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    For the next swarm, I would suggest that you hive them right into their permanent home and forgo the box if you can. Too much shuffling them around and they may leave.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    south central kansas
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    Thanks for the advice and sending luck my way, it seems to have worked!
    I had a frame of empty drawn comb given to me to use in another swarm trap I haven't gotten out yet. I only have medium boxes, this was a deep frame. Not sure where I found this but i remember reading about cutting down comb as a starter strip. I tried to make their new home as cozy as possible. 8 frame medium with three comb starter strip frames in the middle, the others are duragilt. Within an hour they were hauling chunks of moth damage and dirt from frames out.

    Two medium 8 frame boxes with foundation. (Except for the center three with comb strips in bottom box.)
    There's an inner cover with 1 3/8" hole then an empty box with a Ziploc gallon feeder bag. (Which I'm thinking of removing soon)
    I noticed they were hauling pollen in the past few days, bight orange and dull yellow. I hope this means the queen is doing her job!

    They seem to be settling in nicely and don't mind me sitting 4 feet in front of the hive watching them.

    Is it to early to do a full inspection, look for the queen, brood etc. ?
    What's the normal wait time for hiving a swarm and then disrupting them by moving frames?
    Last edited by Backyarder; 04-22-2014 at 07:55 PM. Reason: added pictures

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,495

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    I would give them at least a week. Once they have some brood they are kind of locked in.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lamar Co. Alabama, USA
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    Great pictures! Sounds like they have settled in. Good luck with them and keep us informed.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Dixon, MO, USA
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    Too cool! Thanks for sharing pictures, I enjoy seeing other peeps bees.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    south central kansas
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: First swarm. a little help please.

    Today we did our first real inspection. We've peeked in the hive once or twice but have generally left the bottom box alone.
    It was windy but the bees didn't seem too upset about it. My wife, in her full suit, and i was wearing a jacket/veil. Our camera man was wearing a square folding veil. all the bees were calm, had the smoker lit and just set it upwind of us. No stings to report.

    Our goal was to find the queen or at least find out if she was laying. Then find out how much of a mess they had made. We were a little rushed feeling when we dumped them into the hive. We put 8 frames in the bottom box but didn't space them correctly. There was a big gap in the middle. They went ahead and filled the space with burr comb.



    We did see eggs and a very shy queen, she was disappearing from side to side. Three frames with eggs. The frame with all the burr was almost filled with eggs, they got to keep that burr. The second box had mostly uncapped honey two frames drawn and a couple more they had started on.
    Looks like we are off to a good start.



    Eggs or larva at this stage?


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