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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Mt Blanchard, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    18

    Lightbulb Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    I don't have bees yet. Now you know... my current plan is to trap swarms in the spring. That said...)

    ASSUMPTIONS:

    -I think we can all agree that swarms that take up residence in a swarm trap late in the summer... say August on, are not likely to survive the winter, no matter how much you feed them. I am basing my question upon that assumption.

    -I have been told that bees will be more willing to occupy a trap or hive if it has previously held bees. I am also basing my question on the assumption that this is true.

    The question:
    Is there any point to setting up a newly constructed swarm trap at this point in the season, even though I have not yet built a hive, simply to have it be occupied in such a manner that it would make it a more attractive swarm trap in the spring? I also think that if there is any honey produced, I could freeze it and feed it to any hives I may choose to feed in the future.

    Effect of your answers
    If it sounds like a good idea, I need to get moving on building these things... otherwise I'll wait till it gets too cold to be outside.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,435

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    If you wait for bees to move into a swarm trap this late in the season that's never been used with no drawn comb, you'll be waiting a long time. Best to try next spring or just buy some bees.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,936

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Country Roots View Post


    ASSUMPTIONS:

    -I think we can all agree that swarms that take up residence in a swarm trap late in the summer... say August on, are not likely to survive the winter, no matter how much you feed them. I am basing my question upon that assumption.

    Your basic assumption is incorrect, at least in Kentucky.

    Over the years, I have had numerous swarms move into swarm traps in late Summer, in fact, as late as 6 October, and still survive the Winter. Of course they needed some help, (such as, give them 2 deep frames solid with honey, give them drawn comb, Winter them in a nuc in an open storage shed, feed them on any February and March day that the temperature is above 50 degrees.) Late swarms are normally small, but, like any other swarm, they contain the right mix of bees to go to work immediately, build comb, store honey, and the queen lay small quantities of eggs. Late swarms do survive if you manage them properly.

    I have the absolute highest respect for Charlie B so I hesitate to disagree with his post above, but, late Summer swarms are going somewhere. They may very well move into your empty box. I think what Charlie meant to say was, It will be very difficult with no drawn comb, and, resources that you can manipulate, to get them through the Winter. Swarms are looking for a place to go, and, they will go into any place that will suit their needs. An empty bee box is no worse than an empty water meter: an empty bee box is no worse than the walls of a shed, or, an old house, etc.

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you have the free time, build the traps, set them out, mouse proof them for the Winter, and you will have them ready for Spring when the chances for success are better. In the meantime, read every thing you can about beekeeping.

    cchoganjr

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    315

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    "Is there any point to setting up a newly constructed swarm trap at this point in the season, even though I have not yet built a hive, simply to have it be occupied in such a manner that it would make it a more attractive swarm trap in the spring?"
    I would get moving on building and setting up a few swarm traps now to debug the entire process and to begin climbing the hands on learning curve. Construct the opening in such a way to prevent mice and birds from occupying the traps. You are less likely to catch a swarm without a swarm trap than with one, even this late in the season.
    Inscrutable little bugs.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Lexington, SC, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    I have no experience, but I left some traps out on the edge of our swamp since they can't catch anything inside the garage. We had a swarm build on a open limb last October that got three of us in our family keeping bees this year. We tried to house them over the winter, but not knowing anything we failed to put them in a protected spot and did not feed in march when a cold spell hit. They made it almost to the last of march before they starved.

    Knowing more now, we probably could make it work.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lamar Co. Alabama, USA
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    Caught a small swarm last year on 8/19 that was about the size of a football that turned into a gang buster hive this year. Started it in a deep nuc, fed it, added brood, and moved it up to larger quarters as needed. Of course this is Alabama and we didn't have our first frost till late October. Like Mr Hogan said, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    Of course I had resources to help the swarm along, but give it a try.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Mt Blanchard, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    Well... I guess I'd better get busy then! Thanks for all the info!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Lexington, SC, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    I like mine built with a hanger on the side of it. I put it on with screws in case I want to take it off. It is a 3" scrap of wood with a hole in the top to go over a nail or attach to a tree with a cargo strap. Makes it really easy to hang.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,986

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    >I have the absolute highest respect for Charlie B so I hesitate to

    I hate to admit I have to partially agree with Charlie.

    Once bait hive season is over here I rarely catch any more. My last bait catch of about 30 came in on 6/14. I did catch one in June on undrawn Ritecell that had been in a previously successful bait that at that time also had four black wax combs. I moved the catch on wax into a bigger box and another swarm came in onto the Ritecell.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,936

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    I sit most of my catchers on plastic barrels. They work well. They are about 36 inches off the ground.

    And, I mouseproff mine, and, leave them out all year. Check them in early Spring, and add lemon grass oil as needed.

    I like the size of an old ten framer, and I put two drawn combs and a comb of foundation. When the bees move in they start on the two combs of drawn brood comb and the frame of foundation keeps them from dropping comb from the inner cover unless you don't check them for a long time.

    Good Luck. Free bees are my favorite price.

    odfrank... But, isn't that "rarely" "one you catch" worth just as much as any other you catch. I don't lose anything by leaving them out, and occasionally they catch a late one. Takes a little effort to get them through the Winter, but, since there are almost no beekeepers in this area, the ones I catch are almost always wild colonies which have survived without our intervention. Bill Troutwine , (43911 on beesource), loves these wild bees. He gets mine.

    In Kentucky the primary swarm season is mid-April to 1 June, but, we get a good amount of swarming in mid-August to mid September. Normally much smaller in size. I believe these occur when their colony becomes too crowded from honey stores and they swarm. I suspect that a lot of these do not make it through the Winter on their own. In the past few years I have been called to collect bees that have established their colony totally out in the open on limbs. Doubt they could have made it out in the snow and wet Winter.

    cchoganjr
    Last edited by Cleo C. Hogan Jr; 08-01-2014 at 09:27 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Lexington, SC, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    I agree with all of you about swarm season is winding down. I just need something to "hunt" during the summer months. I also have to stay busy when I get home...so building boxes takes my mind off of work.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    West Blocton Alabama USA
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    9

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    I caught a small swarm yesterday. There might be enough bees to fill a quart jar. I ended up putting the swarm in a NUC box at least 7 times and each time the bees would go back to the bush that I removed them from. I ended up with a modified entrance guard on the NUC to keep the swarm in the box. Now all of the bees are on the outside of the NUC and the queen is on the inside. My question is after the bees settle down I am planning to give them a couple frames of honey and some drawn comb. Does this small of a colony have chance to make it?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    315

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    "Does this small of a colony have chance to make it?"
    With your plan and location, they have a fair chance. I would add some nurse bees if you have plenty, give them more honey later if they need it, and protect them from harsh north winds this winter. Their chances improved when you caught them. I hope it works out.
    Inscrutable little bugs.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Lamar Co. Alabama, USA
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    348

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    Bear den: I caught a swarm about three weeks ago that was about the size of my fist. I had to put them in a nuc twice. The second time I cut the small branch they were on and put it on top of the nuc and the queen went inside. It was a medium 5 frame nuc so they wouldn't have much room to keep war. I put one frame of mostly capped brood in the next day and two more frames of mostly capped brood in two days later (swapped comb and left nurse bees on frames). Last Friday I moved them into an 8 frame medium box. I have the resources to give them more comb and brood/honey if they need it. Today they were bringing in pollen (in the morning) and have been flying hard every day. The point being, if you have some resources, you have a good shot of getting them through the winter. We still have golden rod, asters, and swamp sunflowers to bloom before cold weather. The kudzu is blooming like crazy now and the bees are working it some too.
    Caught one about the size of a football in mid August last year that I did the same thing with and they turned into a strong hive this year.
    Last edited by GaryG74; 08-13-2014 at 09:17 PM. Reason: spelling

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,170

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Scpossum View Post
    I agree with all of you about swarm season is winding down. I just need something to "hunt" during the summer months. I also have to stay busy when I get home...so building boxes takes my mind off of work.
    Chantrel mushrooms start popping about the time swarms stop here, and I think they are more fun to hunt than bees lol

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Victoria, Texas, USA
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    If you dont set traps you wont catch swarms. If you catch a swarm then baby them through the winter since you have no bees yet. If they die with your care, they probably would have died anyway. So might as well try.

    I live in South Texas and we generally have mild winters. My first hive came from a colony that had built comb on an exposed oak branch. They swarmed twice before finally staying in the hive. I got them November 19, 2012. They gathered pollen all winter, and I did feed them a little syrup, but not much. They were ready to go in the spring. That initial hive has now been split and they have completely filled 2 4' top bar hives. Don't dispise the day of small beginnings!
    TxBeek. KTBHs. Victoria, Tx. along the Gulf coast. Zone 9b.
    Treatment free bees from traps and cutouts.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Whitla Ab. Canada
    Posts
    473

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    I started in Beekeeping by catching 2 late swarms. They were small and didn't make the winter, but what I learned from those bees I will always be thankful for. It taught me how to handle bees and what to look for when doing hive inspections. Being small hives they were not in the least aggressive so they were fun to work and in the spring I had a bunch of drawn comb and even harvested a quart of honey that they couldn't get to. Sometimes failure can be a good thing. On another note I caught a swarm last week that easily fills 7 frames with bees, with a little tender care I think those girls will make the winter.
    Colino
    But every sunday afternoon he is a dirt track demon
    In a '57 chevrolet- Jim Croce

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,553

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    I learned from Michael Palmer and Kirk Webster that you can often overwinter a small colony. I wouldn't turn down a swarm in August. I also wouldn't get my hopes up about how it will do. But especially if you have some resources you can give them (like a frame of open brood a frame of emerging brood, a couple of combs of honey and some drawn comb) they will often do quite well. If you have to, give them some dry sugar to get their weight up.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    528

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    I lost both of my hives early in the winter last year. I caught a small swarm in late February and bought 2 hives in April that I had already ordered. The swarm is my favorite hive.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    West Blocton Alabama USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Late Summer Swarm Trapping... any value? (Please read before responding!)

    Thanks for the help. I really had a time with that last swarm. 2 days ago I open that hive to add a frame on honey and pollen and they swarmed out agin. I got them back in and I think the will stay now because of the honey and pollen. With that queen being a virgin queen when will she mate? Does anyone know how long it takes a new queen to mate and start laying eggs?
    Last edited by bear_den; 08-16-2014 at 07:13 PM.

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