Swarm removal at night?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
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    Default Swarm removal at night?

    Got a call from the local 911 call center about 10pm last night. They asked me to come take a swarm that had formed on a crosswalk sign post at the busiest downtown intersection. With it being the night before the Indy 500, the streets and sidewalks were packed. The swarm was about 10' up on the actual lighted part of the crosswalk sign and the city had barricade the immediate area.
    I decided it best to return at daybreak when there might be fewer people. I did that and got a very nice swarm.
    I am wondering if there would have been any problems taking such a swarm in the middle of the night, had there been no people around to deal with. With the city lights, there was more than enough light to work by. Has anyone ever taken a swarm at night?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    Vacuuming them would work OK. They probably would not crawl into a box at night, especially if it was cold.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
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    I used my bucket for taking this one...just knocked and swept them into it. After hiving my bucket o' bee's I returned and got about 3 cups worth more that had gathered at the original swarm spot...left only a few stragglers. If this circumstance ever comes about again, I may try taking them at night.
    I was thinking that having a portable bee-vac might have been a really nice thing to have, too.

  5. #4

    Go for it!

    I haven't had the opportunity to work with swarms yet, but I installed three of my packages at night. The bees all stayed together and if you spray 'em down with sugar syrup they'll be the most docile things in the world. You could go impress those people by not wearing any protective clothing. You'd also get all the bees, there shouldn't be any foragers or scouts out of the cluster at that hour. So, yeah next time that phone rings at 10:00 pm, go for it!

    -Nathanael

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    I picked up a swarm last year at night, and with a light rain falling. They were just a couple of feet off the ground on a small tree trunk. Did not notice any problems with boxing them at night. Their behavior was no different then it would have been in the daytime.
    To everything there is a season....

  7. #6

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    DID YOU GET PAID? I would have asked for tickets to the rain dance.
    Night time call pay for professionals comes at a premium, take it.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Sparta, Tennessee
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    I can't say that I have ever caught a swarm at night, but I would do it with a vacuum in a flash...

    I think you did the right thing by waiting till morning when few were around. Good decision in my book.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Jackson, MO
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    I prefer night swarm calls. There are fewer scout bees left behind. Invariably, when I do "day" swarm calls, the homeowner is in a fit the next day because I didn't "get all of them." This usually means another visit for about a handful of lost bees.

    When possible, I like to leave a hive body at the site, knock the swarm down, then give them until sundown to crawl in. But you cannot do this in public areas. I think you did the right thing.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  10. #9
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    Apr 2004
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    Wheatfield, IN
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    When I was a kid we did a few swarm pickups at night. Typically it was no different than the daytime. The only issue was light. They don't tend to fly much at night but make sure your pant legs are closed up.

    That crawling up the pant legs can take some of the fun out of it.

    You would have been fine taking the swarm at night. Especially since light wasn't a problem.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    Quote Originally Posted by nursebee View Post
    DID YOU GET PAID? I would have asked for tickets to the rain dance.
    Night time call pay for professionals comes at a premium, take it.
    Yes.... I explained that to the bees, and they were gracious enough to put up some honey for me that summer.
    To everything there is a season....

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Larkspur, Colorado
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    I capture most of my swarms either early evening or after dark. Most if not all of the scouts are clustered then. Then, and this works, hit them with a CO2 fire extiguisher - not the powder kind, just CO2. Between the CO2 and the cold I get all of them with very few dead.
    Steven Lechner<br />[email protected]<br />303.657.5360

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Benton County, Oregon
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    Yeah a buddy and I grabbed a nice swarm from a low maple tree at 11:30pm a few weeks ago. All went very well.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
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    OK...a year later now and another night adventure. This was a call to a rural area with a huge swarm on the side of a house about 10 feet up...and it was after dark when the homeowner called me. I was afraid to just knock them into a box because the swarm was really big and I figured only about a third of them would be caught...the rest would probably hit the ground. We got a ladder and placed the box(a deep) on top of that ladder just under the swarm. Placed another tall ladder right next to the swarm and climbed up to take a closer look. Biggest swarm I had ever seen.
    I carefully started pullling off handfulls of bee and placed them in the box...not many fell.
    Looks like a was able to transfer about 85-90% of the bees that way, but the rest of the bee's had spread a little too thin to be able to gather them in my hands
    We waited a while hoping the rest would walk into the box on their own. Some did, but lots were still on the house and it was after midnight. We decided to remove the box from atop the ladder...close up the top...placed it on the ground under the remaining bee's and return shortly before dark the following night. Intentions being that those bee's on the house would join the others in the box after daylight...then we could retrieve them all. That's where we are now....the next morning and waiting to go fetch them before dark tonight. So far, so good. We'll see how it ends tonight.
    Swarm catching has been enjoyable...every situation is different and tests my problem solving skills.

  15. #14
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    Jun 2007
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    melvin,mi
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    got all 3 of mine at night. Vary easy, if some hit the ground, just put the box on the ground and drum them in.

  16. #15
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    May 2004
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    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
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    This "Drumming" intrigues me. I've read about it in older books, but haven't encountered it in recent times...and have never tried it myself. If it works, it could be another tool to use in rounding up the bee's at night. Certainly would be worth trying.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    99

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grant View Post
    I prefer night swarm calls. There are fewer scout bees left behind. Invariably, when I do "day" swarm calls, the homeowner is in a fit the next day because I didn't "get all of them." This usually means another visit for about a handful of lost bees.
    I always tell them that there are hundreds of scouts out and they will likely recluster in the same spot when it gets dark, but that they'll be gone in 48-72 hours. The only time I got a call back was after the baseball clump had been there for 2 weeks (remaining from an 8 lb swarm). They left that day.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
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    Just finished rounding up last nights catch. We returned to the swarm just before sundown. The bee's had settled in to the deep and about a half a cup of bees remained on the house. I brushed those off...hoping they would fly and join the colony below. About half did. When it was dark we put the box in the truck and took them home. This large swarm has just packed the deep. It will get another deep tomorrow.
    All in all, this night time swarm taking isn't too bad...except for having to get up at 4:30am the nect morning. Makes for a short night!

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