This has been a great season for swarm catching in Northwestern Michigan. Over the last week and a half I have caught 9 swarms (and just missed two more). A friend has caught 14. Running out of equipment is a good thing.
I have caught four swarms in Northern Michigan. The first on 5/14, the second on 5/15, and the last two yesterday on 5/17. I have a buddy who has also caught 4 so far. Last year I caught around 14 swarms, and it looks like it may be another year like last.
I have a job that puts me in orchards all season, so I keep an empty super with frames, top, and bottom board at the ready. Farmers that I work with (I am an agricultural consultant) keep an eye out for me.
Hope this is not off subject, but what do you folks use to catch the swarms? Sounds like everyone has different ways. I keep a deep super with 7 to 8 frames with foundation and 1 or 2 drawn frames with a little honey in them. I use hive staples to attach a bottom board to the box and keep a lid with me.
When I find a swarm I position the box under it as well as I can and remove all but four of the frames. Then after shaking or brushing the bees into the box I add the rest of the frames (carefully!) back in. The top is put on and the box is left there to be picked up that evening.
This method has usually worked very well and almost every time when I return all of the bees are in there. I will say this, most of the swarms that I find are within the reach of my pickup bed where I place the box. I did find two this year that required ladders or standing on the pickup roof so I modified my approach a little. Since most of the swarms are in orchards there are plenty of lower branches for them to hang on.
Caught another swarm yesterday. Up to 11 now. One problem though. The cherry grower that found the swarm for me accidentally sprayed the swarm with Asana (a pyrethroid) before I got there. His beekeeper had already pulled the hives out of the orchard the day before, so he was not expecting to see any bees. It was a 6-8# swarm and underneath it was around 1-1.5# of dead and dying bees. He felt bad about it, but what can you do?
I hope that they make it. Looks to me like it was the outside layer that was killed, so hopefully the queen and enough bees to get started make it. Asana is a contact insecticide so I believe that what damage was done id done (I HOPE). Anyone have any experiences like this?
Caught three more swarms on 5/30. One small one, one medium, and one large. Also found a fourth, and it was HUGE!, but it was high up in a maple tree. The limb it was on hangs right out over a busy road. Can't win them all!
I just captured a swarm from a wild hive by my mother's house on Wednesday. One of my hives just swarmed today (quite the independence day). First time I've ever witnessed a swarm in action! Super cool. Lewiston, Michigan (Northern Lower Peninsula)
05/06/10 Grand Rapids MI 49504 My hive. They lit in a branch to big to cut and too small for the ladder to lean on. Tied the vac to my belt and stuck the container into the ladder rungs, got 90% of them, about a two pounder.
Had a swarm land in a tree at the back of my yard this past Sunday, 5/16. Swarmed from a feral colony in a tree on other side of neighbors house. She saw it swarm, I tracked it to the tree it landed in. After spending the night, it moved on.