First year bkeeper, was working in my shop today saturday april 2,2011 at 1135 in the morning in dresden, tn look out the front door a saw my first swarm of the year about 25 feet from me in a apple tree 3 feet off the ground. got my home made bvac, it work great,put them in a brood box with some sugar water 1to1 with hbh,there doing great. i beleive they came from one of my two hive
Got my first swarm call of the season yesterday late afternoon. We were still in the midst of that bad storm that had been raging since early afternoon. Swarm was in a magnolia tree about 6' up per the owner. They had a huge tree down from the storm. Took me forever to get there because most of the traffic lights were not working. By the time I got there it was dark, still raining and cold.
Wonder why people always say something is about 6' feet off the ground. Guess it's just a nice round number. This swarm was every bit of 10' off the ground and huge. Hard to judge in the dark and raining and this swarm was really hunkered down tight.
They started to fall to the ground in clumps and go "plump" when they hit the ground. Put the nuc out hoping they would go in. Finally got a bucket and got the rest of them on 2 tries dumping them in the nuc. Actually it was a 5-frame high nuc with a 2nd 5-frame with only 3 frames in it.
Could easily have been 7 or more pounds of bees. Put on gloves and started scooping up the bees that were still on the wet ground and dumping them into the top. Strapped the 2 boxes down tight, covered with a sheet and magnolia leaves and left it there for the night.
Went back this AM and all was well. Plenty of bees in the nuc and probably a 1000 or so dead on the ground from the rain and cold. Brought it home and set it up. By this afternoon they were really flying around and getting orientated.
That was 2 80 mile round trips. At 15 mpg that was expensive but still a lot cheaper than purchasing a nuc or package.
First Swarm of the Season 4-3-2011 Sparta, TN 38583
I was looking out the front window....had a med/full dead out sitting on a pallet in view...watched the swarm come across the pasture and into the box they went. I went through the 17 hives near the west pasture...one box with a poor pattern and new queen cells... the swarm didn't come from my hives...and too far from my next closest yard... :-)
4/8: Got call near dark about a swarm. Hived it that night in a nuc. Really not sure how large the swarm was but I doubt it was over 2 pounds. Brought it home 4/9 AM.
4/9: Got call around 6:30PM about a large swarm 38 miles away. Was dark by the time most of the bees were in the hive. Left hive there to get the rest of the bees that were around the box or on the ground below where the swarm was located on a bush. Swarm could have been 7 pounds or more. There were a lot of bees. Will go back tomorrow after church, seal off entrance and bring back the hived swarm.
4/10: Brought home swarm (#4) from Spring Hill, TN. Got almost all of the bees. Screened off the entrance and then sprayed SW/HBH on entrance and bees at entrance. Waited a little while and then sprayed again as there were a lot more bees at entrance. Covered hive with sheet underneath hive which captured almost all of the bees. Brought hive home.
4/10: Swarm #5. On the way back from Spring Hill got a call for a large swarm in Nashville. Took hive home, released the bees, repacked with new equipment and sheet and headed out. Bees left just before I got there. We found them across the street in a dogwood tree. At least 5 to 7 pounds. Sheet, hive, SS/HBH, and shake. After a few more shakes and scoops put on IC. Later OC. After OC wasn't long before most bees were hived. Sealed entrance, SW/HBH, wrapped with sheet, cinched up hive, put in truck and took to a farm. No worse for the wear.
TBH swarmed 4/10. They were bearding and I was watching. Video taped liftoff and then taped them landing in a pine tree 15 away. Shook in a box and put them in another hive. They are their own next door neighbors two hours later. About four pounds of bees.
One 45 miles away. Very few bees still there but the back of my truck which was parked some distance away was full of bees when I moved it closer to the swarm spot. Left an 8-frame nuc there just in case as a lot of bees were coming and going from several directions.
The other in town. But bees weren't swarming, they were orientating at the entrance to the outside wall which was stone (veneer?).
Received call mid-morning about a swarm at an auto auction company. Bees were no longer there but could see some flying around. Especially on top of roof. Got up on the metal roof and looked around. Prior to going up setup a 5-frame nuc with all frames sprayed with SW/HBH where bees were located earlier. Kept seeing bees flying around but no swarm. Started seeing a large group of bees further down the building roof. Brought up nuc and set on roof not far from where I got up. Walked back over and saw a more bees flying and about 15-20 bees on the roof. Brought nuc over next to group of bees. Found queen and put her in the box. Bee immediately started coming to nuc. Went back to get top. When I got back a lot more bees. Put on top and then left roof to drive around to other side of huge building which was much closer to the nuc. By the time I got back up from the other side the hive was covered with bees. Sprayed some of the on the front with SW/HBH and they started going into box. Waited at least 30 minutes and most of the swarm was either in or on the nuc. Put down a sheet and moved the nuc back onto it. Bees started moving to nuc there. Waited maybe 10 minutes then I took the ends of the sheet and gathered them up at the top of the nuc. Carried sheeted nuc down ladder and put in back of truck with sheet in place. Brought home and set down nuc at location and pulled back sheet. Bees seemed to be fine later in the evening. Unsure of exact amount of bees but at least 3#. Persistance......
4/13: Received a call late evening. Told him bees would not leave tree this late in the day. Will come early tomorrow and get the swarm. Said bees had probably been there for at least a day. 4/14: Swarm was much larger than I expected. Started about 4" from bottom of the tree and went up 2 feet or better all the way around the tree and on to the branches. Probably close to 10# of bees. Put down sheet, with 8-fram box under the hive as close as I could to the largest section of the swarm. Already sprayed the frames with SW/HBH. Sprayed the bees tool. Started scraping them off onto the box and in front of the box. Took me over an hour to finally get at least 98% of the bees into the hive. Pruned limbs on tree as I went because homeowner told me last night that the tree didn't grow very well. Pruning helped me get to the bees and allowed me to scrap and brush off the bees onto the hive and sheet. Putting IC and then later OC on really increased the amt of bees that went into the hive. Finally stapled the entrance shut and waited for more bees to congregate at entrance or on sheet. Folded sheet up and strapped down hive with sheet around it and brought it home. Removed sheet which had a lot of bees and the screen from the entrance. Bees seem to be doing fine.
Cutout of a tree that had been pushed down during clearing on Thur or Fri. Rained 1.65 inches Fri and Sat AM. Was told about it at church Sun. Went and looked at it. Tree busted open pretty good with a lot of comb and bees. Pulled out a lot of comb with brood and scooped up a lot of bees. Finally got the queen in the hive sometime during the process as all of the bees started moving to hive. Did cutout frames after removing all of the comb and most of the bees. When moving some of the comb that was piled up in the first box into the second box I am sure I saw 3 queens fall off. 1 was large and very light in color (almost tan) and large, 2nd was dark and long, 3rd was smaller than 2nd but looked the same except smaller (unmated). Waited till night and cooler. Every bee had to be in the boxes. Couldn't find 1 single bee in the area of the tree, where I did the cutout frames or on any of the honeycomb I left.
Left honeycomb because some of it was full of SHB larva. Should have brought it home, froze it and then fed it to the bees. But some of the bees on some of the honey comb looked like they had been sprayed. Didn't want to take a chance with any of that comb. Comb further up in the hollow was fine. Very huge hive with a huge population of bees (Workers, young house bees, drones, and drones that were twice the size of the other drones).
Swarm I hived on 4/14 and brought home absconded. There were probably close to 30,000 bees in that swarm. Bees were in the hive the first couple of days so they had to of left on 4/17-18. Never saw a swarm anywhere around the house. I have always in the past saw the bees swarming in the air or found them on a branch or bush. I normally check every day. Don't think I did this time.
Got a call about a swarm last night. Rained during the night and was suppose to rain all day today. Bees were still there. Around 5 pounds. Easiest swarm I have ever gotten. Put down sheet. Sprayed all comb with SW/HBH. Placed 5-frame Nuc under swarm on bush. Shook bush. 10 minutes later they were all in the box. It's nice when they are all on 1 limb, only 2.5' off the ground with a clear and short drop to the box.
Captured my first swarm of the season on May 2, 2011. They had tried to swarm a number of times before so I added a third brood box which kept them in the hive for a few more weeks. Pretty good size swarm......about 5 lbs. I would estimate. Here is a more detailed outline:
This colony was in a new TBH and was installed from a captured swarm on 9 April 2011, just 23 days earlier. Originally they were given eight empty bars, then two more, then two more, and eventually ended up with 16 bars, the last two of which were added on 25 April. In addition, they were fed 1:1 sugar syrup from day one, and went through about a quart a day. In 16 days they consumed 15 qts. of SS and drew out 13 full bars of near perfect comb. We intended to go in and do a full inspection on either 29 or 30 April but didn't get to. Then on Monday, 2 May 2011 at 1245 during a break in the clouds and rain, they swarmed while I sat there watching the hive. Luckily, they clustered just 30 feet from the hive on a cedar branch just seven feet above ground. The bees now reside in an 8-frame, medium Langstroth just six feet from the TBH they left.
This was the second swarm in eight days from my TBH which was itself started from a swarm just one month earlier, 9 April 2011. Both swarms issued from this colony were between three and four pounds, bigger than any 3# package I have ever seen. See msg #1178 in this thread (dated 6 May) for further details of the colony.