Need advice on capturing a swarm I attracted yesterday
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Orem, Utah USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Need advice on capturing a swarm I attracted yesterday

    I'm new to beekeeping and I built a top bar hive and several swarm boxes. So, yesterday, I had bees starting to swarm to one of my bait boxes I put in my carport. I saw the main swarm fly overhead and it settled in a chestnut tree three houses down from me (~70 meters). They are about 25 feet up in the air and inaccessible to me. This morning, the swarm is still in the tree. And my swarm box still has lots of activity too from that swarm (~50-100 bees at a time).

    Can I assume that the queen will be able to eventually find my swarm box or should I take more proactive measures? For example, should I put another swarm box (or my empty top bar hive) at the base of the tree to increase the chances of capturing it or just let nature take its course here? Or find someone with a boon and get the swarm out cut out as fast as possible?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Richmond, VA, USA
    Posts
    344

    Default Re: Need advice on capturing a swarm I attracted yesterday

    If you have 50+ bees at a time, the odds are strongly in your favor. I bet they move in today. If you happen to notice the number of bees suddenly dropping down to a couple of bees, the swarm is on its way. Get the camera ready!

    Let us know if you catch 'em.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Orem, Utah USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Need advice on capturing a swarm I attracted yesterday

    Whew! They moved in! Thanks for the advice...not too soon either as my neighbor was freaking out that they were hanging in her front yard tree and she had a beekeeper friend begging her to let her come get them and warning that they would move into a wall in her house if she did not (sigh)...that was some extra drama I did not need.

    captureswarm.jpg
    Now I have the problem of eventually getting the bees transferred to my top bar hive in my back yard at some point but that's another issue. The capture box has compatible top bars. I'm thinking not bothering them for a week and then maybe move them a few miles a way for a few days and then move them back here. Any advice appreciated.

    Edit: I cannot get this picture rotated correctly on this site. It seems I am unable to replace the original image.
    Last edited by limbo696; 05-17-2018 at 03:02 PM.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Richmond, VA, USA
    Posts
    344

    Default Re: Need advice on capturing a swarm I attracted yesterday

    Great job! It is a beautiful sight, is it not? Are they all moved into the swarm box?

    It sounds like you have a good plan for moving them. There are others swarm catchers out there with much more experience. My advice is wait to see pollen coming in, perhaps within a couple days, then move them away and back, like you said.

    Depending on the distance to your top bar, you might be able to move them a few feet every day or two. Put them on a sturdy wagon, or a wheelbarrow.
    The bees can move a few feet at a time with no problem. As soon as you move them, get a new trap installed back in the same place.

    How exactly, did you bait your trap?
    Last edited by clong; 05-17-2018 at 01:39 PM.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Orem, Utah USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Need advice on capturing a swarm I attracted yesterday

    Indeed! It is the most excited I've been in a very, very long time at my old age of 52.

    The whole hive moved in. I baited with just lemongrass oil--a few drops on the inside walls, a few drops on the entrance, and a sealed plastic bag with drenched q-tips. I'm worried that the scent is too strong since it was freshly baited--I've read that too strong a scent can make them abscond. I also had an inch square of old comb in there and I melted and rubbed some beeswax along the sides.

    I retrofitted this particular swarm box to have a circular hole from a rectangular one and I also added a hanger to more easily hang it from trees. It had been sitting in my backyard on a high fence for several weeks with absolutely no action. In contrast, my topbar hive was drawing some interest from bees with its circular openings. So based on my own anecdotal evidence, the bees seem to be more attracted to more to circular entrance holes than rectangular ones. My plan was to move the box to a new location and I just tested it in my carport to make sure the system worked. The next morning, bees were very interested in it! The whole swarming process took like 25 hours. I have two other bait hives that I plan to retrofit in a similar fashion.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Richmond, VA, USA
    Posts
    344

    Default Re: Need advice on capturing a swarm I attracted yesterday

    limbo,

    Thanks for the report on your baiting technique. There has been a spirited discussion on mega-baiting here:
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/show...19#post1620519

    I've been experimenting with a couple of drops, and a wax-infused disk inside, and a baggie on the outside with 6-8 drops of LGO & Swarm Commander. I've only had one catch in a box this year, but it was a big one, and it was on a mega-baited box. But they clustered on the outside. I had to get a second less-smelly box before they would move in. The one take-away for me so far, is to have your extra lure removable.

    I've had bees move into 1.25" circular holes, and 4"x.5" rectangular ones.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
    Posts
    1,765

    Default Re: Need advice on capturing a swarm I attracted yesterday

    Sounds like a fun event to watch and fuss over. Let them settle for a week or so and you can move it 10 ft a day and they will easily find it. If you move the hive away for just a few days, I think some bees could still home in to the old location. I moved a hive 75 yards in one swoop to the other side of my shop and, though bees hovered at the old spot for a few days, they seemed to find it since there were no bees there at the end of the day.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    658

    Default Re: Need advice on capturing a swarm I attracted yesterday

    Congratulations Limbo...
    “My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.” (Proverbs 24:13)

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,940

    Default

    Sounds awesome! I have had swarms move into my stored supers before, completely open on the bottom and top propped up with bricks.....so while they may have a preference...they will take what they can get. 🙂

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Orem, Utah USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Need advice on capturing a swarm I attracted yesterday

    So you think the best bet would not to touch them for a full week and then start moving the bait hive slowly to where my permanent topbar hive is located in my back yard (~30 meters away). And then do the transfer when the box and the topbar hive are sitting next to each other?

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