Mother of All Swarms
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Gwinnett, Georgia
    Posts
    3

    Default Mother of All Swarms

    I had a hive swarm 14 yes 14!! days ago. The swarm is located approx. 30 feet away from original hive and approx. 40 feet high towards the top of a Leyland tree. They have not moved since swarming, and I have no way to get to them without likely killing myself in the process. A number of traps baited with old comb and lemongrass oil have not worked. In the past 14 days we have had 4 intermittent days of rain. I would have thought by now they would have moved on to one of my neighbours attics. Has anybody had experience with a swarm that has not moved in the period of time? Any suggestions other than cutting down neighbours Leyland....LOL.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Woodbridge, VA (But planning to move to NW Louisiana soon)
    Posts
    288

    Default Re: Mother of All Swarms

    Have you tried beating on a metal mixing bowl with a large spoon?
    I understand it takes about half a day to be effective.
    Maybe your neighbor would prefer you to cut down the tree.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Isle of Wight, VA
    Posts
    2,793

    Default Re: Mother of All Swarms

    For swarms 40 feet up, we call them God's Bees. There isn't a whole lot you can do now to entice them to come back down to a hive. A swarm 14 days old is going to have started drawing comb and filling it with brood and food. It is now an outside hive that you will get to watch go through the winter.

    All I can recommend is a syrup feeder close by on warm winter days to help it survive.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,291

    Default

    I've been successful capturinfing swarms on high thin branches. I tie a rope to a stone and throw around branch then vigorous jolt and shake branch. Typically a good portion of the cluster will drop along with queen. I've also totally broken branches off. Dusk and Dawn is best time as they will be more tightly clustered. It's not always successful but can be.


    I would also check your hives. Large late swarms may not successfully requeen themselves. Small late swarms are typically not a good queen or laying worker.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Chester, CT
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Mother of All Swarms

    I retrieved one once that was about that high. I duct taped a five gallon bucket to a 15 foot windsurfer mast which was duct taped to another 15 foot windsurfer mast which was held by me standing near the top of a 6 foot step ladder. I knocked the bees into the bucket and them had to get them down without spilling them, which was the tricky part. 5 or 10 pounds of bees, whatever it was, at the end of a 25 foot pole is hard to control. I had a razor knife on me and cut the joint from mast to mast as I lowered it down while standing on the ladder. I then carried the top 15 foot mast with the bucket on to to a box and did my best to tip it in.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
    Posts
    1,715

    Default Re: Mother of All Swarms

    Fire truck and ladder and plenty of people for video from all angles put it up on youtube

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Gwinnett, Georgia
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Mother of All Swarms

    Thank you all for the great advice. I will try attracting them with the mixing bowl method today. My neighbors are at work so the sound will not be an issue. My wife has agreed to help me, we will run 30 minutes each then switch out. Hoping it will not take too long.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kirksville, Missouri USA
    Posts
    1,765

    Default Re: Mother of All Swarms

    I would consider the mixing bowl thing to be a joke. If you really want them, rent a man lift. a couple hundred or less for half a day would be a bit expensive, but fun. Then there's that firetruck idea above. Take pictures.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    wilmington,nc
    Posts
    49

    Default

    You can get some tree climbing gear to get closer to them. A ladder secured to the tree along with a safety harness to get closer to them. A bee vac with pvc extended hose may work. A bee friendly tree company that has a bucket truck. A fishing pole to place a small line over the branch to pull up a larger line to pull on the limb to shake the bees off, or break the limb off. A rifle to shoot the limb off. Be safe as no swarm is worth dying for.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    608

    Default Re: Mother of All Swarms

    Quote Originally Posted by leadchunker View Post
    A bee vac with pvc extended hose may work.
    maybe a bee vacuum with a lot of hose on a long pole.

    I have used this to extend a vacuum hose before
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...HK24/205618043

    This may get you close to their height
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Mr-Longa...2324/100177392

    I have no idea if traveling thru 20+ feet of corrugated hose would kill all of the bees though,

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Gwinnett, Georgia
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Mother of All Swarms

    Update.......Swarm is drawing lots of comb. Swarm is located approx 40 ft. on top of a Leyland Cypress tree. No way to climb it. No access for a bucket lift. Have been yelling at them from time to time but that does not seem to have any effect.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,573

    Default Re: Mother of All Swarms

    Quote Originally Posted by ATLBeek View Post
    Update.......Swarm is drawing lots of comb. Swarm is located approx 40 ft. on top of a Leyland Cypress tree. No way to climb it. No access for a bucket lift. Have been yelling at them from time to time but that does not seem to have any effect.
    They are no longer a swarm. That is a colony of bees in an external, exposed hive.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Woodbridge, VA (But planning to move to NW Louisiana soon)
    Posts
    288

    Default Re: Mother of All Swarms

    I was really hoping to see you how your efforts with the steel bowl worked out. I saw that referenced in another thread here. I have a similar situation. A swarm landed in a tree about 30 feet high in my front yard. It had quite the cluster of comb and a good number of bees. some storms over the past few weeks have knocked off comb, some of that had brood and stores in it. There is still a small area of comb which looks to be strongly covered with bees. I'm certain they won't survive winter, but I won't spend $200 or more to rent a lift.

    Mine is in a Bradford Pear tree. I don't know how long they've been in the tree, and I don't think they were a swarm from my hives. I found a small piece of beautiful new white comb on the ground under the tree after a storm and said "Huh. I wonder where that came from." Looked up in the tree, but didn't see anything. A day or two later, after another windy storm, there was a larger piece of comb, maybe 5" across, on the ground, this one had nectar and pollen. Looked up again and couldn't see anything. A day or two later, there's a dinner plate sized piece of comb on the ground with brood in all stages, and a bunch of water logged bees. Finally spotted about a basketball sized grouping of comb covered in bees in a very densely-leafed section of the tree top.
    Last edited by Greeny; 09-21-2018 at 12:05 PM. Reason: More detail

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    camden, tennessee, USA
    Posts
    308

    Default Re: Mother of All Swarms

    I have had zero luck with swarms that settle more than 20 feet high. I once shot the base of the limb that the bees were on with a shotgun and a full choke. The impact jarred most of the bees loose but they hit the ground still in a cluster and smashed about a fourth of them and I assume killed the queen in the same motion bc from then on there were mad bees flying everywhere and not really gathering up anywhere in particular. Epic failure...

    I have grown to the point that I have more bees to look after than I care to so its just not worth the risk to chase bees higher than a step ladder.

    I have heard mention here about long poles and a frame of open brood but they are likely too tall for that as well.

    I don't see how they will stand a chance of wintering on an exposed limb even if it wasn't almost fall.

    Bees do what bees do...

    Is the hive they came from still doing ok? I just wonder if they weren't driven out by something... From my swarm prone yard I have not seen a swarm past April in my meager 4 years.

    Just wondering...

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