New swarm in trap, How long before removing
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Rome, GA
    Posts
    369

    Default New swarm in trap, How long before removing

    I live in a residential neighborhood and keep bees at my farm several miles away. There are no beekeepers anywhere around me that I know of. Last year I saw some honeybees on my holly bush, so I thought what the heck, I'll stick up a swarm trap and see what happens.
    I put one of those large potted plant liner style swarm traps up about 10ft in a tree in my back yard but it got no activity last year, so I just left it up.
    I look out outside this evening and low and behold there appears to be a swarm in the process of moving in.
    should I wait any amount of time before pulling the trap down and attempt to relocate to my nuc yard or move asap? In the morning I'm going to set out a feeder. I don't use a lot of these style swarm traps, and this is my first swarm in one. I'll probably have to destroy it to get the bees out.

    Thanks
    DD
    Let's Eat Grandmaw ........... Let's Eat, Grandmaw.......Grammar Saves Lives

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Ardnamurchan and Fife, Scotland
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: New swarm in trap, How long before removing

    If the swarm has moved in you can move them in the next day or so any distance. If they've been in there several days you should move them over three miles as they've now reorientated to the new location. They'll start drawing comb immediately but you should be able to shake them out into a new box. Make sure the queen goes with them.

    Don't move them to a production apiary until you either know they've got low mite levels or you've treated them. Swarms from heavily infested colonies have a high mite load and need to be treated.
    The Apiarist - beekeeping in Fife, Scotland

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Rome, GA
    Posts
    369

    Default Re: New swarm in trap, How long before removing

    Thanks Shark!

    DD
    Let's Eat Grandmaw ........... Let's Eat, Grandmaw.......Grammar Saves Lives

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hampstead, NC USA
    Posts
    1,208

    Default

    I wish folks would get this 2' or 3 miles thing out of their heads. This is, yet another, beekeeping myth. All one needs to do is move the hive, with most flyers IN the hive if/when possible, and place some branches, or something that forces them to crawl around before taking flight, in front of the hive. This causes the bees to reorient their flight path just like they would if placed 3 miles away.
    "Challenger" as in the Mopar muscle car. Not a personality description .
    Keeping bees to raise money for chordoma.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,092

    Default Re: New swarm in trap, How long before removing

    Not exactly Challenger. Not saying it can't be done, especially with a swarm, but you will lose the majority of your foragers. Only going into my 4th season, but I was "fortunate" enough to have to move my apiary about 150' in my first season using Michael Bush's method. Every night I brought back thousands of foragers that went to the "leave behind box" at the old location for 4-5 nights. I made a real obstacle course for them to re-orient at the new location, but many thousands continued to go back to the old location for days. Probably not as much of an issue with a swarm in a new location, but I don't believe the 2'-3 mile "rule" is a myth. The Michael Bush method for moving a hive all at once works, but it also proves the "myth" is mostly true. J

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Pitt, NC, USA
    Posts
    789

    Default Re: New swarm in trap, How long before removing

    Hi, Dawg -- I've snared several swarms in a bait box in my front yard, and for 3 years now. I moved each in pre-dawn to a stand ~75' away. A little clump of foragers forms each time at the "old" locale, but fades after a day or 2. The period between swarm move-in and box relocation varies from 3-7 days. Maybe I've just been lucky (? -- not my style), but .....
    Anyhow, doing all that moving to a distance then moving back thing makes me dizzy. I'm willing, even, to risk having the swarm take off rather than bother so much. There're always more swarms in the sea. At least where I live. If I were desperate, maybe I'd have another view.
    Mitch

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Sacramento County, CA
    Posts
    872

    Default Re: New swarm in trap, How long before removing

    Quote Originally Posted by mlanden View Post
    Hi, Dawg -- I've snared several swarms in a bait box in my front yard, and for 3 years now. I moved each in pre-dawn to a stand ~75' away. A little clump of foragers forms each time at the "old" locale, but fades after a day or 2. The period between swarm move-in and box relocation varies from 3-7 days. Maybe I've just been lucky (? -- not my style), but .....
    Anyhow, doing all that moving to a distance then moving back thing makes me dizzy. I'm willing, even, to risk having the swarm take off rather than bother so much. There're always more swarms in the sea. At least where I live. If I were desperate, maybe I'd have another view.
    Mitch
    Mitch,

    I have only been toying with honeybees for three years...so I can't say I know a whole lot...but...

    I am experiencing the same exact thing you are describing. I move the swarms 50-300 ft. at night, place grass in the entrance, and sure enough, a very small clump of honeybees will arrive at the old swarm trap sight. If I have time, I sweep that small clump into a small box and return it to the main swarm. It has never been a problem for us here and we have caught upward of 75 swarms...

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: New swarm in trap, How long before removing

    Figure I would post a swarm-related question here, vs. starting a new thread

    Caught a swarm in a nuc box and since it was going to be a couple weeks before I could move it to my hive location, I transferred the frames to a full brood box. I should've slowed down and researched best method to move the new hive to a new location, but hey, I'm me, so I just dove in. With the help of a friend, we moved the brood box to a location near my other hives, no more than 1000 -2000 yds away. Although I know it would've been better to close it up, and do the move very early before foragers went out enmasse, my friend couldn't be here until mid-morning.

    Of course, there are now tons of foragers flying around and clumping near the swarm box location. I've done some reading now, and contrary to what I thought, that the bees would be able to locate their new hive location by queen smell, sounds like it may be true. What are the odds these bees are able to locate the new hive location 1000-2000 yds away vs. flying around lost in futility for a couple days and dying. Bee lessons are learned hard

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: New swarm in trap, How long before removing

    Quote Originally Posted by jhj8864 View Post
    Figure I would post a swarm-related question here, vs. starting a new thread

    Caught a swarm in a nuc box and since it was going to be a couple weeks before I could move it to my hive location, I transferred the frames to a full brood box. I should've slowed down and researched best method to move the new hive to a new location, but hey, I'm me, so I just dove in. With the help of a friend, we moved the brood box to a location near my other hives, no more than 1000 -2000 yds away. Although I know it would've been better to close it up, and do the move very early before foragers went out enmasse, my friend couldn't be here until mid-morning.

    Of course, there are now tons of foragers flying around and clumping near the swarm box location. I've done some reading now, and contrary to what I thought, that the bees would be able to locate their new hive location by queen smell, sounds like it may be true. What are the odds these bees are able to locate the new hive location 1000-2000 yds away vs. flying around lost in futility for a couple days and dying. Bee lessons are learned hard
    I'd put an empty box at the old location to catch the stubborn ones, and move them to the new box/location each evening or morning, when most of the foragers are in. Put branches or a piece of plywood in front of the new box to force them to reorient. Fivej speaks of this method above.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,333

    Default Re: New swarm in trap, How long before removing

    Because you moved during the day there is no way to be sure a virgin queen was not out. Yes do the box thing several times.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    NW Piedmont NC
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: New swarm in trap, How long before removing

    I have a related question. As my swarm trap is in a tree, and not a standard box but with deep frames, would placing a standard deep box at base of tree approximately 4-5' below the trap and moving the bees to the new box cause any issues. My goal is to get the bees into a standard box so that they can ultimately be moved approx 50 miles away for a few months. Due to time constraints not all at one time, which is why the move from trap to box and then the more permanent move.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,671

    Default Re: New swarm in trap, How long before removing

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivej View Post
    .... but you will lose the majority of your foragers. .... move my apiary about 150' in my first season .... J
    If you were patient enough, you'd see that all those "left-behind" workers would find their apiary by smell in 2-3 days and reintegrate into the existing hives.
    It is ONLY 150' feet away.
    I would not even worry about it.
    Bees hate being homeless and without a queen and shift around just fine.

    Another opportunistic thing - create a nuc with all those "left-behind" bees if need it and have a resources (spare queen, QC, etc).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,671

    Default Re: New swarm in trap, How long before removing

    Quote Originally Posted by Lastfling View Post
    ...would placing a standard deep box at base of tree approximately 4-5' below the trap and moving the bees to the new box cause any issues. ...
    I really would not worry about it, especially if you have no time to worry about it.
    Don't have time to worry about it? Then don't.
    They will be fine and will figure out the 4-5 feet move.
    No need to get into bee micro-management if time is short anyway.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    NW Piedmont NC
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: New swarm in trap, How long before removing

    Thanks - Did the deed yesterday and all appears to have went well. A lot of returning foragers clustered at the old swarm trap location but I discovered that if I took the trap lid an laid it next to the returning clustered bees they would troop onto it and start fanning. I would move those bees to the new hive entrance and they marched right into the hive. Rinse and repeat a few times and the majority were hived. A look this morning revealed no bees at trap location with normal hive activity at new hive. I plan to move this hive in the next couple of days to a temporary summer home and return it mid / late summer to a permanent location.

    I must admit I was amazed that they had built out 4 of the 5 foundationless frames in the trap and were working hard on the 5th in the short time they'd been there. The saying that a swarm is a wax building machine is definitely true.

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