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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been busy building swarm boxes with the thought that I still have a couple of weeks. Wrong! Got my first ever prime swarm last night around 7:30. Obviously these bees didn't see the ten day forcast for upstate New York. Had some fun in the dark twenty feet up in the tractor bucket. How long could a swarm last in a tree with near freezing weather?
 

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Glad to hear of someone else using a tractor (and bucket) as part of their beekeeping equipment. And I thought our motorized extractor was an expensive piece of equipment (for a hobbyist). :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm definitely glad I have the tractor. I can't get my trucks out to the pig pastures and hives because of the biblical rains that never stop....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Way to early. All I can figure is someone really over fed their hive. My hives feel light and I might give them a little as just won't warm up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here's a thought. If it had been warmer weather, could I have just set a hive out and baited it with swarm commander? Anyone ever try this?
 

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I'm also in NY and have already had two swarms. In early April I had taken a nuc out of both and given them a third 10-frame deep, putting empty drawn frames in the brood nest and moving capped brood above the excluder. Next year I'll try doing the same, but in late February instead of early April. By the time the snow melts I think it's too late to prevent swarms.

I have about 50/50 success with getting them to move into nuc boxes with swarm commander. Old brood frames help too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There's an old timer in my area and that's what he does. He ships in queens from Washington State and does starts in March.
My best hive over wintered in three deeps and this queen will lay in all of them. I want this one to go into swarm mode and I'll make as many starts as possible.
 

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Morning crab414,

I'm getting back into beekeeping after a long hiatus. Was more interested in catching feral bees than buying, so I built swarm traps. Plain wooden ware, starter tabs on the frames, beeswax dribbled on the tabs and Lemon Grass Oil in slow release tubes. First trap out 18 March, with another two at about two week intervals. Two in trees and one on a pile of bricks outside my garage. That's the one that took the swarm.

So, LGO, instead of Swarm Commander and basically bare wood. I'm guessing you would succeed with Swarm Commander.

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm going to try both along with propolis and see if there's any difference. I suspect that location and quality of the trap is of more importance.
 

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We've had two (that we know about) so far this season. The bees were very polite and landed on a low branch in shrubbery both times. Both swarms now live in different box stacks in the same area as they decided to leave from. :) And we're suddenly up to eight colonies when a small split is taking into account.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It's so much fun isn't it?
I'm addicted now. I've got permission at neighboring farms to hang traps, just gotta get through this cold snap.
My new swarm came out for orientation flights today and brought in pollen. I gave them a supplement patty and a bag of mashed up comb and honey underneath an empty super. I think they'll make it 😬
 

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We've been collecting swarms for a few weeks now, mid May. Usually starts in mid April, but it was cold and wet and slowed them down.

Four easy ones this weekend -- my buddy called me and said he had three just above his hives in a tree along a drainage ditch, but he had customers and needed help. Had to reach up and pull the branches over, but they went in nicely. Last one we had to use a bucket on a pole, but I got them all in between garden center saies. He needs to get into them more often, or I need to since he's pretty buried in work this time of year.

Fourth one was at home. After getting all his bees in I walked down to look at mine and there was a swarm hanging off the top cover or one of my hives. Brushed them into a nuc box and they went to town drawing comb. Not the same color as any of my bees I don't think, but who knows.

With Snelgrove splits that makes three new hives, and if my mininucs take (doubtul, didn't have decent looking queen cells) that's five new hives....

Oh, and a split I did at my remove location trying to head off a swarm. Didn't work, they swarmed anyway.
 
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