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Howdy folks.

I was asked to retrieve a large swarm this afternoon. It was in a weird location - on the ground in amongst some grass and rocks in the corner of a planter box. This was an insanely huge swarm. I'm guessing 7 or 8 pounds of bees total. I brushed and vacuumed as many bees as I could (maybe 80% of them) into a deep box, but it was really hard to get the ones in amongst the grass. There were honestly so many bees that the hose on my bee vacuum would clog up at times.

I left the box there overnight in hopes that the ones in the box would recruit the rest to come on into the shelter out of the approaching storm, but if that doesn't work can anyone give me advice on the best way to get as many of the stragglers as possible?
TIA
 

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Hey dude you can try this (has worked a few times for me): place a swarm box (deep with bottom, top, 1 or 2 old comb frames and filled out with foundation/starter-strip frames) on the ground in a position at the edge of the swarm cluster such that the bees can walk into it (build a little ramp if needed). Add a tiny bit of lemon-grass-oil (the "come-hither" phero) inside the box. If you have it, add a frame of open brood along with covering nurse bees in the middle position. The swarm bees will start marching into the box. It takes a while (can actually be hours) but the bees disintangle themselves from the grass/vines or whatever and move into the hive. Often you can watch the queen march in. Eventually you get all of the bees. but I would not use a bee vacuum in this case (too much danger to queen).
 

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So how are they doing today?

Swarms on the ground can be a tricky.

The only thing I would add to db's advice is that I would give them 2 deeps, really large swarms like a lot or room.


Don
 

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Here's a picture of the swarm.

photo (Large).jpg

I went back to get them today, and there were a lot of bees in the box and lot of bees on the outside of the box. I added a second deep and frames to provide more space, brushed/shook as many as possible into the box, and let them settle down. The ones in the air slowly started to settle into the box, so after about 10 minutes of waiting around, I closed them up and brought them home just ahead of a severe thunderstorm/tornado warning. They wouldn't have made the night with all of the hail coming down right now.
 

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I've had luck by gently standing a drawn frame in the middle of the ground cluster. Quickly the bees will begin climbing on the frame. Take that frame and place it inside the hive, placing lid back on hive. Then I move the hive front right to the edge, actually touching, the ground cluster. Bees inside the hive will begin to "fan" and you will be amazed at how the whole ground cluster marches right into the hive. Works for me and faster than you would think. Also, no risk of damage from the vacuum.

But....sounds like you got them anyways. Good luck with them!
 

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i like that tactic. if i have another one on the ground, i will try it. i think part of the reason why i didn't have super recruitment into the box was because of 1) lack of space and 2) the entrance was for my bee vac and not a standard bottom board entrance.
 

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i like that tactic. if i have another one on the ground, i will try it. i think part of the reason why i didn't have super recruitment into the box was because of 1) lack of space and 2) the entrance was for my bee vac and not a standard bottom board entrance.
When the swarm is on the ground, it is much easier to locate the queen, usually in a small cluster protected by her retinue. (That the swarm is on the ground means the queen is either injured or cannot fly). Catch her gently, put her in whatever the retrieval box you have, and wait an hour and a half. KISS!
 

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Taking a swarm and putting them in a box that they did not choose can be difficult. Many will leave the first chance they get.

Lock them in with a frame of open brood.

Also as other said, put the box in contact with the swarm and let them walk in. They think it was their idea.
 
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