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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, all,

I got my first swarm today!
The good thing is I caught it in an old bee hive, so no need to transfer to a different hive.

The bad news is I'm going to have to move it.

I was wondering what people's experience was with the timing of that? I heard that some people would wait a week or so so that the bees establish comb and brood?

Thanks,
Thomas
 

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I move every swarm I’ve caught the evening of the catch. If you can leave them, a week will definitely anchor them. If I’m moving an established colony within a couple miles of the yard, I pile straw or fir boughs in front of entrance to force them to reorient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Mark!

Could I ask you for clarification about what you meant by "anchor them"? Is that a good thing?
I like the tip about the straw!

I move every swarm I’ve caught the evening of the catch. If you can leave them, a week will definitely anchor them. If I’m moving an established colony within a couple miles of the yard, I pile straw or fir boughs in front of entrance to force them to reorient.
 

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Anchor just means that they will stay in the hive you put them in. Swarms are transient and a newly hived swarm has no allegiance to the hive you put it in since there is no comb, or honey, or brood so they can easily abscond if disturbed. If you can get them to stay (some people plug them up in the hive for a few days with food and pollen patties) then you can move them around/inspect/etc. and they will not abscond. You can tell that they have accepted a new location if the bees start bringing in pollen. Always feed a new swarm too! They are hungry!
 

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I move them at night
go 30 past dark duck tap window screen over the entrance, ratchet strap the unit together so in the car you do not have surprises.
sooner the better often the night after i find out.
I like to reset that spot for the after swarm.

also depends on how far, if less that 3 miles you do need the reorient part. if more than 45 min the some cooling considerations.
I made a cover from window screen, so i go then 30 min before dark , very light smoke, shake the lid , recover with screen ratchet let then sit for 45 min then close them and move them.

congrats on the catch

GG
 

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I was wondering what people's experience was with the timing of that? I heard that some people would wait a week or so so that the bees establish comb and brood?
I like to wait a week or so to reduce the likelihood of absconding and to allow a virgin queen to mate in the original location, but the difference is minimal. I no longer use obstacles to promote reorientation regardless of how far I move the trap.
 

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Interesting, can you elaborate?
I have moved a lot of colonies various distances with and without obstacles. I have not had problems not using an obstacle, and I have not noticed any difference between when I use them and when I don’t. I am not aware of any studies showing a difference. If there were a study, I’d pay attention. The main thing that I have noticed is that on short moves leaving a catch box or equipment in the old location the first few days causes problems regardless of whether an obstacle is used. When the obstacle is used and then removed it causes the bees to get confused a second time needlessly. Less is more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi, David,

I was wondering if you could elaborate about the problems with the catch box in the original position?

As to obstacles or not, yeah, I guess based on moving three hives the past couple of months, it doesn't seem to make a big difference for a short move? I piled brush in front of the last hived swarm I moved, no way they could have got out without noticing. Nonetheless, several hundred stragglers still hanging out at the original trap spot.
I have moved a lot of colonies various distances with and without obstacles. I have not had problems not using an obstacle, and I have not noticed any difference between when I use them and when I don’t. I am not aware of any studies showing a difference. If there were a study, I’d pay attention. The main thing that I have noticed is that on short moves leaving a catch box or equipment in the old location the first few days causes problems regardless of whether an obstacle is used. When the obstacle is used and then removed it causes the bees to get confused a second time needlessly. Less is more.
 

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I recently went through this, here are my anecdotal thoughts:
Caught my first swarm in a deep-and-a-half nuc box that I had placed in an old hunting stand.
I left them there for 4 days, then at night I climbed up, closed the box, and moved them the ~200 yards to their new location. I left them in the trap - next to their future hive box, opened the door on the trap, and put a pallet in front to help reorient.
The next day the bees at the new location looked to be reorienting. I went back to the hunting stand to find a ball of bees forming in the location where the trap had been. By the end of the day the clump was about the size of a football. Some of the bees apparently failed to reorient, or decided they liked the original site better than the new one. I left the ball of bees alone that night.
The next day I decided to try to gather the loose ball of bees. I grabbed another swarm trap w/ 1 frame of drawn comb and 4 empty frames, climbed the ladder to the stand, and set it on top, next to the football sized clump of bees. By dark of that evening the ball was gone and all bees were in the newly placed trap. I closed the trap that night and carried it the 200 yards to the new location.
Now at the new location I have two swarm traps, both behind pallets intended for reorientation. I opened the second swarm trap.
The same size clump of bees formed at the stand the next day.
I climbed it again, this time during daylight with a 5 gallon bucket. I knocked and scooped most of the clump into the bucket and climbed down. I set a lid on the bucket covering 90% of the opening. I was thinking on the off chance that there was a queen in this clump, and if I got her in the bucket the rest of the clump would follow. I watched as the bees slowly left the bucket one by one, and reformed on the stand.
ANd thats where things stand today.
I unpacked the two swarm traps into their new 10 frame home, I didnt see any eggs at that time, and i DID see a dozen or so queen cells on a frame, so now I have some concerns about queenlessness. There were a lot of bees in the traps, and im estimating that the the football sized clump is about 1/5th the amount of bees that stayed wit the traps.

In summary, it seemed like the short move and reorientation worked for ~80% of the bees I caught, and the remaining 20% seem permanently imprinted on the original location and were unable/unwilling to reorient, after multiple attempts to retrieve them.
 

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This last example is why you want to move a trapped swarm ASAP.

Basic idea is - you want them moved BEFORE they start foraging.
Say, the rain kept them from foraging for 2-3 days - you can still move them fine without discrimination after 2-3 days (because there was no foraging done yet).
Once they start foraging, they are now reprogrammed to return to the spot after the long distance flights and that creates your problems.

Ideally the first night they have been captured - you want them moved to the permanent place.
If one moves them the very first night - % of the bees returned to the trap location is small (< 5%).

However, this is not often possible (who is checking their traps daily?)
So what next?

So now if the ASAP move is NOT possible and the fresh swarm started foraging - the next option is to move them FAR away (even if temporarily).
2-3 miles or more is sufficient.
5 miles or more is ideal.

To avoid the hassle with the long distance moves I prefer to set the traps exactly where I would want the permanent hive to stand (or within few feet from the permanent location in any direction). That solves the hassles for me.
 

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I happened to have a less than ideal case myself immediately now.

Caught a swarm on my back-porch yesterday - great.
T-Storm last night prevented me from moving the trap to a farm few miles away (the permanent spot for these bees).
Tonight I can not move them either (too busy).
First opportunity to move is tomorrow night.
Meanwhile I already observe some bees are coming in with pollen - they seem to be settling and started foraging.
In two days they will have the current location firmly imprinted.
What am I to do?

OK, I moved the trap from the porch down onto the ground (vertical move of few feet; the arrows on the picture show before/after).
Some bees are still flying around the porch looking for the removed hive there - a non-issue.
These bees will find the hive down below in short enough time.
I also dropped my jacket over the hive so prompt them to be reorienting to the "fallen down hive".

Per the plan, I will move these bees in 2 days.
By then they will have oriented to the current location pretty solidly - not great.
I am sure after I move them few miles - some bees will still find a way back here.

Well, the lost bees will join a weak colony sitting just a couple of feet away from their current location.
I intentionally set the swarm trap temporarily so that any bees still returning to the trap spot (after the move) will join a next-door colony (arrow points to a big brown hive).
20200603_112729.jpg
These kinds of improvisations you can do when moving your bees.
 

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Jroot,

I read the enlightning Thoughts.
Hopeing to help you with one onf them.
the data point "I left them there for 4 days," And the Vector "200 yards to the new location" are incompatible.
Bees orient rather fast , I would think 4 days unless raining would be enough.

So then you are at the 3 feet or 3 Miles, lore....

that is one snag with traping. just need a resting place 4 miles or so away, take then there for a week or 2

GG
 

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My guess is that many of the the bees returning to the original location are the scout bees. These have been investigating, and orienting to the trap for several days.

What I did with last weeks swarm is box it in a 10 frame deep, 8 comb and a couple of foundation, at site of catch, shimmed it up so the entrance was at the approximate position of the trap and left it for a day. (just to make it easy for them, quite a few reoriented to the new box because it looked different.) Next day after dark I taped the entrance , ratchet strapped the hive together and moved it about 6-7 miles as the crow flies. They will stay at my friends house for a week or 2, after which I will reverse directions and relocate them back to my house and put them with the other hives. By then any memory of the catch position will be erased from their brains. The swarm was caught in my barn 75 feet from my other hives.

Any swarms caught within 3 or so miles from where you intend to keep them will not all reorient the way you want. So artificially making them "swarm' to a new location 5 plus miles to be safe, will cause them to reorient to the new spot.
 

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My guess is that the bees returning to the trap location are in part the scout bees. They have been investigating and orienting there for several days.

I caught a swarm in my barn last week because I had a lot of bee smelling frames exposed and an old swarm trap under a table. This 75 ft. from my other hives. The swarm flew in from a different direction, so are most likely not from my hives. Doing a little investigating did reveal that there had been some BK North of my house in the past about 1-1/2 miles. (Thanks Grey Goose for the idea) so if the equipment is in someones barn unattended..........

When I saw the orienting and investigating bees going in the trap I moved it up on the table and let them make up their mind. So it was easy to swap out the trap with a 10 frame deep moving the 4 trap frames of comb in and adding 4 more plus a couple of foundation frames. Left them for a day to reorient to the different looking now hive. After dark, ratchet strapped the hive, taped the entrance and moved them 6-7 miles to a new location. Sort of an artificial swarm move. After a week or 2 they will be moved back home and positioned with the other hives.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Sorry for the double post.....
I think a public flogging is in order. :D

Not really a double post, similar information presented in two different narratives.
 
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