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Hello,My husband and I were looking into purchasing bees.We had thought about purchasing 2 nucs from a bee farm here in the northern area.Unfortunately everyone seems to be sold out.After reading up on swarms and trapouts,cutouts etc we decided to try and get the honey bees that are on the edge of a field connected to our property.They are in a large cherry tree.They have been there for at least 4 years.I climbed up to look in the tree yesterday,they are still there,3-4 moving around that I could see.I could see the comb,The crack in the tree is about 12 inches long but only 1/2 wide so it was hard to see them.Im not sure what kind they are?They have 4 black stripes.I have several questions,If anyone can provide any info I would greatly appreciate it.#1 Im afraid if I try to get a swarm they will simply ignore my 'homes' and I will never get anything.If I do try to catch a swarm how far should I place my box or should I use a swarm trap that I have seen advertised for sale on bee sites?My husband wants to do a cut out but Im not sure just what we may get into.This is a huge tree,About 6 foot round.The colony entrance we have seen there for years is about 15 feet high.As I was looking yesterday I noticed about 5 feet from the ground another entry hole with little wings and signs of bees.Im not sure if they would have an entry that low or if there may be several colonies in the tree if the tree is hollow in some areas and solid in others? A local fella who had bees in the past said only 1 colony would live in the tree but I have read otherwise.I dont want to cut the tree down and find that there are 3 colonies and be overwhelmed.Also we are in Pa so the weather is only in the 50's,has been for about 4 days.Normals are 40-50 right now.Im not sure when we should do a swarm catch or cutout?One more thing,Id like to buy at least 3 deep boxes,and 3 supers as well as a few other things that will be needed.Anyone know who I should go to to build the complete hive for me(brood boxes,frames,queen excluder,all of it)?I have ordered alot of supplies in the last few days so that we are prepared for the bees.I just need a nice home for them.Any info would be greatly appreciated.
 

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look at walter kellys "swarm trap" seems like what you need. dont drop a 6 ft dia. tree unless you have a LOT of experience. why pay someone to assymble your hives? its so simple you can spread some newspaper (in case of a drip or two of glue) and do it while watching tv. i sugest you join your local club, buy a book or two, use the "search" function at the top of the page here. good luck,mike
 

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Set a swarm trap for those bees, and spend your energy on other opportunities, which will be abundant and far far easier.

To trap a potential swarm, set out a deep super with one frame of drawn out comb and put a few drops of lemon grass oil at the entrance and in the super. Fill the remainder with empty frames or foundation. Drill a 3/4" hole in the side for an entrance and face the entrance South East. Put some sort of light tight cover and bottom on it and place it 1/4 mile from the tree and about 6 feet - 8 feet off the ground. The bees in that tree are surviving without chemical treatments so its good to let them keep going like that. IMHO its better to try and get a swarm or two from them each year and let the genes in the colony continue to add to the gene pool through swarms and drones mating with virgin queens in the area.

Call all of your local fire departments and local exterminators and tell them that you will pick up swarms. You'll get some really easy ones on branches, I guarantee it. The bees in that tree are not your only opportunity, and for sure they are your MOST DIFFICULT opportunity for bees this year.

That's my advice, for what its worth...I've been catching swarms for 3 years now, and I have a bee tree that casts a swarm every single year. They always land on the same branch. This year, I'm placing a swarm trap there to make it even easier....as if its not easy enough to just shake them into a hive and leave it till nightfall.

Good luck. Tap your local resources. It'll be pretty simple.
 

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Thanks for the advice.We are going to leave the tree in place as I do not want to chance harming these genes.They are obviously strong healthy genes to have made it here in cold Pa for the past 4-5 years.I will try to catch a swarm or two this year but will look for a nuc or package to start with this year ;) Thanks again!
 

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tinalee, count your blessings! You ought to be able to catch a swarm from that tree each year...free bees!!! But you'd better get your equipment ordered and assembled asap... swarming time will be here before you know it. And assembling the hive parts is easy enough.
Good luck!
Steven
 
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