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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to get the word out around my area that I would like to try to catch some swarms this Spring, maybe do a removal if that presents itself. How do those of you who catch swarms do that? Any other advice on swarm capture? I am looking to expand my beeyards, I've ordered all the Nucs I can afford, I'm planning my splits, I've got empty hives, frames and foundation ready to go...just need the bees.
 

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Catching swarms is really one of my favorite parts of beekeeping. I love getting swarm calls.

Here is how I do it. There will be many other opinions. I use the standard 10 frame setup. I have some queen excluders that I sheared up to use as includers. I cut the bees off the limb do a simi-hard shake into the box. Close them up. Watch them fan at the entrance and march on in. It's best to do at dusk if you can.

On the excluders. I have them cut to fit the inside width of my bottom board and about 2 1/2" tall. This keeps the queen inside and forces them to stay. I leave this on for the first two weeks or until she is laying. Some add a frame of brood to. I haven't yet. It helps to add a frame of brood and some 1:1 to coax them into staying if you don't use the includer method.

My best swarm catch yet story is:

I get a call from a friend last July 2nd or 3rd. His neighbor has a swarm in a tree and needs them gone because he is having a party the 4th. So I call the guy up and say I will be there at 2ish. As I was getting them he showed up. I got done shortly after that. He said do you drink beer? I said yeah. So he handed me one. We sat in his shop drank beer and solved all the world problems. Next thing you know its 9ish and I have to call the wife to come pick me up. Picked up my truck and the bees the next day. Good times! :D
 

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Hey, I am doing some classes for Newton County using my OB hive that I just built. I will also be making up some flyers for the kids to take home with my name and number, and some fact about bees and beekeeping. We need to get together and talk a bit. I can add your name to the "northern" covington area bee removal list that i am going to make up and I have considered trying to get together a club that is away from Atlanta. This will help raise awareness to the community, but also we can teach the kids. Should be fun. PM me.
 

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I know a guy locally that posted an ad on craigslist and stayed pretty busy last season. I thought I might give it a try this year to see if I can do it.
 

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Try calling Animal Control for your county and leaving your name with them. We did that last time we were in this business and had numerous swarm calls. Only problem is our county is 75 miles long N-S and we got some calls that ended up being wasps and yellowjackets.
 

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Swarm calls are very exciting. You never know when they'll come and what challenges they may involve. Be prepaired when the season aproaches with your supplies handy, extra nucs, and frames. I personally drop a frame of brood in there and that locks them up tight. The only captured swarm I've lost was the one I didn't have time to drop a frame of brood in on. It was a lesson I will not repeat when you consider the time and effort in capturing some of the more challenging swarms. I do drop syrup on them ASAP as well.

Word of mouth, time for the word to spread, connections with pest companies and animal control, business cards, and posting the bee removal pages on here and elsewhere are some of the best ways to let people know about your services. I always ask for an E-mailed picture of the insects in question before driving out to avoid wasps, hornets, and anything else people generically call "bees". It saves gobs of time and money.

Lovin' the Chuck Norris references Hambone.
 

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My county 911 dispatchers won't do anything about bee swarms. The largest local town 911 dispatchers do have a swarm list. One of the dispatchers actually approached me to ask if I would gather swarms after finding out I was keeping bees. The other beekeepers on their list are elderly and don't want to pick up bees anymore. She told me a local steakhouse had customers using a side door for two days until a swarm in a bush by the front door finally flew away.

So talk to your local 911 dispatchers.

Hang a notice in your local post office on the bulletin board, or on the bulletin board of your local mom and pop grocery store.

Letting folks at your church, clubs, etc know you gather swarms is another good way of getting the word out.
 

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Countryboy is right on, I called all the law enforcement and fire agencies in the county most did not even have an updated list. They will be more than happy to take your name and number.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the great Ideas! I am on it! Would love to hear more. I have some traps and lure and would love to hear someones experience with using these. I know of a couple of feral colonies that I could try to catch any swarms they might throw. One of them I might try to capture the actually colony, I found them in late fall and let them overwinter on their own instead of trying to hive them so close to winter. I have property owners premission to catch, but not to cut tree down they are in. Another is in a 2nd story, difficult to access part of a vacant building with iffy prospects of gaining premission to remove. Whaddya think? Good places to place traps nearby?
 

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With the traps. I use 2-3 frames of the darkest comb I have. I did trap one last year using pretty fresh comb though. I use lemmon grass oil as my lure. 1-2 drops each on the landing, on top of a frame, on the comb, and on the bottom board. Total of about 7-8 drops. Re apply every 3-4 weeks. Though I haven't had to reapply, had already caught a swarm.

If it were me I would leave them in the tree and catch the 1-2 swarms it throws off every year. Put you're traps about 200 yards or so from it.

You can also do a username search for odfrank. I refer to him as the swarm trap master.
 

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Awesome! That's great to hear of that working! I am guessing from your post that you are using a hive body or something similiar for the trap, not the flower pot looking thing made of paper fiber?
 

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I got several calls last year from advertising onCraig's list.I also left my name&ph number with the Police.Fire Dept,Sherrif Dept of several towns close to here but when I tried to with one place the lady at the window informed that she was a beekeeper herself so I lost that one before I got started Also the county Ag agent has my number/Business cards at laundry mats.grocery stores If you get one swarm it will pay for the printing of business cards
 

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I only uses mediums. So my traps are a standard 10 frame set-up, with a migratory top and bottom board. I use a couple frames of dark comb and the rest with foundation, or foundationless, or whatever. There are many that use the cardboard nuc box for traps with great success. With the same setup. I did catch a swarm in a wooden nuc I made last year. I have never used the flower pot deal. I will only use stuff that I can use later on or in the hive. Less clutter and product to keep around.
 

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All good ideas. The only thing I would add was mentioned earlier and that would be verification that the bees are in fact honeybees. The emailed picture is a good idea. You would want to know how accessible they are. In a tree? How high. Most non beeks would refer to an established hive in a house wall or hollow tree as a swarm. You probably don't want to attempt a hollow tree or structure removal. What size swarm? Softball, football, or basketball size are terms understandable by most people. You probably don't want to drive 20 miles for a secondary softball size swarm late in the season with too little time left for them to build up. Swarms vary in ease to catch with the easiest head high or lower clinging to a bush. You need to decide how much risk you're willing to take on the higher swarms. Stepladder height isn't too bad but extension ladder high can be a problem. Resist the temptation to risk bodily harm to catch a swarm. Finally, remember that early season swarms are more valuable than late season swarms.
 

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Awesome! That's great to hear of that working! I am guessing from your post that you are using a hive body or something similiar for the trap, not the flower pot looking thing made of paper fiber?
I make 5 deep frame nucs out of scrap plywood. I do have a 10 frame swarm catcher that I made last year. I had no luck with it as a trap but I used it for a hive trap out I did out of a house. It's now got a few months worth of bur comb bits and propolis so I might have some luck getting a huge swarm this year. Time will tell. I too use a frame or two of the oldest darkest comb I have and lemon oil as a draw.
 

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you are using a hive body or something similiar for the trap, not the flower pot looking thing made of paper fiber?
we are using 5 frame nuc boxes, I purchased 4 of those paper fiber swarm trap and within 1 month 3 fell out of the trees when they got wet. Waste of money!!! Hive body, or nuc box work best for me. I see plenty of swarms move into bird houses and duck houses so pretty much any "box" will work. I don't use frames in my nuc swarm boxes (we do use the swarm lures), we put 4 comb guides on the lid rubbed with bees wax. Bees move in, we dump them in another box and reset the swarm trap right there and then. My dad caught 8 swarms in his back yard oak tree this way last year over a 4 week period.
 
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