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Discussion Starter #1
Watch all these video's of swarm catching and cutouts I get a bit jealous....

The only swarm I've ever seen is my own....We just don't have feral colonies here...or if there are, they are so rare.

Most swarms come from other beekeepers bees...so unless you are setup near someone's apiary, your success will be about nil here in WI...at least in my location. Set out traps last year and only thing I caught was wasps. ...

So to those southern boys that catch swarm after swarm all summer...you don't know how good you got it! :)
 

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I am sure a booming local population helps., but location location location, and weather. I would argue most swarms aren't feral, despite the hopes of the TF types in search of survivor stock.. I spitball mine one in 4 one in 5. Aggressive (chase ya 400'), swarmy, unproductive, runny, mite resistant vs yellow, gentle, unswarmy, productive, mite candy
2016 I got 3 swarm calls (and a few I couldn't take) with in 2 miles of my house, the local club am now with has storys about ruining out of members to take in swarms, people were out of wood ware
2017 I got 1 swarm call and started traping for the 1st time caught 2 swarms at the trap at my house and 4 at the trap 300 yards from the swarm call, witch is 1/2 mile from the house, middle of the burbs When I set the trap the 1st time there were scouts checking it out before I even got it out of the truck!
2018... nada. I joined the state list as well, got one call , called the land owner and they were gone, nothing in the traps

try again, it will likely come, it's fishing... and the word skunked exesicts for a reason
 

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..We just don't have feral colonies here...or if there are, they are so rare.
Am not sure what is your plan but, I would rather purchase/exchange few ~"feral" queens right on this board and start your own "feral" population building.
That is one way to do it - more predictable and quick.
This is what I am doing in theory.
My life is too short to be looking for some "feral" bees around my burb.

Speaking of the swarm (like I said) there seems an influx of "russian" packages this year.
While these are likely just some "russian" labeled mutts - these could be a pretty good starting point to build from.
Personally, I am excited to chase the swarms this season.
Will try to salvage some mean queens too - pretty darn sure there will be complains (lots of people do not know what they are really getting into - outside of getting "mite-hardy Russian bees" as they think).

So, in general, the situation with chasing the commercial bees looks rather promising to me (at least in 2019 season).
 

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My life is to short to be looking for "feral" bees around my burb.
you might be suprized, it seems man made cavity's bumps the numbers
0.5 feral colonies per km squared in rural forested area Vischer and Seeley 1982
2.3 feral colonies in urban area buildings Morse et al 1990
bolth studys done in up state NY.
Weather the gene pool has been polluted to the point it just mostly sunbelt lines living for the summer is another story, but the habitat is there.

Good luck with the russian hunt, the local shop brought in 150 or so nucs last year, and a fair bit of them swarmed very quiclky, could be a good year for ya
 

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you might be suprized, it seems man made cavity's bumps the numbers
0.5 feral colonies per km squared in rural forested area Vischer and Seeley 1982
2.3 feral colonies in urban area buildings Morse et al 1990
bolth studys done in up state NY.
Weather the gene pool has been polluted to the point it just mostly sunbelt lines living for the summer is another story, but the habitat is there.

Good luck with the russian hunt, the local shop brought in 150 or so nucs last year, and a fair bit of them swarmed very quiclky, could be a good year for ya
Yeah, I have seen those "high feral numbers" posted by Seeley, Morse, etc.

Well, too bad, my burb is way too new to support so many "feral" bees.
Houses are too good, the holes are too few, and they smell like plastic too - simply put.
Without the context those # are meaning-less and send wrong message.
No - we don't have many ferals in my burb - I don't care what Seeley says from his New England setting.

(Added: I am on a local list for swarms/cut-outs - people routinely call to remove "bees" - the local beeks rush only find wasps/yellow jackets/bumble-bees/you name it..... - actual bees are a rare find here and even those are typically escapees)

But yes - excited to be chasing them the "russians" (and salvaging them too) this year.
People here are so brainwashed in the idea of a gentle, golden bee that anyone can keep in the back porch - some of these will be screaming bloody soon (the neighbors too).
I think so, anyway. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Farmer who allows me to put hives on his property is also a logger. Owned/lived on his farm his entire life....farm is half hardwood, half ag land...said in all that time, he's never seen a honey bee colony..not even a swarm.
Stopped by this past weekend and he said after all these years of logging, he finally ran into a honey bee nest this winter....the old remnants of one in an Ash tree...no bees in it though he said....just old comb ...... pretty rare here in Central WI to find feral hives....and as an avid hunter that spends two months/year in the woods in Northern WI, I've never seen a honey bee colony there, either.
Seeley's reasearch is good for the 4200 acre forest owned by Cornell, but it doesn't represent other locations for certain.
 

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Farmer who allows me to put hives on his property is also a logger. Owned/lived on his farm his entire life....farm is half hardwood, half ag land...said in all that time, he's never seen a honey bee colony..not even a swarm.
Stopped by this past weekend and he said after all these years of logging, he finally ran into a honey bee nest this winter....the old remnants of one in an Ash tree...no bees in it though he said....just old comb ...... pretty rare here in Central WI to find feral hives....and as an avid hunter that spends two months/year in the woods in Northern WI, I've never seen a honey bee colony there, either.
Seeley's reasearch is good for the 4200 acre forest owned by Cornell, but it doesn't represent other locations for certain.
Kevin, I was gonna say about your hunting experience, however.
I am sure you spend enough time in the woods (probably looking for deer in November and turkey in April).
But there is not much for a hunter to look for in woods during hot and dry August dearth.

In all fairness, you should try the methods of T. Seeley to make conclusions.
While I am critical of many of his "findings" (just because he clearly is unaware of many research/writings from non-English Euro sources),
I do give him lots of credit of his bee hunting/bee lining techniques.
These techniques also applicable in certain times of the year as well.
If you kinda look for bees while deer hunting - that does not count.

So, I just don't think you are hunting for the bees specifically and correctly (and hence the results).
I challenge you to do this in 2019 - do the bee hunting.
I'd be curious of the findings.
Maybe something will turn up, maybe not.

I am not really leaning either way.
But the data should be established at least somewhat correctly.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Kevin, I think Greg has just given you a topic for a new video. It would be interesting to see you learn how to beeline and find one of those highly elusive feral hives. It all can start with an open feeding station set up far enough away from your bees that you won't end up beelining back to your own hives.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Kevin, I think Greg has just given you a topic for a new video. It would be interesting to see you learn how to beeline and find one of those highly elusive feral hives. It all can start with an open feeding station set up far enough away from your bees that you won't end up beelining back to your own hives.
Difference b/t me and Tom Seeley being that he draws a living salary to sit in a field and study bees all day...lol :)
 

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Difference b/t me and Tom Seeley being that he draws a living salary to sit in a field and study bees all day...lol :)
Well, but you do have time to spend two months annually - hunting.
No?

You sit in a deer hide or sit by a bee feeding station.
It is the same.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Hence the reason I suggested you do it. I do not have a day or two to uh, "devote" to such a noble endeavor. I am also not claiming there are no feral hives around me. Still, if you find youself with nothing to do some nice pretty Saturday, consider it. I love living vicariously.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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True, you need to think of it more like fishing. So, get a cooler full of ice cold beer...
 

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umm....spending my evenings after work in a deer stand, walking trails after work for grouse is a far cry from sitting in a field all day beelining bees.
Well, then the claim of no feral bees in your area does not stand (it can not be based on your deer/grouse hunting).
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Hmm, that sounds like a triple dog dare ya. Kevin, are you up for the challange? It might even be fun and rewarding. The prize is free bees and a bunch of Youtube likes.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
First of all, I don't really give a good god **** what you want to believe. I'm discussing my own experiences living in Northern Wisconsin ...well most of my life. If you think that I do not pay attention to my surroundings from every butterfly to every wasp or blue jay and squirrel while I'm out in the woods, you don't know the first thing about me.
If you think I don't enjoy a network of friends from hunters, trappers to loggers and farmers that I tap with questions on my hobby as to what they've seen in their outdoor experience, you again don't know the first thing about me.
 
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