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I keep reading about beekeepers removing swarms. How would I go about learning to do this if my bees were to swarm and I was fortunate enough to find their location? I'm not interested in removing anyone else's swarms but it would be nice to remove my own (if needed) if it were to end up in my neighbors yard :eek:
 

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Well there are numerous methods to remove a swarm. It kind of depends on where the swarm ends up. If they end up in a small tree or shrub you can usually clip the branch they are hanging on and shake them into a box or hive body. If they end up on a wall you can brush them into a box with a broom or something similar. Sometimes when they get into a small shrub I find it easier to suck them up with a bee vac because they get interwined between so many little branches.
 

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I dealt with my first swarm this a few days ago. After freaking out for a good 10 minutes, I grabbed a minnow bucket, because I had no other container available, put on my veiled jacket, grabbed my bee brush and brushed them into the bucket making sure I got all I could. Doing this more or less ensures you have the queen. Once I set the bucket in the shade and saw bees clinging to the top of the bucket I knew I had the queen.

I didn't have an extra hive ready to go, so I had to use what I could. I slapped together a bottom board, set a super on it, put in some frames and shook the bees into the hive. I pulled an inner cover from another hive and covered the hole with a bee escape. On my next free day, I plan on making nucs, so I won't get caught with my pants down again!

So, the major thing is to have a nuc, or several, ready to receive a swarm. You can use any container to put the bees in to get them to their new home.
Hive them and add feed like you would a package.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I will order extras of everything then just to be on the safe side. Once you put them into a new hive are they pretty much settled and happy or is it 50/50? And when you retrieve your swarm, do you know you have the queen only by visual inspection or do you assume she's in the cluster? I'll have to read up more on nuc's as I'm not entirely sure how they work :(
 

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Hook up with a bee club member who collects swarms. Go on several swarm calls with him/her. You will find that no two calls are the same. You need to dynamically generate a plan of attack once you arrive on scene. So be flexible, innovative and safe.
 

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I posted this elsewhere on the forum, but last night, I was websurfing & found Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs streaming on the History Channel. The second segment was him helping a beekeeper cut a hive out of a building. This was live streaming, but I'll bet it's around on the web somewhere.
 

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Part of the problem with removing "swarms" is what people mean by swarms. I've gotten calls where they say there is a swarm in a tree and it turns out to be a hive well established inside the tree. To me this is a colony in a tree. A swarm in a tree should be hanging from the limb in a cluster... so it pays to ask a lot of questions. Most of the "colonies" I get calls about are yellow jackets. Very few of them are bees.

So first learn what questions to ask. How high is it? How big is the cluster of bees? Are they fuzzy and brown? or shiney and yellow and black? Did you spray them? etc.

My prefered method at this point is to take the equivelant of a ten frame deep (in my case two eight frame mediums) with some old dark comb and some foundationless frames and some lure (I like lemongrass essential oil and queen juice, I dip one end of a q-tip in the lemongrass oil and the other in the queen juice and drop it in the hive). I set up the hive (bottom top and box) a few feet from the cluster and wait for them to find it. Usually some scouts find it in a matter of minutes becaue of the lure. Soon there are many scouts checking it out. In an hour or so they usually move in. After dark, I duct tape the entrance and any other way in and out and load it up and take it home. If it's a short drive I may set this up, go back to work and go back after work and get it.
 
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