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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My swarm trap is 30' from my apiary, so my normal course of action is to catch a swarm in a standard deep, let them bee for a week, and then move them at night to my apiary.

Since it's so close I'm using the oft-recommended method of hanging a leafy branch right over the entrance to force reorientation.

But has this method ever actually been scientifically tested, with proper controls, etc., to demonstrate that it works?

Here's my moved hive with the leafy branches:

https://www.youtube.com/user/IAmTheWaterbug/live

and here's the trap site, with a few hundred stragglers:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIVY11504PcY2sy2qpRhiMg/live

(I put a piece of comb in a cardboard box for them, in an attempt to collect most of them when it gets cold/dark tonight, and then I'll put that up by the moved hive, and repeat daily).
 

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When you use the branch, they will reorient. Then when the forage they will still fly back to the old location. Most will then remember where they reoriented this morning and fly back to the new location. Until they die, the foragers will continue to the old location, turn and fly to the new location. A few never get it and aren't paying attention and will hang out at the old location for a while. But they will eventually spiral out until they find a hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When you use the branch, they will reorient. Then when the forage they will still fly back to the old location. Most will then remember where they reoriented this morning and fly back to the new location. Until they die, the foragers will continue to the old location, turn and fly to the new location. A few never get it and aren't paying attention and will hang out at the old location for a while. But they will eventually spiral out until they find a hive.
Ah, thanks! So should I get rid of that cardboard box and comb, to force them to realize that it's no longer home?

I do this every year, and every evening for the next 4-5 nights after moving the hive there's a little ball of shivering, homeless bees at the trap site that makes me sad. :(
 

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Waterbug, you are doing it the correct way and the way MB suggests on his site. If you have been doing this for a few years you know that each night there are fewer "dumb" bees at the old site. If there are still stragglers after 5 nights...oh well.
I thought perhaps you would run an experiment with and without branches. That would be interesting. J
 

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Neat idea -- the comb thing. I always feel bad for the disoriented bees who keep going back to where "home" (the bait hive) was situated. I can imagine coming back to my place someday and finding ... nothing. Or another house. Or ... my house, maybe a block away. "Twilight Zone" stuff ...

Mitch
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Neat idea -- the comb thing. I always feel bad for the disoriented bees who keep going back to where "home" (the bait hive) was situated. I can imagine coming back to my place someday and finding ... nothing. Or another house. Or ... my house, maybe a block away. "Twilight Zone" stuff ...
But I'm wondering whether it's making things, by giving them false hope.

If I removed it, would they be more likely to spiral out and find the moved hive?

Or should I keep there, and move it right up to the entrance of the moved hive tonight?
 

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Yes, don't put the "leave behind box" there until dusk/when other hives are tucked in for the night. If you watch during the day, you will see them go to the old location and eventually spiral up in bigger and bigger circles. Sorry, thought that's how you were doing it. After dark, take the box and put it face to face with the new hive with a bridge between them. When they smell their new home, they will walk in. J
 

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My swarm trap is 30' from my apiary, so my normal course of action is to catch a swarm in a standard deep, let them bee for a week, and then move them at night to my apiary.

Since it's so close I'm using the oft-recommended method of hanging a leafy branch right over the entrance to force reorientation.

But has this method ever actually been scientifically tested, with proper controls, etc., to demonstrate that it works?

Here's my moved hive with the leafy branches:

https://www.youtube.com/user/IAmTheWaterbug/live

and here's the trap site, with a few hundred stragglers:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIVY11504PcY2sy2qpRhiMg/live

(I put a piece of comb in a cardboard box for them, in an attempt to collect most of them when it gets cold/dark tonight, and then I'll put that up by the moved hive, and repeat daily).
Expect to lose 50% or more of the foraging bees...the 40% that you don't lose are the younger foragers that have yet to solidify location.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thought question: does _removing_ the branch after a few days also trigger a new round of reorientation? Because it's another change!
 
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