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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tonight I got a call about a swarm in a tree. I gladly accepted the challenge and packed all my equipment to capture a swarm...swarm was on a branch about ten feet up and it seemed to be a piece of cake until it wasn’t...I got stung a dozen or more times and feel like I only got half the swarm in the box before the sun went down and before I finally gave up on being stung. My question is why
We’re they so aggressive? I’ve never encountered a swarm this aggressive before. I did spray one squirt of swarm commander into the bucket in a pole I had set up. Any insight would be great while I nurse my hands back to health. Thanks in advance.
 

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They could have been what's referred to as a "Dry Swarm".

If course bees gorge themselves on honey before leaving the colony to swarm but if they don't find a home within a couple days they can quickly burn through those stores. This causes them to get incredibly defensive.

They may be very nice bees and worth fully suiting up to catch. Sounds like they could use a good home.
 

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I really only get stung on swarm catches when it is getting dark - not a dozen times, but the bees seem off when it gets late. That may have something to do with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I hope the queen and the rest of the bees made it to the box.. owner of the house is gonna text/call to see if the bees are still around at noon. Got my fingers crossed!
 

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I've been stung when corralling a swarm a time or two. Mostly when i tried to hand move them into a box, but sometimes methinks it has to do with the time of day, as Cobbler said. If you go back out today at noon and they are ready to go live somewhere, let us know.
 

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I caught a soccer ball sized swarm this spring that was defensive like this. They had been hanging around in the bush for a couple of days before I was called on them.

I managed to get 90% of the bees in my box and took them home. Installed them in a long langstroth running deep langstroth frames. They were still highly aggressive the first few days until they finally found the 2 feeders I put out. Once they found the feeders, the aggressive behavior began to settle and now they are not a problem to work. The first week, they'd chase you if you got within 5 feet of the hive.

Feed them with everything they will take. They need the sugar to form comb and feed on. Once they are taking the feed, watch and see if they calm - if not, requeen
 

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Any insight would be great while I nurse my hands back to health.
A very generic thing to do when getting a swarm of a branch - liberally spray them with water.
Get them wet.
Get them dripping wet.
Get them soaked wet.
Spray the heck out of them - the bees will be just fine.
Do this every time when you can reach a free hanging swarm with a sprayer (which you could).
Here is a picture of a dripping wet swarm - perfect.

First of all, this keeps them down and makes them sit tight.
Makes it a piece of cake to drop into your container.
In addition, they get a drink - never a bad thing.
Maybe even add a dash of sugar in the spray bottle - because why not.
A natural side-affect - they are less defensive even IF they are defensive by nature.

I don't know why people don't do this seemingly obvious thing, hence repeating myself - you asked. :)
 

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