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Hey yall:

Just routine checking my girls after church, and immediately saw a small swarm in the air circling above me. I first thought it was just all scout bees, and then I saw lots of drones in the air. Since I'm still a rookie in all this, I try hard to research, do school of hard knocks, and hands on.

When I saw that many bees with drones, I knew a queen must be in the air, or why would they all be circling ?

I raced to my ATV with my trailer on it, brought a tall step ladder, and placed one of my just assembled 5 frame nucs on it. I made it smell good with fresh lemon grass oil, and also sprayed some sugar syrup around.

Catching my breath, I kept looking and watching. In one of my holly trees about 12 feet up, I see about a pint full of bees in a wad in my holly. This ain't gonna be easy because they have circled the truck of the tree, and I have no way to get them down, unless my coaxing and nuc with the good scents bring them down. It is now about 6:30 P.M. I saw all of this about 45 minutes ago. It doesn't get dark till about 8:45 P.M. now, and this heat is really steamy here.

Unless yall got better ideas, I think I'm gonna hang tough and see what happens in the morning. Right now, my plans are to leave them alone, it is a really small swarm if you can call it that. (I do, because why would they leave their hive and perch in a holly tree?). Just two days ago, I checked all hives, things looked good, and installed in each hive a screened top cover to help them get cooler.

Done wrote a book, hey, holler back, I am a good listener. I know about advice, my dad said a wise man don't need it, and a fool won't heed it. I just need some thoughts on this, figure most of you have about seen it all.

Best,

casper_zip
 

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Casper I dont have any experience with overnighting a swarm but I did catch one of mine before. I myself would go ahead,and knock them into the box. I have no idea or thoughts on if they will still be there in the morning. Let us know how it goes Peace Dave
 

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Hey there:

To get back on my update on my tiny "swarm", it's still about another 30 min or so till dark. I just checked, and it's only about a small cupful still in the holly tree. My nuc that is setting on the folding ladder close by, has plenty of "guests" checking it out. They are probably scoffing up on the sugar syrup and smelling the sweet scent of lemongrass. I did see some going in, but I really don't look to have a box full even by tomorrow.

I'll just leave it there tomorrow and probably "rebait" it.

Best,

Busy as a bee, casper_zip
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update today: July 12, 2010 @2:04P.M.

Got most of the bees into my new nuc box with my homemade 5 gallon water jug on my long pole. I knocked all possible into the jug, dumped them into the ready hive, and then I went and got a long extendable ladder. I placed it so I could get "face to face" with them, and used one of my big fiber "flower" pot bee swarm traps, and placed it about 3-4 inches from them, with them facing the entrance.

I spiced it up sweet smelling with lemon grass oil, and sprayed it good with sugar syrup. It that don't make them come home, well, it's sure not my fault, cause I'm soaking wet with sweat and cooling off now. These will be special bees if they make it, because I've put a huge amount of effort, time and sweat into them.

My brother, a local bee geru told me this is pretty normal for this time of year. He said July swarms are usually very small, and not much can be done. I'm just stubborn and love my bees and I don't care if it is a tiny swarm, I want to make them a good home, and get them started off good.

Brother said it's unlikely they will make it, too few workers, unless they have a great queen, then they might. They stayed in the tree last nite, so maybe I'll know something by tomorrow.

Best,

casper_zip
 

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Are any of your other hives strong enough to steal a frame of brood from? That will help greatly with absconding. I had a really weak & queenless hive I aquired back in Feb, prob half as many bees as you have now. They took constant monitoring, but adding a frame of brood helped them rear a new queen and recover.

C2
 

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I just picked up a swarm call yesterday too. It's tough to pass up free bees. ;)

Just plan on a lot of feeding. And adding a frame or two of brood from another colony, as suggested, will help tremendously. At the very least, use them to draw out comb for you this summer, and if they are still too weak in the fall just combine with another colony that needs some help. But don't be surprised ... with a little TLC, they just might make it OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Update: Tueday Noon

Well, I went up my ladder to the top of the holly tree, and I got my bees and the queen into my fiber "trap". I used my bare hands to gently push and slide some of them hanging on the trunk of the tree. Got a small sting on one finger, guess I must have accidently got too rough with one of my girls.

Next move is to take down the swarm trap, dump into a hive, and rob another hive and get some help for them. It's really clouding up down here, and it's not good to work bees in really cloudy weather, so I hear, and for now, I'm going to let them relax a little and calm down.

Thanks for all the info/help and encouragement. I am so glad the God blessed me with my bees, and now, this is one of the most exciting things I've ever done. Seems like I just live bees, even dream of them. I tell my brother ever time I see him or talk to him, thank you, thank you for giving me some bees.

Thanks for listening, and if I get to boring you fine folks with all my rantings and ravings, tell me, and I'll quit.

Best,

casper_zip
 
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