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Ok,it looks like I will have to help build a few swarm boxes.Does anyone have any good ideas on how to make them as cheap as possible, and simple so that I can get the kids to help build them?What do most Bee Keepers use just in case a swarm does get away when you are not there? I am sort of isolated here,the nearest bee group to me is about 350km away too far for mid week meetings.I hope you don't mind me asking alot of questions but it is great just to talk to anyone about bees
 

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A very simple and cheap solution is to buy the fiber or styro rose cones that are on sale this time of the year in the garden centers. screen all but one vent hole, prime and paint them a dark color, and cut a piece of scrap plywood to cover the open end which will become the top. The plywood can attach to the flanged rose cone base with 4 screws and wing nuts. Drill a couple of holes in the plywood to accomodate a rope or wire hanger, then bait the inside of the plywood cover with some old comb and/or some lemongrass oil - you can attach a piece of old top bar with comb to the plywood with a couple of little drywall screws. Then reassemble and hang in a tree 10' or more in the location you've chosen. I'm not handy with woodworking tools, but can make these easily.
 

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My friend's hive swarmed this summer onto a low tree (she is only a little more experienced in bees than I am). She called me over to see them and then decided that we needed to get them out of the tree and proceeded to scoop them up in her hands and put them into another brood box that she had. I watched for a minute and then joined in. It was quite the experience to scoop up handfuls of bees with my bare hands, feel their warmth and buzzing and not suffer a single sting!!!!!
 

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Research has shown that honeybee swarms will take up residence in cavity sizes form 9 cubic liters to 42 cubic liters, these of course are not hard and fast rules as honeybees do what they please despite what we think.
They also prefer a southern facing entrance, this might be different in the land down under as you are south of the equator.
They also prefer the elevation of the selected new home to be app. 9 to 12 feet off the ground.
42 cubic liters is about the same volume of a Langstroth deep super. I make a bottom using a 3/4 “ spacer to accommodate and opening which I make 1 1/4 “ wide and screw it to the deep super using four pieces of wood I then place a migratory cover for a top and screw it down.
This helps you not get a shower of mad honeybees when you are getting them out of the tree.
I put at least one frame of empty comb and add nine frames of new foundation, I also use a swarm lure which I attach to the frame of drawn comb. I make a couple of brackets form 2X4 lumber and put in a suitable tree.
Swarms also like to take up residence app. 600 feet form the mother hive. If you catch a swarm it is an easy matter of confining them after dark move them to your bee yard and place a permanent bottom board and inner and outer cover and presto you have a new hive of lovely honeybees with little disturbance to the bees.
If you keep a close eye on the trap if you move them within the first 24 hours of them taking up residence in the swarm trap they will not have imprinted on the location of the trap. You will be able to relocate them back to your yard which might be within sight of the swarm trap. This is helpful if the swarm is one of your own.
I do leave them confined in the permanent site, for a complete sun cycle and release them just before dark. When you let them out they will be anxious to get out but will still be able to see the hive and find there way back, if it’s dark a lot of the bees seem to lose there way.
 

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I tried to box a couple of swarms from my hives my first year, lost them both, even though I confined them in the hive for a coule of days. This year I put a queen excluder under the hive, so that the workers could come and go, but Mamma was stuck in the house. It worked, 2 weeks later I had lost of brood, so I remover the excluder.
 

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Thats not what I mean, the first two times I tried swarms, they left the hive body I put them in. The third time I tried I put an excluder under....and it did work. Never though of there being a virgin in there. That wasnt the case here, but I need to rethink the idea of always putting an excluder down now.

How often would a swarm queen be a virgin.
She's got 3 weeks to mate, probably a week old by swarm time...use the excluder for a week? If she lays eggs great, if not she still has a week to go have her fun?
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>Never though of there being a virgin in there. That wasnt the case here, but I need to rethink the idea of always putting an excluder down now.

Go ahead and do it. Just open it up within at least a week.

>How often would a swarm queen be a virgin.

Primary swarms never are. Afterswarms always are. The biggest swarms usually are primary swarms. The little ones are usually afterswarms.

>She's got 3 weeks to mate, probably a week old by swarm time...

Probably less.

>use the excluder for a week?

That's a plan. If you see eggs you can leave it longer.
 

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I hope Tecumseh never gets mad at his mail man. New meaning to the term "going postal"? We had snail mail, then e-mail, now B-mail! One type of cheap swarm box can be made from a cardboard box to close fit however many frames you want, spray adhesive outside, cover with plastic from a garbage bag. Cut a small flap for and entrance with the "hinge" on top to keep out rain, stab (or drill)some small holes in the back for ventilation. My grocery store produce section often has some nice size boxes for free.

[ December 09, 2005, 07:33 AM: Message edited by: Beemaninsa ]
 

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I've used cardboard boxes that fit 6 to 8 frames. They work well until it rains. The wax nuc-boxes also warp in the elements, though at a slower rate than plain cardboard. I went to single brood box, but because of weight, ended up building a 6-frame nuc box (6 frames fit the lumber I had...yeah, dumb reason but they work).

I use frames with 2" strips of foundation in the wedge top, then let the bees build the rest. I tried the "cones" but if you don't move the bees within a day of entering the trap, they'll have built too much comb to transfer without a mess.

I would echo Brent Bean's comments. Some of my thoughts and pictures are posted at:

http://www.feralhoneybees.homestead.com

My apologies for the web site as it is not complete. Boy, maintaining a web presence takes a whole lot more time than I first imagined.

Grant
Jackson, MO
 
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