The swarm harvester was designed by Cleo Hogan who is a great beekeeper here in Kentucky. This can be used to trap new starts from bee trees or to trap bees from buildings.
The wooden piece (that looks like a tubular rectangle with cross bars attached) is placed over the hole in the bee tree. This is fastened by nailing or strapping. Next open a heavy duty contractor garbage bag. Slice into a flat piece and cut an x in the middle and slide over the piece fitting over the hole in the bee tree. Attach the garbage bag to tree with duct tape. This is just closing off any possible ways for the bees to move but through the tunnel. Next you will need a stand to support the swarm box. An old deer stand works good or build your own support.. Place swarm box over the tunnel. This is in the back of box and is actually a larger tunnel. We have left you slack in case you need it. Next, duct tape around this. Place 3 frames of drawn comb or stores in box to the right of the tunnel.
Immediatley the guard bees will move to the front of the harvester. Allow the bees to get used to the tunnel for a couple of days. After a couple of days return to the harvester and close off the tunnel inside the box. The tunnel has a one way bee escape built into it. Now the bees have to use the escape on there way out but cant return to the tree. When they return from the field they will have to use the drawn comb for depositing there stores and they will. Once these frames are filled and full of bees transfer them to a nuc and add a queen or cell. Replace frames in the harvester. Cleo has taken up to 9 new starts from a single bee tree using this device. If you leave in place you will eventually get the queen or look at it as a sustainable resource and only take a few starts a year. This is beautiful in it's simple, well thought out design. Cat# 890-SH
I don't see how it can get the queen. The queen is only going to leave when the hive swarms and the hive isn't going to swarm if you are taking all of the field bees. This is no different than putting a screen cone on a bee tree and an hive with a queen on a stand next to it. Read about it in an old bee book.
She is fed by other bees. She does not go looking for food, it is brought to her. Once her attendant bees reach about 22 days old they become field bees and will leave the hive... She will then starve for lack of attendants.
It would be a very rare occasion that a queen comes out of a trapped colony.
To be honest I have never physically used one of these before.
Iam going by the information provided by the inventor of this, Cleo Hogan.
Cleo has kept bees for over 30 years and speaks with passion about this.
He makes no money on the resale of this product and would have no reason to mislead me. I'm looking forward to finding a bee tree to try this on.
Walter T. Kelley Co.
I ordered one, It looks like a trap out, but I was interested enough in his design to spend the money and give it a shot this summer. I'm sure I will get another one of those "I have bees in my tree" calls..
My name is Cleo Hogan and I am the developer/inventor of the Kelly Swarm Harvester. Over the past 15 years I have trapped hundreds of starts using this method. Unfortunately, the details given by Kelly above left out one very important step in the harvesting. That is, the introduction of a frame of unsealed brood (NO BEES) from one of your hives. This will bring out the Nurse Bees, Cleaners, Ventilators, etc. This is what will also bring out the Queen. So...Be very Careful when you move the trap that you don't take the queen with the trap. If you do, the colony will likely die.(it will only survive if the parent colony makes themselves a new queen.)
If anyone has questions on this harvester, I will be glad to send you a complete set of directions, with color photos, and answer any questions you have. I make nothing off the sale of this device. My reward is helping other bee keepers. Additionally I would not allow Kelly Bee Company to put their good name on the line by selling a device that doesn't work.
Yesterday I posted a little about the swarm harvester. I am in Florida and using a public Library computer and was running out of time to answer Magnet Man, Bluegrass, Charmed 2, and Rochdog, about how the trap will catch the feral queen, and also that the harvester is no better than the wire cone method for trapping bees. First, the postings are absolutely correct about the queen not leaving a hive to go into the wire cone method. However, this harvester is different from the wire cone method, because when properly applied, the trap becomes a sealed, integral part of the original hive. The harvester is nothing more or nothing less than an additional chamber, (deep super, or nuc) for the queen to lay eggs in, which she will readily do. As soon as you put the deep frame with unsealed brood,(NO BEES) in the harvester, nurse bees, housekeepers, attendants, etc will move into the harvester to prepare it for eggs, because it is just another place for the queen to lay eggs, and the field bees to deposit pollen and nectar. In early spring a good queen is looking for any cells to lay in. You must check very carefully when moving the trap that you do not move the queen with it. If so, the original colony will likely die(unless they can make themselves a queen, and I will explain how they can do this if you want to know) Additionally, if you place a new queen with your trap after you move it, they will likely kill her and you are out the cost of the new queen. A good tree, old house, car etc, will get you about 3 to 5 starts (3 to 5 pounds of bees each) each year if taken about 2 to 3 weeks apart. The beauty of this method is you get the right "MIX" of bees to make a good start which will rapidly take off with the new queen that you place in the trap after you move it. In Kentucky, we have to stop trapping in early July to allow the start to build sufficiently and store enough for survival during the winter. In 2005 I took 9 good starts from a tree I was trying to kill out. Mor likely tho is 3 to 5 per year. If anyone needs a better set of instructions, send a self addressed stamped long envelope to P.O. Box 27, Park City, Ky 42160 and I will send you instructions with color photos of each step of the trapping method. I do this because I want to help bee keepers. I get nothing from Kelly Bee Company on the sale of the harvesters. I am in Florida and will not be back to Kentucky for about 2 weeks. I will send them then. Thanks.
I think its far more likely that the trapped bees produce a queen from the frame of open brood you provided than the old queen coming out. This would be the same as taking a split from a hive and providing eggs/brood to make a queen. I have never seen a queen come through a bee escape or a tunnel.
A forum community dedicated to beekeeping, bee owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about breeding, honey production, health, behavior, hives, housing, adopting, care, classifieds, and more!