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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My italian hive swarmed 75 feet + into an Oak tree - way out on a limb - yesterday afternoon. There is NO WAY to get up there - we've puzzled and puzzled on that one.
This morning I put out three "swarm traps" (two made out of hive bodies each with a couple of old super frames and a couple of foundation frames) two of these - one on my porch and one on a tall stool out on a hill above the bee yard and a crazy attempt at a "swarm trap" made out of a cardboard box, also with a frame of old super comb. I hung that one about 15 feet in the air off a tree. All traps have cottonball lemongrass. Bees were checking out all three of these traps. I can't swear which bees they were, obviously, but they looked like italians.
Again, this swarm happened yesterday. Last night temps got into the high 40's. Today it was beautiful in the morning and got to 72 degrees. Bees checking out my "traps" but no dice. Now it is 50 degrees and forecaset is RAIN! Tonight!
Why do my bees hate coming down so much? Poor kids - when the weather changed a strong breeze came up and was baning them aound in that tree like crazy? What else can I do to get them down?!
 

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If you know someone with a bucket truck, you might could extent it out all the way and then use a extend a pole with a 5-gal bucket attached to it and bump them into it. I did it once but didn't have to go that high, I was able to borrow a truck and get them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Jeff - seriously, we've thought about that. Aside from the fact that there is a firearms ordinance in our city, would it really help?
Wouldn't we lose the bees in the fall? These kids can fly - I'm thinking they'd cluster right back up on the next branch.
I've got to coax them down.
 

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I have read elsewhere that someone posted using a mirror to hit them with sunlight, heats them up and makes them seek shelter, never tried it, but it might work. Short of a bucket truck, or a climb up the tree to get them, let us know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Pegjam- I may give that a try. They've made it through the night - I was up at 4:15 thinking I'd find them all dead on the ground but they hung in there - no pun intended. It is not terrible cold - 55 degrees but it is fog/drizzle and it looks like there was rain in the night. Forecast for the next few hours is showers possible and then after that clearing.
This was their second night out - I can't imagine they are going to want to stay up there much longer.

So here's the next question: They were checking out my "traps" or so I think they were but they didn't come down. Should I try moving the "traps" to make them more attractive? Move them where? Or should I keep these where they are but also try to make more? I'm talking MAKE here because I don't have a real swarm trap - in a perfect world, what would I be shooting for?
 

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If the branch is small enough that you could give it a good shaking, the dislodged bees might form up somewhere else easier to get to. I doubt they're really 75' up so unless you've actually measured the height (lots of easy ways to do that BTW using trigonometry and/or geometry) I'm guessing you're guessing. One good way to guestimate is to stand up a 10' pole under them and using the pole as a yardstick, stand back about 100' or so, and eyeball it. You can get pretty close. I don't doubt they're high in the sky, and 40' is still a daunting height, but it might not be as bad as you're thinking.

If you can get a light but strong line over the branch they're on, pretty close to the swarm, you might be able to shake them loose. If the branch is too stout to shake, if you can get a climbing line over it, you can climb up there and knock them down. I've gone 50' straight up using a piece of 1/2 manilla rope, a homemade saddle, and a climber's knot. It's tedious and tiring hitching up 5" at a time, but I've done it. Not a good idea if you're scared of heights.

They're getting hungry now, and likely cranky. Perhaps your swarm traps are going to work once it warms up enough for them to fly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi George -
Thanks for the post. I need all the support I can get. It is 6:30 am and there are bees checking out my traps again - foggy and drizzly - it's got to be the swarm - noone else is up and about this early.

Perhaps you're right about the height - it's husband's estimate and he's pretty good at those things, but top of tree is still top of tree - no way to get up there and support weight of person. Yep, today if they don't get organized by noon or 1 I'm going to try shaking them enough to dislodge them in the hopes they'll cluster down somewhere more accessible and I can gather them in late afternoon.
Or who knows, they may accept one of my traps! (fingers crossed)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What about putting some syrup in the swarm traps? a feeder jar? a spongs soaked in syrup? a piece of cut comb?
Any thoughts on this? I know they've got to be HUNGRY...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Out of the Oak Tree and into a Maple! CRAZY BEES!
They just moved - before my very eyes, they're wrapping it up right now. The entire cluster has moved from the Oak Tree into a nearby Maple - they're still up on the canopy - this one is about as high as the previouls location except the maple is in a little "holler" so we're still talking HIGH UP. I have no idea how we're going to get a rope around that branch but you bet we're gonna figure it out.
You gotta be kidding me - what in the heck are they doing? they are not checking out my traps at all right now - 45 minutes ago they were. It is 7:15 am!
 

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I love this blow-by-blow account. What small backwater southern Maine town are you in anyways?

A fishing rod with a sinker on the line is a good way to get a rope up over a branch. Once you get the fishing line where you want it, tie on a slightly heavier line and haul that up and over. Then keep doing that with heavier lines until you've got what you need up there. It's never as easy as it should be.

Putting some feed in one of your swarm traps might be a good idea. At the very least, they'll send some foragers down for take-out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Fishing line is a great idea! I 've been trying to figure how I'd get a line into the tree. Hucking a lure up there ought to be easier than a rope with a monkey fist (that's how I got the Swarm trap into the tree)
They've settled into a much better (for them) location in the maple-several small crotches in the branches close toghether so now they're more in a cluster (they were on a small branch which with them on it looked essentially like a possum hanging from a tree - nothing great to hold on to.)
I'm going to try a jar of syrup in the "trap" on the porch - they seem most interested in it.
I'm in the backwater town of Portland! In Stroudwater - bordering the Marsh.
 

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If you tie a weight onto a rope and throw it over the limb then you may be able to hoist up your swarm trap close to the cluster and entice them into it.
Worked for me this spring on a swarm that was way too high and impossible to get to. I have a 7 frame swarm box I made out of styrofoam insulation board and pulled it up right next to the cluster. I had baited it with several drops of lemon grass oil and it did not take them to long to work their way in. Hope you can dab this one.
A couple of pics of my "Homemade Swarm Box" in action.
http://s78.photobucket.com/albums/j118/MAG_Ohio/?action=view&current=03.jpg
 

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Go to the photobucket site and it only takes a few minutes to go through the process to register. They ask a series of questions.... and you're done. It's free.... and if a dummy like me can do it, anyone can.
 

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I had 3 drawn frames and 4 with just starter strips. Tried to keep the weight down as much as possible.
 
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