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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, y'all,

I'm getting more and more turned on to the idea of trying to catch swarms, especially because I can see bees (not mine) visiting some of my old boxes, so I know there are some feral hives nearby that like to visit my yard.

I was thinking of placing a couple in my yard and others some distance away in the woods by the river.

I was going to put one near the tree that my bees swarmed on to last May. I would love to put it ON the tree, but the tree is in my neighbor's yard. This may end up being a prop up on the fence, or hang from the fence, or possibly hang from a branch that reaches into our yard.

The other I was going to put on a large cherry tree that has a forked trunk, because I read elsewhere that bees really notice these forked trunks.

Also, I'm not sure when to get started with this. March? April?

Thanks,
Thomas
 

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Hi, y'all,
...Also, I'm not sure when to get started with this. March? April?

Thanks,
Thomas
The timing is a question for your local folk, Thomas.
The locations - for sure have a trap or two near each of your existing yard.
Bees will come attracted by the smell of your yard.
Active yard is a best attractant.
Of course, a stack of used boxes is another best attractant - have a trap setup right there.
Otherwise, google up the tips and videos - lots of opinions.
 

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Agreed! Here in the South, it has been a relatively mild winter. Based on how fast my bees are brooding up, I expect swarm season to start early. My plan is to get some of the traps placed this weekend and continue getting locations through March. Like Chis said, " too early is better than too late."
 

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i see lilburn is just a bit north of atlanta. watch the 'post your swarm dates' thread and you'll see the first swarms reported down on the gulf coast and work their way north. probably about a month or so away from your location. could be sooner if a beekeeper near by is feeding syrup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sweet, thanks for the tips. I'm going to build some traps this weekend and start putting them up.
 

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I can see bees (not mine) visiting some of my old boxes, so I know there are some feral hives nearby that like to visit my yard.
How can you tell that they are feral?
 

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How can you tell that they are feral?
You can not definitely tell.

However, IF you notice them to be smaller bees - that is a good sign and has feral potential.
Clearly large bees will be likely commercials.
 

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However, IF you notice them to be smaller bees - that is a good sign and has feral potential.
It has never been obvious to me.
I tried small cell some years ago....and when I looked at those bees I believed them to be smaller. Yet when I caught swarms near yards with a mix of conventional and small cell I simply couldn't distinguish which they came from.
I'm sure your eyes and mind are more finely tuned than mine...but I suspect that the average beekeeper would never see the difference. I certainly cannot.
 

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....and when I looked at those bees I believed them to be smaller. Yet when I caught swarms near yards with a mix of conventional and small cell I simply couldn't distinguish which they came from.
Well, when I see a swarm with uniformly large, commercial bee from 5.4 foundation, I will tell you exactly that.
The uniformity in numbers is very obvious. These bees are like from a large, standard cookie cutter.
So - uniform, large, commercial bees coming of a conventional LC foundation - are pretty easy to pick out.

Any other bees are not as easy to tell.
Foundation-less bees are more natural in that there is a mix of various bee sizes in a single swarm.
This is natural and normal.
It will be hard to tell what they are (feral or not feral).

I am yet to see true SC bees. I don't have SC bees and will likely never have SC bees; no plans for SC.
It is logical to assume some uniformity in SC foundation bees, I guess.

So, pretty much if you see a swarm with non-uniform, mixed bees, there is a better chance these could be feral.
Cookie cutter, standard bees are just not natural (either big or small).

Two of my swarms last year were most definitely large, standard commercial bees (one turned out to be a total waste of time; the other is a question mark still).
The other two swarms for me were less obviously commercial (probably, but not at all obvious).
 

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i use some foundationless frames to flank a frame of drawn comb in my swarm traps. over the years i have accumulated several frames of naturally drawn comb. the cells in the middle of the brood frames tend to get drawn at about 5.1 mm as compared to the 5.4 mm on the rite cell plastic foundation that i use.

it is possible to see a noticeable difference in bee size when you have hives side by side utilizing the different size cells.
 

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Well, when I see a swarm with uniformly large, commercial bee from 5.4 foundation, I will tell you exactly that.
The uniformity in numbers is very obvious. These bees are like from a large, standard cookie cutter.
So - uniform, large, commercial bees coming of a conventional LC foundation - are pretty easy to pick out.
...
So, pretty much if you see a swarm with non-uniform, mixed bees, there is a better chance these could be feral.
Cookie cutter, standard bees are just not natural (either big or small).
Gregv,

I have looked at one or two bee swarms and had that intuition that they might be feral. I couldn't say why. I think I have focused mostly on color.

"Non-uniform" bees. This is a great insight. I am going pay close attention this year, and put this to the test.
 

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Gregv,

I have looked at one or two bee swarms and had that intuition that they might be feral. I couldn't say why. I think I have focused mostly on color.

"Non-uniform" bees. This is a great insight. I am going pay close attention this year, and put this to the test.
Color would not be a good predictor in a generally chaotic USA situation.

The mixed bee sizing, however, suggests a natural comb.
Natural comb, in turn, suggest better feral source possibility.

PS: yes, I know, there are cases of neglected, foundation-based hives that essentially turn in to the ferals after X years of neglect;
when left in place for years, even standard commercial foundation slowly turns into a non-uniform comb with variety of cell sizes (and the bees become non-uniform).
 

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I would love to put it ON the tree, but the tree is in my neighbor's yard.

Just curious. What happened to that swarm. Swarm (not mine) that landed on the neighbors, they were more than happy to have me remove them.

Can you sell the idea the best way to keep a swarm from their land is to put the trap on their tree?
 

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Can you sell the idea the best way to keep a swarm from their land is to put the trap on their tree?
The best time and place for this sale is when you remove an actual swarm for people.
Right then and there - they will likely to say YES.

Otherwise, people are not receptive to some abstract ideas, IMO.
 

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.. the cells in the middle of the brood frames tend to get drawn at about 5.1 mm as compared to the 5.4 mm on the rite cell plastic foundation that i use.
Heh, so the bees in your area do want ~5.1mm cell; I will take this into the survey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's true, I don't know. They might belong to a nearby sideliner or such. But I think there is a good chance they are feral.
How can you tell that they are feral?
 

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The best time and place for this sale is when you remove an actual swarm for people.
Right then and there - they will likely to say YES.

Otherwise, people are not receptive to some abstract ideas, IMO.
Assuming you have a pretty good raport with your neighbor, just ask if you can strap it to the tree for a couple months. It is a realistic argument to have them collect there quickly rather than hang out on the hood of their car for a day.
 

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The timing is a question for your local folk, Thomas.
The locations - for sure have a trap or two near each of your existing yard.
Bees will come attracted by the smell of your yard.
Active yard is a best attractant.
Of course, a stack of used boxes is another best attractant - have a trap setup right there.
Otherwise, google up the tips and videos - lots of opinions.

I see you suggest a trap near an existing active colony, or at least that is how I interpret it...

Is there a minimum distance from existing boxes that a trap can be place?...

If it's too close, will it effect the existing colony?...

Thanks...1/33rd
 

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How can you tell that they are feral?
(tongue in cheek) We have open range bees in my area, if they're not branded or ear tagged they're feral!
 
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