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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a new beekeeper, living in a subdivision with 1/4 acre lots and plenty of trees. I'm concerned about where a swarm from my hive would go (assuming the colony survives the winter, etc.). Based on swarm calls that I see on the local swarm alert list, most swarms end up in somebody's house. I'd really like to avoid sending a swarm to a neighbor's house.

Since I'm still working, the chances are high that I will not be at home if/when they swarm. Is it more likely that a swarm will wander off and become a feral colony in a park somewhere, or will they prefer the eave of a house?

I plan to build a couple of top bar hives over the winter - one to split the colony in my Warre hive into in the spring, and the other to have as a standby/bait hive. I could also add a couple of small bait hives in the trees on my property, if that would help.

Thanks.
Mike
 

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Since I'm still working, the chances are high that I will not be at home if/when they swarm. Is it more likely that a swarm will wander off and become a feral colony in a park somewhere, or will they prefer the eave of a house?

I plan to build a couple of top bar hives over the winter -
You should do your best to prevent uncontrollable swarming by:
  • NOT building top bar hives but instead building some other hives (most other hive setups are much less swarmy)
  • monitoring your hives for the swarming pressures and pre-empting the uncontrollable swarming by splitting
The next best thing is to have your swarm traps installed in near vicinity.
You might just catch your own swarm - not a bad deal.
But also, by doing so you are doing good community service - you are preventing undesired headaches for many people.

Worrying about WHERE the suburban swarm will go (once it is already lost) is not a high priority, as if you can tell them where to go; they will find a place for themselves.
Most likely it will go into someone's swarm trap, sort of like mine.
Less likely into some hole in wall, but it is good probability too.
 

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If your lot is only 1/4 acre, they are not likely to swarm to your trap. It does happen, but don't count on it.
You could see if homeowners further away would consider hosting your traps, but be aware that you might get blamed for swarms that aren't cast from your hives.
If you have a online neighborhood forum, it might be a good place to feel people out about hosting a trap. You might not want to say your hives could swarm, but rather you want to catch wild swarms to prevent them from going into homes and getting exterminated. Save the bees! It's not dishonest, it's good marketing. J
 

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....as if you can tell them where to go; they will find a place for themselves. Most likely it will go into someone's swarm trap, sort of like mine. Less likely into some hole in wall, but it is good probability too.
I personally think it is just as likely to enter a structure, or tree cavity, as it is a swarm trap. Its all about the scouts, cavity sizes, and what's in the vicinity. If you keep bees next to a neighbor who has a swarm move into their structure, they will be your bees regardless 😁
 
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I personally think it is just as likely to enter a structure, or tree cavity, as it is a swarm trap. Its all about the scouts, cavity sizes, and what's in the vicinity. If you keep bees next to a neighbor who has a swarm move into their structure, they will be your bees regardless 😁
As for me, I'd rather have bees in every tree, and every barn, and every attic. :)
I want them there!

But them darn beekeepers show up with their saws and bee-vacs, and cut those bees out.
I certainly under-harvest the potentially easy suburban swarms (only got one in the backyard this summer).

Why this beauty had to be taken down?
But no, they just had to take it down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
And that's my fear - that I will be filling every poorly closed attic in my neighborhood with a swarm! I plan to split early and make sure that my bees have plenty of room to grow in the hive, etc. My wife isn't completely on board with our bees yet (both our dogs were stung this weekend - my fault both times) so it may only take a phone call or two from an angry neighbor for me to have to get a new hobby!

Mike
 

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Also if you havent already, read up on flight paths & how to alter them, for instance putting a fence or haybale close to in front of a hive you force the bees to automatically come out of the hive & fly upward rather than directly out straight into your yard with wife & dogs etc, read up on it.
 

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And that's my fear - that I will be filling every poorly closed attic in my neighborhood with a swarm!
I already spelled it out for you. :)
How do I know?
I do what I say. :)
I also live on 1/4 acre suburban lot with plenty of tree and structures and people all way around.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Also if you havent already, read up on flight paths & how to alter them, for instance putting a fence or haybale close to in front of a hive you force the bees to automatically come out of the hive & fly upward rather than directly out straight into your yard with wife & dogs etc, read up on it.
No the problem was opening the hive with the dogs in the yard. Normally they all get along fine, but I riled the bees up and the dogs didn't catch on. One of the dogs actually stepped on a bee that was on the grass. The other just was running around too close to the hive. I've learned to keep the dogs in when I open the hive from now on!
 

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Yea....
Plus something to keep in mind if you catch flak from the wife is that hive temperments change from a variety of reasons, if your in a dearth for instance their gonna be very angry, other hand you might go into them on an ideal day with ideal conditions & you & the dogs woulda been just fine.
Remember, every sting is an experience point gained ;)
 

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yes, it's important to not let them anywhere near the "homeowners" who make irrational decisions with bees.

Most folks have a very confused version of reality when it comes to bees.
 

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Let them swarm, I make considerable good money on doing cut outs!!
 

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  • NOT building top bar hives but instead building some other hives (most other hive setups are much less swarmy
Adding to this, that since you have a Warré I recommend you move to using a modified Warré if you are not already.

A modified Warré manages just like a Warré except that you add to it all the advantages of frames. This will make inspecting much easier and you can checkerboard frames to open up the brood nest and more easily spot swarm cells and take action by making splits.
 

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I am also on a 1/4ish acre. I inspect my hives one a week to look for swarm cells during the spring/summer. I have caught 2 hives wanting to swarm, but the queen was still there so I moved her into a new hive before they had a chance to swarm.

I have also found that larger hives with more space for the bees seem to have less of a swarm impulse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Adding to this, that since you have a Warré I recommend you move to using a modified Warré if you are not already.

A modified Warré manages just like a Warré except that you add to it all the advantages of frames. This will make inspecting much easier and you can checkerboard frames to open up the brood nest and more easily spot swarm cells and take action by making splits.
The modified Warre looks interesting, but do the boxes have to be longer to use frames? One article I read said that they are 3cm deeper than regular Warre boxes. Also, are the frames any better at limiting cross-combing?

Mike
 

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The modified Warre looks interesting, but do the boxes have to be longer to use frames? One article I read said that they are 3cm deeper than regular Warre boxes. Also, are the frames any better at limiting cross-combing?

Mike
The comb area of a modified frame Warre is about 15% less than a frameless topbar only Warre. Making the boxes a little taller will give you the same comb area, but I don't think it matters, If you make your own boxes and frames you could adjust accordingly, or you can stay with the standard dimensions and just add another box when needed.

With frames when you nadir another box you can move a couple of frames down and checkerboard them in with empty frames which will help the girls get started off drawing straight comb. You can use foundation or foundation starter strips.

Another advantage of frames is when I find that when I want to harvest honey that there may still be some brood along the bottom part of the center most frames of the top box. The next box down has honey on the outside two to four frames. Swapping the upper middle frames with a bit of brood for the outside honey frames from the box below lets me harvest a full box without waiting for the last of the brood too hatch out.

I keep trying to get out of my Warre and use just Langstroths but it's such a curious little hive that I keep putting bees back in it.
 

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The modified Warre looks interesting, but do the boxes have to be longer to use frames?
Frame sizes/box sizes are not set in stone.

There is a whole sub-forum dedicated specifically to the Warre-like hives.
There is lots and lots of information.
In fact, the top 5-10 current topics talk of not much else by modified Warre systems.

 
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