Hello! I am brand-spankin' new (just posted on the introduction forum) and decided I'd put my first question here.
I don't have bees yet, I want to do all my research this year so I will be good and prepared to start next year. Don't get me wrong, I am *so* anxious to get started! I am fascinated and I want my very own honey and personal pollenators! But I have learned from sad experience that I have a weakness for getting in too deep too quickly and being unable to hand the workload. We just barely moved to the country and took on dairy goats and laying hens along with producing plants, and that right there is keeping us very busy. Seriously, we feel like we are holding on by our fingernails most times.
Anyway, I've been reading my very first bee book, which just happens to be "Honey in the Hive". It is older from an older perspective, so I don't know if it is outdated. It contains a lot of anecdotal information, which is nice for me to get excited and dreamy about this whole thing. :) The thing that surprised me about this book is how much it talks about capturing swarms!! It tells story after story of this mother/son team who didn't have that much knowledge, experience, or equipment, going around capturing swarms that people called the fire department about.
I didn't even know bees swarmed! :embarrassed:
Well, she made it sound so doggone easy. Some of the time, they were walking up to these swarms in nothing but their street clothes. They simply brushed the bees off onto something or directly into a waiting hive. They made it sound so easy! That is how they got most of their bees. She talked matter-of-factly about being stung, in a sort of get-over-it kinda way, saying that getting stung is part of the job and it is better to get stung a bit your first couple years to build up a resistance to the venom. Not to be misleading, she advocates using a veil and gloves and talks about using her smoker to erase the scent created when stung by a bee. Her veil was made from materials she had onhand.
Sooo... how much of beekeeping is swarm catching? Can a person get all or most of their bees that way? Is it really as easy as she makes it sound? Could a beginner like me get my first batch of bees that way? Are there not very many swarms to be found "out there" anymore due to the decline in bee populations? Thanks!