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Author Topic: First - Fourth swarm call! (pix)  (Read 1820 times)
SystemShark
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« on: May 15, 2008, 10:27:10 AM »

My hands are shaking, I'm soo excited! I just got my first swarm call, ever!

I signed up for the swarm call list at my beekeep assoc meeting just a few weeks ago. Today I get a call from Ian, a gentleman with the coolest Irish accent, who works for a company called "bee control". So he gets me in touch with a lady who lives about 30mins from my apartment.

She tells me that its about 3 feet off the ground, elongated 12-14 inchest, and currently about the size of a goodsize football players' arm - and GROWING. Ian told me that allot of the calls he recieved this season were "substatial" and without seeing it himself said that this one probobly would follow suit. Located on a branch of small tree near her house.

Anyway I've never done this before (obviously) and I still don't really have a place to keep the bees, so I'm a little nervous. Actually I still havn't recieved my bee jacket yet  - crossing my fingers its at my apartment when I get off of work today.

I did buy 3 cardboard swarm boxes from mannlake but I need to get a stapler to put one together. I'll also need some kind of branch clippers and maybe a tarp to lay on the ground. So what should my plan be? I've watched allot of swarm videos, read up on it allot but if anyone has any last minet tips feel free to chime in.

I don't think I've seen people bring their smoker with them on swarm captures, but I'm not sure.

Obviously I don't really have a place to keep the bees just yet - My sneaky plan was to put them on my balcony at the apartment, its covered and the from the floor up it's solid so no-one could see whats on the ground, or slightly above it. Thinking it would be better to ask forgivness if the issue comes up. If it really becomes a problem my mentor lives a few miles down the road and I don't think he would object to housing my bees for a while...On mothersday I asked my girlfriends dad and grandfather if either of them would mind me keeping bees at their palce till we got a house of our own..still waiting on a response. Her grandfathers place would be perfect tho he has a bear problem and her dad is caring for her niece @ 5years old, at his house. Both an hour away from my place.

Its 10:30 now I can't wait until tonight! I told her I'd try to be at her house by 6:30 I most certainly will take pic's and video, can't wait to share with my friends at beemaster!

Hands still Shaking, this is it!
« Last Edit: May 16, 2008, 09:41:47 PM by SystemShark » Logged

lovelyembalmer
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2008, 10:37:51 AM »

That's really great!! Free Bees!!  A long sleeve shirt with duck tape on a pair of gloves will help. try to figure out how to do a make shift veil. Maybe the others will have some ideas before you go home. ?? Maybe borrow one from your mentor.
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Moonshae
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2008, 10:48:33 AM »

I made a swarm box out of a Staples box that holds 10 reams of paper. I cut a rectangle out of the top and taped in some screen. Works great.

I wouldn't worry about the tarp. Just get your box under the swarm, as close as you can, and give the branch a sharp shake. The bulk of the clump will fall into the box. Then just put on the lid, but leave a gap...the bees will start fanning at the gap, and the rest of the bees will fly in. It might take 15-20 mins, but you'll get most of them that way.

If you can cut the branch, hold the branch above the swarm, and cut it above your hand. then just lower the branch and swarm into your box and cover.

I've done my first three in the past two weeks and they were all really simple. I do recommend wearing a veil, though. Perhaps you can borrow one from your mentor.
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SystemShark
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2008, 12:52:27 PM »

Your not going to belive this one.... just got my 2nd call =p Apparently its crazy swarm time in western PA.

This one supposildy is the size of a basketball and 7 feet up in a tree. I'm going to take a lunch break and drive over there to take a peek. I don't know if I can do both. This is at a business now and they said bees were covering cars and customers were worried.

I'll report more soon =))
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HAB
HEAVENLY BEEKEEPER
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2008, 01:09:05 PM »

Yeah, its a great feeling.  Got our first swarm this week.  Can hardly wait for another one. Smiley
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SystemShark
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2008, 03:31:28 PM »

Well good news first then bad news.

I got my 2nd swarm call! Thats right 2 calls in one day. This one was closer to my work - about 15mins away so i decided to take a perlonged lunch break and check it out. The plan started off that I was just going to take some pictures and then come back later with my bee gear. Then i decided just to try and take care of it on the first trip.. no bee gear, no nothing.. I grabbed a styrofoam cooler box from the back storage area and cut some slits in it with my utility knife for ventiatlion. The plan was to go up 7 feet in a tree, cut the branches with a longflimsy hand saw and shake them into this styrofoam box.

So i get there and the guy tells me they all flew away =( There were still a good ammount of bees flying around but he said the swarm was the size of a basketball at least. Yesterday a delivery truck brushed up against the bush/tree and he tells me the bees were everywhere..coating 2 cars and the air around his house/business.

Anyway I took a smaller styrofoam container with me too, cut off the branch that had maybe a baseball bunch of bees on it and put it in the box. Covered it, leaving an inch or so open. I stayed around another 20 mins or so but it didn't look like the bees in the air were orienting to it, so I told the guy that I would leave the box there and to call me if he found the rest of the swarm. I figure if for some reason the queen happened to be on that branch (I did not see her) they would all go in there...if not they would all leave.

Seems strange that so many bees would be left behind tho.

So no bees there...on top of that the lady I was going to see tonight called and told me her bee swarm also up and left. Darned!

Serves me right for getting so excited :p I'll upload the few pics I took when I get home.

Any got any idea what was going on with the bees that stayed behind? They were clinging to that branch...was thinking maybe queen pharamone or something.
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KONASDAD
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2008, 04:13:21 PM »

I missed my first three swarms as well. All three flew away as i was getting equipment ready. one was so huge, it sounded like a train taking off as they flew away in seconds. awesome sight.
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"The more complex the Mind, the Greater the need for the simplicity of Play".
SystemShark
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2008, 10:27:31 PM »

http://s213.photobucket.com/albums/cc304/SystemShark/First%20Swarm/

Luck would have it - 3 calls in one day. Third time is a charm for me =))

45mins away and my jacket arrived so I got to go all geared up. My girlfriend came with me to take pix and shoot some video (photobucket is having problems with the video but i'll work on it tomorrow.

There are only a few pics of the bees..next time I think we'll focus on them more than us ^^ :p

It was about 8:30pm when I got them home and I shook them from the swarm box into the hive on my balcony. All was well at 10pm tonight , I closed the top lid and tucked them in for the night. We'll give them a check in the AM b4 i goto work.

Thanks for your tips today. This is the first day of the rest of my life!!! (beekeeping life Smiley )
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Kimbrell
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2008, 10:37:53 PM »

Congratulations!!!  The third time must have been the charm! grin
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SystemShark
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2008, 08:52:21 AM »

It rained a good bit last night and was still damp this morning, but I peeked in and all seemed good. There were a few straglers still hanging around on the swarm box but the ones in the hive seemed to be positioning themselves on the frames.

Should I be feeding them something (like the ziplock baggy of sugar water syrup) or an upside down mason jar feeder of syrup?

Right now I have them in one medium box, should I add a second / third box right now? wait a while?

The plan for now is to leave them alone for a week, after this morning I'm going to resist opening the hive until thursday/friday next week.

(thanks for moving this thread by the way) Smiley)

*EDIT*

4th swarm call.. can you bee-lieve it?!?! This would be my 2nd successful attempt... tho I'll use that term loosely as you'll see from the pix. This one was twice the size of the first. I had to get on top of my suv to cut the branch off and for some reason (mistake #1) I decided to jump off the roof of my vehicle to the ground. Which caused the swarmball to shake and drop 1/4-1/3 of the bees on the ground. I quickly shook the bulk of the bees on the branch into the swarm box and then though of another great idea (mistake #2) I started to pick the bees up off the ground in a scooping motion with my hands (with gloves on). Instantly struck by over 20 bees. Luckily for me the stingers just barely got through the gloves... I could feel them but it wasn't deep enough to penetrate my skin so no stings there.

The pharamone all over me now every time I approached the box or the bees on the ground they jumped me. So I had my girlfriend start scooping them up with a KFC cup I had in the car. I saw a few bees lining up on one side of the box vibrating in the air indicating the queen was inside so I felt pretty confident that we could shut them in and get outta dodge. I took another 30-40 hits on my jacket and pants.. then it happened. MY FIRST STING! It didn't one bit :flex: okay it did a little..but I was so happy that it didn't bother me. The little guy got up my pants and stung me on my right calf below the knee.

http://s213.photobucket.com/albums/cc304/SystemShark/Second%20Swarm/

I got them home and put them in my 2nd (last hive) again on the balcony of our apartment. Since it was twice the size I started this one with two medium boxes instead of one. Its was rainy today, and I'm hoping for rain tomorrow =p I'm crossing my fingers no one notices for a few weeks until my mentor gets back or I get a response from my girlfriends parents.


Hope you all enjoy the story and pix!
« Last Edit: May 16, 2008, 09:41:18 PM by SystemShark » Logged

KONASDAD
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2008, 10:06:40 AM »

the rain helps keep swarms from absconding IMO. I like when it rains after I hive a swarm!!! Good job. Now do some cutouts!
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"The more complex the Mind, the Greater the need for the simplicity of Play".
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