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Author Topic: Yiks!! I am on a swarm list!!  (Read 4252 times)
annette
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« on: January 27, 2009, 01:35:59 PM »

Just got my name placed onto the Department of Agriculture swarm list for El Dorado County.

There are about 10 beekeepers total on this list and they told me they all get called in the Spring. I am nervous about it, but of course if I get called I can ask questions and I am not going up on high trees.

I did receive a cardboard nuc box from Brushy Mt, which I have to put together. Is this all I need to gather a swarm?Huh

Let me know a list of things I will need to keep in my car besides my bee outfit and the nuc box.

Please be specific if you can like how many frames I place into the nuc box and what sort of frames (honey, drawn out wax combs, pollen etc.) Perhaps a step stool in the car??

Any advice would be helpful so I can be as prepared as possible.

Thanks dear people

Annette
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annette
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2009, 01:49:08 PM »

I know what to do if they are on a limb that I can just shake, then I just shake them into the box, but what about a taller, thicker limb that I cannot shake. Not everyone wants to cut off a branch (and I do not want to cut anything either as I am not skilled with chainsaws or strong enough with a regular saw)

DayValleyDahlias asked me what I will do with all the swarms I catch and she reminded me of the saga of her swarm last year with a moment to moment update on the forum, keeping all of us in suspense.  Well I hope something like that actually happens to me as it  sounds very exciting.

I am not into catching lots of swarms, just would like to catch a couple to increase the size of hives.
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MrILoveTheAnts
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2009, 01:53:26 PM »

Might need a ladder, and hedge clippers too. Occasionally a swarm will land directly on the side of a house, or window, even though it's almost a completely flat surface. Other's will land on low limbs to trees that might be just out of reach. These are the easiest ones to get, You just shake the bees in and close the lid hoping the queen is inside.

I find a queen excluder is also handy. Swarms don't always like being shoved in a box and scout bees have also found other locations with promise.

Your Bee suit and hopefully an assistant willing to help (friend or family). It makes it so much easier being there with someone else. Some swarms get the attention of the news, and police officers will shut down roads as a precaution. (I'm serious about this, it happened last year.)

Swarms that are to high to get up in trees, someone told me if you can get a rope up there and attach a frame with brood in it, the bees will eventually find it and cling to it. Of course that might take a day but usually by the next morning they'll all be around it. If not then don't worry they'll eventually move on.

Some swarms just can't be caught. If you're not up to getting bees out of walls to someone's house, call someone who will! Especially if you aren't registered as a business.
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2009, 02:00:16 PM »

I know what to do if they are on a limb that I can just shake, then I just shake them into the box, but what about a taller, thicker limb that I cannot shake. Not everyone wants to cut off a branch (and I do not want to cut anything either as I am not skilled with chainsaws or strong enough with a regular saw)

If you have to and the owners are fine with it then do the tree a favor. Even if this is with a hand saw. Make a cut UNDER the limb first, and then star cutting down from the top. This way when the branch falls it doesn't strip the bark half way down the tree leaving a gaping wound.

Smaller twigs and sticks won't be missed much and just cut them with loppers or any cutting tool. note that swarms are heavy. The bees filled up with honey before leaving so expect some weight.

Some people like to use frames like a brush. This seems to work especially if it's drawn out already.
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annette
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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2009, 02:01:37 PM »

Thanks for the information. I plan on going as high as a step stool can help me. Anything higher than that is beyond my capabilities. I don't think anyone will help me so I am on my own with this.

But what do I do when they are on the side of a house or on a window??? Just brush them into the box???

Good idea about the queen excluder, but this is a 5 frame nuc box. So I need a queen excluder for a nuc box??  Or I would place just the regular size queen excluder on top of the box just so the queen cannot get out???

Explain what you mean by using a frame like a brush. You mean the drawn out frame would be used to push them off a house for example??
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JP
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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2009, 02:19:36 PM »

Annette, first things first, when you get a swarm call, there are specific questions you must ask to narrow things down a bit. You would obviously need to determine if in fact it is a swarm and not bee activity from an established colony. Sometimes people really don't know what they're looking at so find out the particulars before you waste a trip out on something you don't want to fool with.

How high from the ground is the swarm cluster? About how large, basketball, canalope sized?

What are they hanging from, how long has it been there?

There are more I can think of but I 'm in a rush for a dr appointment.

You've seen my cardboard boxes

These work great for temporay housing, I usually throw a piece of comb or frame of honey in the box for acceptance.

I could go on, but have to run for now.

Oh, and remember you don't have to catch everyone and you won't, its a lot about timing.


...JP
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2009, 02:26:36 PM »

spray bottle with lemongrass and sugar.  helps settle the bees in the box as you are collecting.  bee brush and dust pan...  clippers and i have a poll clipper for reaching higher branches when i can't climb.  duct tape for the box...it sucks when they start leaking out in the back seat.  smallish tarp for under the box. 
« Last Edit: January 27, 2009, 06:31:57 PM by kathyp » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2009, 02:35:26 PM »

Swarm catching is very easy. Just hold the box under them and rake them in.   evil    grin

You might want to modify your apparel a bit, tho.

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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2009, 03:04:32 PM »

Repeat everything everyone else said and add the following info too. Use JP box idea. Just  look at the picture above and see why. A hive box is too heavy to hold. W/ the box, that swarm would be more easily transferred into a box and then dumped into a hive body. Now that swarm was ideally placed for any style remobal, but they usually are in the most inconveint spot. Use a queen "includer" to induce the queen to stay a few days. reduces your swarm from leaving by about 90% some weeks. 

BEFORE YOU LEAVE YOUR HOUSE, ask 1000 questions. I also encourage the homeowner to google "honeybee image" and "yellow jacket image" and Hornet image before I will drive over. Also, the bees get smaller in number and higher in the tree the farther you have to drive to get them! People can't accurately portray the size and numbers of bees!
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2009, 03:34:42 PM »

And above all else, Be Happy and Enjoy the Experience. Smiley Smiley Smiley
Looking forward to hearing about all the fun.
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2009, 03:54:36 PM »

Annette, how exciting!  I'm not sure but if you have one of the cheap plastic "queen includers" like me you couldn't you cut it 1/2 to fit the nucs???  Maybe I will run out & hack at mine with scissors or blade to see if it will work.  If cutting doesn't work you could score w/blade & bend to break? huh  J
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2009, 04:37:09 PM »

Annette:

I'd RATHER be on SURVIVOR with you then JP on my alliance !!! I think you'd be the GETTER DONE part of the stick and Get to know those other beekeers in your call group - if you find a swarm to big for you to do - WORK WITH THE OTHER NINE COMPETITORS you always getting the managable situation for your set up and YOU letting them know where the big ones are!

I would too allign with JP for his ALLEGIANCE and dedication to work with a good strong team. There is a question about which TV REALITY SHOW

In Survivor speak, I think we'd do great until week 9 - not bad Smiley

Slightly off topic I know - sorry.
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Ross
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2009, 07:23:49 PM »

Get a bee brush, stiff cardboard and thin plywood in various sizes to help catch and funnel the bees when you brush.  Cardboard and plywood squares are easier to hold up than a hive body.  a queen clip can be handy if you happen to spot her.  Catch her and put clip and all in the box, the bees will follow.  5 gallon bucket can be handy to stand on, sit on, or when your box isn't big enough.  Lemon grass oil, put a drop or two in the box.  a frame of open brood can draw them into the box when you can't get them any other way.  An extendable painters pole with a spring clamp on the end can be used to raise a frame of brood up to a high limb and lure the queen onto the frame.  Have fun, and suit up.  a dry swarm can get nasty.

Note, if they say they are 6 feet off the ground, they are likely 15-20.  If they say they just noticed them, they've been there 3 days.  And finally, they always leave 10 minutes before you get there. Have cell phone, leave your number, have them call if they fly off, save gas.  Oh, and charge for your gas if possible, and don't be afraid to turn down any and everything if it doesn't feel right.  Some will be easy and some will defy every effort.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2009, 10:12:01 PM »

For free standing/hanging swarms I've always used a throw cloth under the hive and a brush (in the case of side of houses etc) besides my veil.  A smoker really isn't necessary during swarm catching but is always there for that 1 out of 100 cases.  Using at least one frame of drawn comb w/wo honey helps.  A queen excluder for catching the queen if the swarm is a direct drop in is also good.  Otherwise the excluder can keep the queen out if she has to enter via the entrance.
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2009, 11:00:37 PM »

Anne: I'm excited for you. I did my first cut out last year, and collected 3 swarms. As far as what to take- You can't take to much stuff. You need a pickup truck full of stuff. Screen wire to cover enterance, scissors, to cut wire with, staple gun to staple wire with, bucket for honey comb, bucket for water, an assistant to take pics, and all the other stuff in the previous post plus the other 50 items that you'll learn you need on the next swarm removal.  I also staple the botom board to my hive body so it's one piece. (easier to handle) Good luck and have fun.
P.S. Don't forget you can always back off, if things are not going good at the moment, regroup and go again. And don't forget to, as women like to say "Bee gentle" . Keep us posted. grin
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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2009, 01:31:42 AM »

Hey Annette,

Wish you lived closer, like down the road a piece, ha ha...We could be a team!
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2009, 01:48:02 AM »

For free standing/hanging swarms I've always used a throw cloth under the hive and a brush (in the case of side of houses etc) besides my veil.  a smoker really isn't necessary during swarm catching but is always there for that 1 out of 100 cases.  Using at least one frame of drawn comb w/wo honey helps.  a queen excluder for catching the queen if the swarm is a direct drop in is also good.  Otherwise the excluder can keep the queen out if she has to enter via the entrance.

As Brian pointed out keep a white sheet with you. When a swarm is low to the ground say on a bush, and over a grassy area or something similar, place the sheet down, box on top the sheet then shake the bees. The sheet helps you see and keeps you from having to dig the queen out of the grass.


...JP
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« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2009, 06:55:57 AM »

 I'll just add that you should find a helper. Sometimes teenagers are good at this because they are 10' tall and bullet proof when they are in their teens. If you can get one that listens and does exactly what you say you've got it made.My friend Billy is exceptionally good at this but he's grown up and in the airforce now.  They will learn about bees and have bragging rights to all their friends and you'll have a box of bees. You might even get a friend and beekeeper out of the deal.
 you should get a backup beekeeper's number if the job is too big.
Jim 
 
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« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2009, 07:30:20 AM »

Blankets are great for low swarms.



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« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2009, 08:05:28 AM »

Annette, first things first, when you get a swarm call, there are specific questions you must ask to narrow things down a bit. You would obviously need to determine if in fact it is a swarm and not bee activity from an established colony. Sometimes people really don't know what they're looking at so find out the particulars before you waste a trip out on something you don't want to fool with.

How high from the ground is the swarm cluster? About how large, basketball, canalope sized?

What are they hanging from, how long has it been there?

There are more I can think of but I 'm in a rush for a dr appointment.

You've seen my cardboard boxes

These work great for temporay housing, I usually throw a piece of comb or frame of honey in the box for acceptance.

I could go on, but have to run for now.

Oh, and remember you don't have to catch everyone and you won't, its a lot about timing.


...JP


Sorry...maybe I'm still a little confused on what to put them in at first.  So I should come to the site with a cardboard box like that to put them in, and then transfer them to nuc when I get home?  I am assuming no hole in the box if it's just for transfer smiley
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