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Author Topic: Swarm removal  (Read 1236 times)
SgtMaj
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« on: April 06, 2009, 06:41:35 AM »

Even though it seems pretty early in the year still, on Saturday evening I decided to place an ad for swarm removal on craigslist and Sunday afternoon I had already gotten the first call.  First swarm I've ever removed, but I thought it went about as smooth as it could.  They were in a low bush for starters, no ladders, always a good thing... it was about a football sized swarm.  At first I thought I'd try to actually find the queen and move her into the box, so I just slowly plunged my hands into the swarm (with gloves of course) and tried to find the queen in the mass of bees.  After a while that began to seem futile so I just set the deep box under them and shook them down onto the frame tops then just took a step back for a while and let them settle in.  They settled in nicely and didn't return to the branch so I feel confidant that I got the queen in there. 

I did get stung once on the knee through my jeans, I'm not sure if I was crushing that bee though as I was kneeling at the time.  Another one was adamant about trying to sting me through my veil, but it seemed to be the only aggressive bee in the bunch, I don't know what her problem was... didn't like my breath probably, can't say I blame her. grin  I forgot to bring my camera, but the homeowners took some pictures of their own and they said they'd email them to me.  Anyway, I feel pretty good about it.

The bad thing is we're just about to hit a cold snap (literally today), so I'm going to have to feed them for a while right off the bat.  Oh well, I certainly don't mind.
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Irwin
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2009, 07:42:07 AM »

Good for you and I wish you all the luck with your swarm grin
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2009, 07:57:03 AM »

Dang Irwin, what happened to your beard?  Looks like you cut most of it off!  I can almost see your face under it now.   cheesy

Do you think I should open up the hive to put a hivetop feeder in?  It's only 48 degrees here today, and it's supposed to freeze the next couple days.  I put some syrup in an entrance feeder, but they don't seem interrested (maybe be the queen excluder I have under the deep is discouraging them?).  That seems really cold to be opening them up, but without any stores to rely on, I'm worried they might not make it through this cold snap.  It'll be Wednesday before it begins to warm back up, and even then I don't know that they'll have any forage available to them after this freeze.
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JP
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2009, 08:04:11 AM »

Quite nippy here this morning as well, supposed to be record cold by tomorrow morning.

Do you have a garage or other bldg you could move them into temporarily, to get them out of the cold?

If you are concerned they'll starve, with cold temps never liquid feed, dry feed with fondant or even table sugar to get them by.


...JP
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Irwin
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2009, 10:44:06 AM »

Dang Irwin, what happened to your beard?  Looks like you cut most of it off!  I can almost see your face under it now.   cheesy

Do you think I should open up the hive to put a hivetop feeder in?  It's only 48 degrees here today, and it's supposed to freeze the next couple days.  I put some syrup in an entrance feeder, but they don't seem interrested (maybe be the queen excluder I have under the deep is discouraging them?).  That seems really cold to be opening them up, but without any stores to rely on, I'm worried they might not make it through this cold snap.  It'll be Wednesday before it begins to warm back up, and even then I don't know that they'll have any forage available to them after this freeze.

That pic is 3 years old that is my granddaughter Emma when she first came home grin
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2009, 11:18:44 AM »

I'm more concerned they'll starve than freeze.  It's supposed to get down to 30 at the lowest tonight, which means it will probably be 28, but I think inside the hive, with that many bees they should be fine from freezing.  I just don't know if I should open up the hive to put sugar or candy on them when it's this cold out today... temp's already dropping fast.  But I do now see some activity around the entrance feeder, so maybe they've just discovered it.  I just loaded it up with dry sugar (granulated, not powdered.  Probably should have chopped it up a bit in the blender for them... but oh well.
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Robo
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2009, 12:27:07 PM »

A warm jar of syrup inverted over the inner cover in the morning goes a long way to prevent starving.   By not lifting the inner cover, you can change jars without worry.  The cluster can move right up to the jar and feed regardless of the temps,  and with the syrup warm, they will suck it right down.


The issue with feeding dry sugar is they still need to collect water to make syrup to feed.

http://robo.bushkillfarms.com/beekeeping/feeder-compare/
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annette
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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2009, 12:27:36 PM »

I wish you all the luck in the world for this hive to make it. You sure deserve it. Even if something happens, you at least know how to catch a swarm and can catch more.

Annette
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kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2009, 12:41:05 PM »

you can always spritz the dry sugar with a bit of water.  never a problem here smiley.  i use dry sugar for moisture control!  i like a jar over the inner cover, but when the temps flux, the stuff can drip.  if i have to do it in cold weather, i take it off at night and bring it in.  they don't take it when it's really cold anyway.
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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2009, 01:01:30 PM »

you can always spritz the dry sugar with a bit of water.  never a problem here smiley.  i use dry sugar for moisture control! 

True,  but this is a new swarm in a dry hive, any moisture they give off will be sucked into the wood, that's why I think syrup would be better.   By putting the warm syrup on in the morning, it will be gone by night and you won't have issues with dripping.
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2009, 05:03:30 PM »

Actually, this box is kinda wet.  I sealed it up after freezing it really well and I guess some ice formed on it while freezing it because when I opened up the bag there was a lot of moisture in the bag.  I guess I probably should have bagged it before I froze it.  There was a lot of mold in it too, but I've always heard the bees will clean that up.  Anyhow, they are feeding pretty regularly at the entrance feeder now, and I think they may have even been foraging when it was a little warmer this morning because there was a steady trickle of bees coming and going.
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2009, 05:29:00 PM »

You could always try a baggie feeder too! They work real well.
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2009, 06:06:55 PM »

I went ahead and opened them up because I didn't have an inner cover on them through which to feed.  While I did I put a tad bit of honey from the other hive across the tops of the frames for them to lap up which they did (I know, not supposed to share honey like that 'cause of the risk of spreading diseases, but the other hive doesn't seem to be sick.  Taking a look down in the hive without pulling any frames, it looks like there are about 4 frames packed with bees.  I took a couple of pictures while I had the top off, and the homeowner just emailed me the ones from the swarm.  So here you go:

The swarm:


Me checking out the swarm before getting to work:


Just after dumping them onto the hive body:


I kinda missed a little, so the side is also covered in bees, but they crawled up so the queen must have gone in the top:


And here they are lapping up the honey before I put the inner cover on today: 


On another note, it looks like they have already cleaned up most of the mold, which I expected, just not this quickly.  They are pretty good little cleaners, too bad I can't get them to clean my house.
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Cindi
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« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2009, 11:47:58 PM »

SgrMaj.  Good for you.  I know that feeling of the first time one catches a swarm.  You should be proud of yourself, it is an accomplishment that you will never forget.  Keep on keepin' on, you will get a chance to get more.  Nice to see you back, by the way.  Have that most wonderful life, day, health.  Cindi
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