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Author Topic: To Swarm, or not to Swarm....  (Read 3406 times)
Jerrymac
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« on: April 04, 2005, 06:27:51 PM »

That is the question I had to ask.

In another post I mentioned some bees in a tree by a church that had bees in a wall. Seems that for a week and a day or two, those swarming bees went back to the hive every night.

I arrived at the church Saturday morning and the bees were doing the bee thing. I didn't see any bees in a tree. Then After I got suited up to start disturbing the bees by breaking into their hive, there were goobs of them all over the entrance and flying around, and they were gathering on the tree right where they had been for over a week. The tree was no more than twenty feet from the hive.


click for larger image


Question one, Does anyone know why this happens?

So I got me a hive body and sat it by the tree, and some pruning shears, and a saw. I pruned all the small limbs above and around the bees and then sawed off the limb under the bees. Tapped it down on the frame tops, and just as easy as that I had bees in a box. I left the hive there for any stragglers to find their way and went to work on the church walls.


click for larger image


Question two. When a swarm leaves the hive, or is leaving, do the remaining bees get really defencive???

They really didn't like the fact that I was even near the wall. Now keep in mind I had aproached these bees before and even banged on the wall, and they didn't care. But they were really checking me out now. AND THEN, when I started beating the wall to break the stucko, they were really PO'ed.

I said something about not having anything to cut the wire (stucko is sprayed on to a ware mesh). My mother said I could use her pruning shears that I used on the branches and went over to where I had left them and was bringing them to me. I told her about three times to put them down and I would get them. She's about as stubborn headed as her off-spring. A bunch of bee started circleing her so she dropped them and walk back to where my wife and son were. Well the bees followed her, and I guess something in my wifes hair set them off. Mom got three stings, my son three or four, and my wife lost count at about twelve.

The maximume reaction to the stings was the burning sting itself. But the pain soon went away and there was no more than a misquito bump on anyone. Did I mention my son got one on the eye lid? I thought his eye would swell shut. But no he was fine.

But man did I have a helpless feeling. I couldn't go over there to help because I would have taken more bees with me. But all turned out fine.

They went home and I started into the hive again. The more I worked on the wall the more riled the bees got. Finally I walked away and waited for them to calm down a bit. The man from the churched just happened by and took me to a phone so I could call the wife and have her bring the smoker back. Remember, I have not used a smoker up to this point.

I got the smoker going, and pumped the wall full of smoke, puffed smoke around me and on me and nothing seemed to change these girls minds. So to heck with it. I ignored them and wenton ripping out the wall.


click for larger image


AHHH... Finally the the inner chambers of hadies. I started removing comb and the girls still had a level of anger. GEEEZZZZ. One managed to get her stinger though the cloth part of the glove at the edge of the sleeve and got me. (No more reaction than mentioned above)

Finally got the comb scrapped out and brood comb rubber-banded in the frames. OK I confess. At this point I didn't care much about doing it right. The combs were long up and down and narrow from side to side. SO they ended up in the frames side ways. (Gasp of shock from the audiance)

There were a lot of queen cells, but to my knowledge they were all open and empty. And drones. There were drones. Bunches of drones. I think one quarter of the population was drones. Every where I looked there were dones. OH hey did I mention there were some drones?

Anyway, I then left and thought I would wait for them to do what the others had done. Find the new hive and go into it.

Do you think these girls will cooperate???


click for larger image


Man!! That's a bunch of bees. I opened up the box I placed the swarm into and guess what. They had gone back with the others. So I drag out the old beevac and have my way with them.

I placed the beevac on top of the inner cover that has a hole going into the hive body. Made sure I had every exit sealed off and opened the bottom of the beevac. Now these girls should drift into the hive. Right? Shouldn't they do that?

Here is what it looked like the next morning.

 

click for larger image


So I placed a feeder on top and started getting things organized for the bee adventure out at the Rocking Chair Ranch. Six miles up a bumpy road, crossing about five rough cattle guards. Beautiful country back there. And end up at a garage where the bees are. Cut hole in wall and there be the bees.


 

click for larger image


Every thing went just fine except... There was a lot of honey in those white combs, and the cells were deep. The stuff was heavy and would fall apart really easy. These bees were not as bad as the church bees, but not as gentle as the others I collected.

See the duct tape on the wall to the left? There was a knott hole about one inch by one and a half inches. I looked in there and saw about ten wasp on tne inside. Who knows how many there were in there. So I taped it shut. But those wasp were everywhere. They were getting into the hive as I was trying to get the hive out. They were getting into the box where I was putting the comb. They were fighting the bees, or was it the bees were fighting them. They were crawling on me and everything else.

Finally got the comb all out and brood comb banded into frames, (YES right side up, what else?) and waited for the girls to find their way to the new home. These gals did just fine and gathered around their new bee house. I would go and herd them into it sometimes, trying to speed things up, but as it got dark they were getting in there fairly well. Sure there were a few stragglers left behind.

So Sunday night now, and still not all the church bees had gone down into the hive. The beevac was strapped down to the top of the hive. Everything secured this Monday morning and we headed home.

Question three. Now that the bees are here. There is more than enough space in new hive. Are these girls still gonna play thier swarming games?
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

 Jerry

My pictures.Type in password;  youview
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indypartridge
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2005, 09:03:25 AM »

Thanks for posting that!  I enjoyed reading about your adventures and seeing your pictures.
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firetool
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2005, 09:37:05 AM »

I wish that I could have gone with you . From the sounds of it you could have used anouther suited person. Do you plan on getting the other ones that are in the town as well. Thanks for the pictures since I could not go with you.

Brian
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2005, 09:51:04 AM »

I might at some time go after the ones in the abandoned hoouse wall. For now the only other one is in a house at a country club. Not sure I want to mess with those. Not because of the bees but the people I would have to possibly deal with. Know what I mean?

You got equipment? Perhaps we'll go for the ones under the house in Brownfield, if you want them. I need to catch up on equipment to take care of these when they expand on me.
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

 Jerry

My pictures.Type in password;  youview
     http://photobucket.com/albums/v225/Jerry-mac/
willebanks
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2005, 05:24:10 PM »

Holy Cow that sounds like a cool adventure...stings included!

Well I live in Derby, CT and would love to go swarm hunting...Anyone that wants a helper just contact me here and we will get together and hunt some swarms...I have 2 hives(Adding number 3 in a few weeks) now but would love the "free" bees to add to my little apiary.

Just a quick couple of questions...There seems to be quite a bit of damage to the church and the home in the removal process. Did the owners get mad?
Do you charge a fee or is the captured swarm considered payment?

Just Curious...

Will
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2005, 06:34:28 PM »

There is not as much damage as it may appear. I won't tear into anything until the owners know exactly where and how I will get into the wall and get their OK. I do as little damage as possible. Also these folks wants the bees out of there. So most of the time it is said to do what ever I have to do.

Now as I understand it, here in Texas, the pest control board has their thumb in the law and I can not charge to remove bees. That would be considered a pest control thing. I would need a pest control license to do that. In fact I think I am suppose to pay these people at least a dollar for their bees. But I can't see where it would be illegal for a friend to give another friend his bees, Do you?

All the places I have removed from walls are really out buildings. Except perhaps the church. The barn guy was going to put a door in there anyway. The pump house will get another sheet of OSB placed over the hole and the owner is going to just screw it on, not plug up the holes, and will call me when more bees move in. For supplying me with bees he gets bees to pollenate his garden. This bunch from the Rocking Chair ranch was a garage out by his hunting lodge. If that is what you want to call that little shack, trailer, and camper parking area. He will simply patch the hole with a few boards probably.

About the church. This is a very old building where only a few of our darker skinned brothers and sisters go to worship. The head guy is white. I had not met him face to face until Sunday. Anyway they have some people that are going to do the patch job for free or cheap.

I don't mind doing this with people that are around my "social" level. Just laid back good hearted people. And this is why I am hesitating on the country club bees. I don't think I will do that one with out a written agreement.

Then the bees under the floor will be no damage involved. Just have to squirm around under the house in a bee suit dragging the bee equipment. What joy what fun. But lives little adventures is what makes life so wonderful. Don't you think?

And yeh I feel getting the bees is payment enough for the removal.
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

 Jerry

My pictures.Type in password;  youview
     http://photobucket.com/albums/v225/Jerry-mac/
Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2005, 06:36:05 PM »

Those pics and that story was great, thanks, bye Cheesy
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Ryan Horn
Jerrymac
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2005, 06:39:28 PM »

UPDATE:

We have had wind gust up tp sixty mph today. The two hives I brought in yesterday toppled over. Got them upright again and hope things are fine on the inside of the hive.
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

 Jerry

My pictures.Type in password;  youview
     http://photobucket.com/albums/v225/Jerry-mac/
Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2005, 06:55:02 PM »

I am so afraid of that, I think I am going to strap mine down. I hope that all is fine in those 2 hives Jerry, bye
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Ryan Horn
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2005, 09:26:10 PM »

Great job and great photos. You're much more energetic than me! It's got to be an EZ removal for me to get involved with!

The girls are swarming here - picked up 3 in the last week. I'll stick with swarms, much easier! Just got back from one where the whole neighborhood was out to watch - pretty anti-climactic took about 5 minutes and the bees were marching into the hive like 20,000 well trained soldiers. The amazed looks were priceless!!

I think we should have a pretty good year.
Jim
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Anonymous
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2005, 09:46:13 PM »

Smiley I found out last summer swarm catching is Fun with a capital F. Plus the bees were in better shape than the packages I had bought.

Loved the story too. To bad there isn't a beekeeping magazine that did those personal storys like yours. I think I would read it from cover to cover every time it came if it did.

 Cheesy Al
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Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2005, 07:51:44 PM »

I would climb 60 feet into a tree just to get a swarm, lol Cheesy
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Ryan Horn
Jerrymac
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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2005, 08:49:49 PM »

Well I was looking into the hives today. I have those church bees in two of my deeps. (13 frames each) I guess I fixed the swarm problem with them because there are a bunch of bees in both boxes.
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rainbow sunflower  Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.   rainbow sunflower

 Jerry

My pictures.Type in password;  youview
     http://photobucket.com/albums/v225/Jerry-mac/
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