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Author Topic: Guidance on first swarm collection  (Read 2282 times)
Florida Cracker
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« on: March 26, 2010, 08:06:59 PM »

I posted on Craigslist that I would come remove any swarms.  I received a call this evening that there is a swarm on the side of someone’s house.  It was too late for me to get to the person’s house by sundown.  I told him that I would be there first thing in the morning.  I hope they will still be there.  This is the first swarm I will collect.  Furthermore, these are the first bees I will ever have.  I am floating just knowing that I might get this one.  If the swarm is there at sundown, is there a pretty good chance it will be there in early morning?

Anyway, I need to make sure I take all I need to collect.  Have my veil, long sleeve shirt (does color matter, just light color?), pants, gloves, smoker, soft hand broom, and lastly a short top bar hive.  He said the swarm is size of cantaloupe.  What am I missing? Guess I try and hopefully it goes smooth.  Any guidance on the approach of collecting would be appreciated as well.

Thanks
Andrew
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2010, 08:13:37 PM »

i would take a tarp for the ground.  if you have a large cardboard box, it might be easier to sweep them into the box rather than into a top bar hive.   make sure you have what you need to securely close things up for the trip home.

there is a reasonable chance that they will still be there, or close by.  if there is any opening on that house, they may find their way in.  if they have not identified a better location, they will still be there.

good luck. let us know how it goes.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2010, 08:37:33 PM »

If they are hanging where you can reach them. I would put a deep hive body on the ground centered under them with frames of foundation.Veil, long sleeves, and gloves. Take a spray bottle with 1:1 sugar syrup.
Spray the whole cluster and brush them and let them fall on top of the box, with the top off of course.
I very seldom smoke-em.If they take the box, that is if the queen goes in, most likely they will stay.
You could take a second box just in case it's a big swarm. after they have all gone in put the top on.
If there is a way to let the box sit there till sundown then put the screen in the entrance you will not leave as many stragglers behind. There will be scouts and forgers out even from a swarm. If you take the box whill they are still out you leave those behind.
My .02 :)doak
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CVBees
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2010, 08:42:06 PM »

Wish you the best of luck, I had the same opportunity and in the same situation as yourself but the bees were a feral colony cutout 12 feet up in the middle of a big butt tree.  I am working something out with the owner who knows.  Looking forward to the good news on the morrow.

Bonne chance
CV Bees
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iddee
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2010, 09:55:30 PM »

Swarms aren't as protective as established hives. Give them time to warm to 60 plus degrees, then put the hive or a cardboard box under them and brush them off. If a box, then dump them into or in front of the hive. I disagree with Doak on waiting for evening. As soon as most are in the hive, get it out of there. The scouts are likely to come back with directions to the new home.

Dress comfortably, to the point you can relax around the bees. Each person is different in that respect.



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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2010, 11:45:45 PM »

Oh this is so exciting..... I'm happy for you!!  I agree with everybody and my 2 cents are that it will go WAY easier than you are expecting look for them fanning with their butts in the air... when you see that you know that's where the queen is after you get the majority of the girls in your box keep an eye on them leaving and forming another ball if that happens then that's where the queen is go back and get the cluster but I bet you will get her in the first try.  Once you see them with their butts in the air you will be on cloud 9!!   And don't forget to wave at the people who are looking at you like your nuts while driving down the road with a swarm in the back of your 1982 Chevy citation..... oh wait that's my story.  Take pics or better yet have someone else take pictures for you as long as NO ONE SWATS AT THE BEES!!!!  you will not have a problem it will be all kinds of fun and try to get some sleep I know it will be hard.
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2010, 09:19:16 AM »

To Late for this collection but for the future... I like to use Lemongrass oil. I take a cardboard box, one of those office file boxes works great, just make sure to not punch out the hand holes.

I put some lemmon grass oil in just a few drops into the box and on the underside of the lid. Then I knock or brush the swarminto the box. If I can I cut the branch they are on and drop it into the box. Then I put the lid on almost all of the way leaving just a crack open.

They will usually begin scentinig to the others almost right away. Then I just wait. Once they are all in I close the box and take home and install in a hive with a couple of frames from another hive to get them started feeling at home.

Some times if they are really slow I leave the box till nightfall at which time they will cluster up in the box and the stragglers will join the cluster. Occasionally I use the smoker to remove scent on the branch or wall if they are really persistant. Occasionally there will be an after swarm in the same location sometime in the next few days.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2010, 09:06:31 PM by alfred » Logged
Florida Cracker
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2010, 06:41:23 PM »

It was an amazing experience.  The night before I threw together a small or NUC top bar hive.  I did not have the material to put guide strips on the top bars, I hope that is ok?? 
I couldn't sleep that night.  I was a miix of nerves and excitment. 
I left early to get there before sunrise.   The swarm was attached to the to the second floor wall and window seal.  Luckily it was right above the porch roof.  I was able to get on porch roof to work. 
I sat the hive under the swarm and took hand broom brushed a good bit of them in the box.  Swept some off rood in dust pan and put in hive.  After a few scoops, I let them calm some and I saw them start fanning at the entrance.  From what I have read that means the queen was in and the bees started walking toward and in the entrance.   After being there an hour and a half, I sealed everything up and tied down in back of truck.
The bees are not agreesive at all.  No strings.  They just what I need for my first colony.  I got a feral hive that has survived.  Survived an uncommon Florida winter. 
The home owner was concerned about "Africianized" bees.  He was amazed at how gentle they were and that I didn't get stung to death.  His thought of bees have changed. 
I have them in the backyard while I finish the full TBH.  This moring I went out the bees were flying in and out of entrance.  One top bar had fallen into hive and I was able to reach in and fix.  No aggression at all. 
Question,  how much time do I wait to check on progress?  When should I move to bigger TBH?  Should I be concerned about no guide on top bars?  Do I need to feed?  we have orange blossoms blooming now and a lot of other stuff. 
I am thrilled and excited.  Thanks for all the guidance
Andrew
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2010, 06:56:19 PM »

i'll let someone else take the top bar question, but on feeding, it never hurts to feed them for a couple of days.  swarms are usually hungry anyway and i think feeding helps anchor them to their new home.  you should already see comb being built.  swarms are comb building machines.  you probably don't need to worry about no having guides, but  do watch that they don't start building on the lid, etc.

sounds like you did a great job!  another addict to swarm catching  Wink
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2010, 10:13:55 PM »

Whoo Hooooo!!!!!!!!!!   I'm so excited for you and you taught another person about bees!!  I would feed them a baggy of sugar water or honey and not bother them for 1 week.  To much going in and out and they might decide to leave.  Its a great feeling to see the girls fanning at the entrance.  And it was alot easier than you thought wasn't it?  As for moving them to a bigger TBH I'm not sure how to do that but I wanted to chime in and say congratulations!!!!!
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b reeves
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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2010, 09:08:04 AM »

Good job,
I would offer sugar water they probably will not take a lot if any, with the orange in bloom, look for eggs in a week I know that will be hard to wait that long, you can move at your first inspection, or leave them there till they fill that space @ 60%, but you need to be ready for your next swarm
Bob
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Florida Cracker
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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2010, 04:30:22 PM »

Here are pictures I took of the swarm
http://s24.photobucket.com/albums/c44/atminneola/Swarm%203-27-10/


 How many do y'all think is in the swarm? That is the home owners bedroom window.  He said he didn't sleep well the night before.

TBH "NUC"  it is about 16" long.  I built it as a bait hive.  Glad I had it to get this swarm.


I will get top bars with guides as soon as I can.  I have a guide on the first bar by the entrance which is on the bottom of one of the ends of the hive.   So hopefully they will start on that one with the guide and then work on each bar that doesn't have a guide.  


Andrew
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 05:25:34 PM by buzzbee » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2010, 06:19:31 PM »

Swarms are deceiving, they always look bigger than they really are.  They do a good job of creating as much air space as possible to keep cool.

I would get guides in there ASAP if not yesterday.   Chances are they are already building comb if they have decided to stay.   A swarm combs all bulked on on honey and usually the wax is flowing.   Their existence depends on the queen laying eggs and getting brood going.   It takes almost a month for brood to hatch from and egg, which is scarily close to the 4-6 weeks a bee lives in heavy activity times.   Especially since all those bees weren't born the day before they swarmed tongue   So they will be in continuous decline until they get some brood hatching.  I've seen it only take a few hours for a nice piece of comb to be built for the queen to start laying.
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iddee
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2010, 06:32:25 PM »

>>>>How many do y'all think is in the swarm?<<<<

I counted 9,742 workers, 17 drones, and one queen, but 3 were moving around too fast for me to count.  afro   grin

Nice catch. Congrats.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2010, 09:59:46 PM »

I love the pics and iddiee you forgot to count the girls under the lid....... lol
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G3farms
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« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2010, 11:23:44 AM »

great job on putting them up!

Is that your first swarm? If so congrats to you and the bees.

G3
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Florida Cracker
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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2010, 08:55:32 PM »

This evening I replaced the current top bars with top bars that have guides.  I was worried that I would find cross comb but I didn't.  I guess they got the memo and have started building comb on four of the top bars in or close to the center of each.  As I was checking each comb, I spotted the queen.  Amazed that I did.  I really didn't look around much.  I saw pollen but didn't look hard for eggs.  I didn't want to be in there long.  They didn't seem to pay much attention to me.  They would come check me out but not much more.  I didn't even use smoke.   I think I will check on progress again next Saturday. 
Thanks for all the comments.  I will keep updated and I will have my questions. 

Andrew
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