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Author Topic: Urgent swarm capture help needed  (Read 877 times)
Grieth
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« on: October 08, 2011, 09:16:06 AM »

Went to a large swarm last night.  Couldn't get there till after dark.  Large swarm hanging in a shrubby tree 6 foot up. Easily knocked 4/5ths of them into a box.  Left them fanning from the front of a five frame nuc, presumably wafting scent to the stragglers.
Went back this evening to pick up nuc, only to find they had left nuc to settle a foot in front of it in 18 inch long reeds and grass growing thick and matted under the tree in the garden bed.  Looked in box and they had started to draw comb before they left. Put a lure in the box and left it tonight. 

What's the best thing to do in the morning if they are still in the reeds and grass?
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2011, 10:02:27 AM »

the problem might be that you used a nuc for a large swarm.  can you swap it for a full size box and put those frames that they started to draw in it?  rebait and see what happens.
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Grieth
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2011, 10:14:21 AM »

With you there - replaced the five frame nuc with an eight frame deep, which has had bees in it before so should smell good with the bait and their little startup of comb.

Any other tips on getting them out of the grass?
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"The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things:
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2011, 11:53:32 AM »

Find the queen and somehow lock her in your nuc/hive body by either using a queen cage or an excluder between your bottom board and hive body after she is in your hive. The rest should follow. I then place a frame of brood in my newly captured swarms for further insurance that they wont leave.
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Grieth
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2011, 04:58:04 AM »

thanks for the tips.  i used them (although despite searching couldn't find the queen).

got most of the bees.  they had one night in the nuc and then decamped.  Hopefully they will stay in the 8 frame deep I put them in this time.

Ended up cutting under them and pushing a tarp in, then emptying the lot into the box (will have to get all the vegetation out later, if they don't).
Then, just using my hands to scoop a lot up.  Unfortunately this still left a lot in the reeds.
Never found the queen, but I think I eventually got her (saw lots of fanning bees as I went along).

Some photos.
1.  The nuc with the swarm where I found them the next day after hiving them image 1
2.  closeup of the swarm in grass/reeds close up of bees
3.  wax work they did overnight in the nuc  wax work on inside of nuc
4.  wax work they did drawing out the foundation overnight  drawing foundation
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"The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings”
Lewis Carroll
yockey5
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2011, 08:18:23 AM »

Feed'em and they will stay.
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JP
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2011, 10:47:18 AM »

Strictly judging by the pictures it appears to be a rather small swarm. Don't believe they left because the nuc was too small for them, there was another reason.  They likely (again judging by the pictures) could use the addition of more bees and a frame or two of brood to get them going, and of course feed.

Good luck with them!


...JP
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kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2011, 07:49:18 PM »

that's why i use a tarp.  much faster if you don't have to wait for them to all crawl out of the grass!  do get the twigs out soon.  they will incorporate them into the hive and make it messy for later checks.  it is true that they will pull a lot of stuff out, but bigger pieces they will just build around.

having said that, i usually don't disturb a swarm for about a week.  i do feed them as it seems to help settle them. 

good luck.  let us know how they do.
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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 #8 on: October 10, 2011, 04:37:42 PM »

When I've had them in the tall grass, weeds, shrubs, etc I've made sure to add a frame of open brood, scoop as many as I could in the nuc then I smoke them towards the nuc.  They'll cluster where they can and when they do I'll scoop those too.  What I've found is they are so interested in getting out of the smoke they'll start heading to the nuc.  Anywhere they cluster could be the queen so be sure to move the clusters as if the queen is in there.  In short order they'll be in the nuc with their new open brood.  I've found the open brood anchors them down from re-issuing as a swarm.
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Grieth
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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2011, 07:32:32 AM »

Thanks for the tips guys.  Ended up with garden shears cutting the reeds under them and sliding in a tarp, and putting the bulk with the reeds and rubbish in an 8 frame with only 4 frames in it. 

I used the smoke tip and smoked into the bottom of the reeds which flushed hundreds out, and they went into the hive.

Took out the reeds and muck today.  All looks good - too many bees for 4 frames, so shook them out of the vegetation, leaving it in front of the hive so any I missed could get in.  They are drawing fast, and my wife was sure she saw the queen.  Hopefully all will go well now.

Thanks again for the help.
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"The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings”
Lewis Carroll
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