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Author Topic: Rookie Mistake.... :-(  (Read 2071 times)
Moots
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« on: March 13, 2013, 11:26:52 PM »

Got all fired up today, thought I had my first swarm opportunity...Wanted it so bad, I could taste it.  I ended up relying on second hand information instead of asking some obvious questions and saving myself a lot of what turned out to be wasted time.

What was passed on to me as a  "swarm" in a tree turned out to be an established hive about 20 feet up living in a void of a huge branch of a 160 year old oak tree.

Oh well....maybe next time.  It was probably a good dry run.  Just wish it wouldn't have been 30 miles away on the other end of Baton Rouge evening traffic.  Sad

Live and Learn!
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2013, 05:51:30 AM »

I once went out on a swarm alert that turned out to be a great bee tree. Bumble bee, honey bee and local bees collecting food.
Jim
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TwT
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Ted


« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2013, 06:36:57 AM »

Moots, swarms are fun, especially when you travel like that and fight traffic then when you get there the people say they just flew away about 5 minutes ago!!
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indypartridge
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2013, 06:39:20 AM »

Even when you ask the right questions, you'll occasionally end up wasting a trip.

Q: "How big is the swarm? Softball sized? Soccer ball, basketball?"
A: "Huge, bigger than a basketball!"
Reality: smaller than your fist

Q: "How high up are they? Can they be reached with a step ladder?"
A: "Not high at all, might need a stool"
Reality: 30 to 60 feet up

Q:"Are you sure they are HONEY BEES? Do you know the difference between honey bees, yellow jackets, wasps?"
A:"I'm SURE they are honey bees. Looks like a swarm is trying to get inside my house, up under the eaves."
Reality: Carpenter bees
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Moots
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2013, 07:52:25 AM »

LOL!....
Thanks guys for sharing some of your experiences, those are some real classics.  Smiley

The gentleman in our local bee club who's bee vac I borrowed for this occasion, hadn't quite gotten around to building my own yet, was telling me about a swarm call he went on when I was returning his vac late yesterday. 

A woman called about a swarm, he and his buddy drove out to her location, she walked them to the back yard and pointed it out...A nice swarm of bees easily accessible on a bush.  They turned around and went to there truck to grab their equipment.  When they got back to the backyard, the woman said she was watching and they all just flew straight up and left.

Now that's a whole different kind of bummer....to confirm it's good, think you've got it, and it's gone!    Sad

He told me sometimes they'll do that and come right back to the same spot.  Unfortunately, in this case they didn't.
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
                                                                                                                   - Ronald Reagan
kathyp
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2013, 10:02:08 AM »

call from the next state over:  "there's bees all over my yard and they are coming from a tree in my driveway."  me:  "can you see a clump of bees in your tree?"
her:  "no, but they seem to be coming from the bottom.  i'm afraid to go out and look".

yellowjacket radar engaged.

me:  "are they coming from the ground?"
her:  "i don't know, i'm afraid to go out and look.  AND I HAVE KIDS!!!!"
me:  "can you at least go outside and take a picture of a couple of the "bees" in your yard and email them to me?"
her: (sniffle) "i'll try"

later...
email pictures arrive, and sure enough, it's honey bees.
off i go to Vancouver.

as soon as i step out of the truck, i see honeybees on the weeds in her yard.....and yellowjackets flying from a hole at the root of the tree in her driveway.  she'd gone out the door and taken pictures of the bees on the weeds.....

it was a nice day for a drive....and she felt bad....and i told her to mow.
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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 #6 on: March 14, 2013, 12:14:02 PM »

Hang in there Moots.  It happens to all of us.  Even with experience you'll still go on some fools errands as Kathyp, TwT, and indypartridge describe very well.

I've gotten burned enough that I now ask for a photo of the "swarm" unless they are describing classic cluster of bees in mass.  The height is the one that can leave you literally heart broken.  When judging height they seem to always short, but a swarm isn't worth getting seriously injured. 

I'm also a HUGE fan of using a frame of open brood in the capture box to anchor the swarm.  Haven't lost a captured one yet when I've done that.  Peaking into an empty capture box that you busted your butt to get a swarm in it the day before is worse than a sting in the lip.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2013, 12:18:40 PM »


I'm also a HUGE fan of using a frame of open brood in the capture box to anchor the swarm.  Haven't lost a captured one yet when I've done that.  Peaking into an empty capture box that you busted your butt to get a swarm in it the day before is worse than a sting in the lip.

I can relate to that, the stung lip.  grin
Jim
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bailey
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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2013, 01:36:51 PM »

Moot.  Hang a trap with lure over that limb or somewhere upwind and close ASAP!!!!!!!!!!
You will get your swarm the easy way.    grin
Bailey.
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most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought of as a fool than to open ones mouth and in so doing remove all doubt.
Chevy
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« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2013, 03:59:02 PM »

I got a call today but couldn't make it... You snooze you loose.. I hate that...
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PLAN-B
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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2013, 10:53:57 PM »

I'm with bailey... Get the traps up and you are bound to get one with no gas money needed !!!  Wink 
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Marshall
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« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2013, 11:05:14 AM »

Moots, swarms are fun, especially when you travel like that and fight traffic then when you get there the people say they just flew away about 5 minutes ago!!

Sounds like most of my fishing trips!
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sterling
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« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2013, 11:34:55 AM »

I got a call from a lady last year who had a swarm on a tree in her front yard. I told her I would be right there, just ten minutes away, when I got there the lady told me she put a trash bag over the swarm and sprayed in ant spray. She just wanted me to do something with the ones that were still able to flying around because one stung her.
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gov1623
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« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2013, 08:42:24 PM »

Most people don't know the difference between swarms and established colonies. Last year I learned to bring along extra equipment on swarm calls. Never know when a swarm might turn into a cutout.
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divemaster1963
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« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2013, 11:08:49 PM »

I hear the pain. I had a call last year from about 40 miles south from a realtor that they had a house that was closing on and that it had a ton of bees on it. stupid me did not get further info. went down there just to see a house covered in wasp nest under every overhang. told them I would kill the wasp for a fee or they could get a case of wasp spray and have a party.  the realtor payed me my gas for coming.

John
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capt44
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« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2013, 11:39:03 PM »

I had me an experience just this morning.
A feller wanted me to stop by and look at his hive of bees.
He said one hive died during the winter.
The other hive was really working.
We went into the shop and talked for about 20 minutes and I said I need to go look at some bee trees down the road.
I looked at his hive and there was a ball of bees on the ground in front of the hive.
He said are they robbing and I moved some bees and seen they were surrounding the queen.
I said get me a container and I'll catch her and we'll put her in a hive and whala you'll have another hive of bees.
We went in the shop to get a small container and out I go, but they were no where to be seen.
First swarm of the season here in Central Arkansas.
Oh well I've got my swarm retrieval gear in my van now.
Missed that swarm by a minute I reckon.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
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« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2013, 09:32:23 AM »

yellow jackets, wasps etc.  we've all done it.  people see the bees that have been living in their house for years working and in their mind they are "swarming".  you will also meet the worlds tallest people because they can reach up and touch a swarm 30 feet up a tree when they're talking to you over the phone.  it happens, but you also get that huge swarm hanging about two feet off the ground a lot of the time so it kind of averages out.  the stories you get to tell are part of the fun.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2013, 10:53:15 PM »

I had a swarm today in my back yard. Walked out back and I could hear the swarm but could not see them. Looked at the hives and found the one with the bees pouring out of the hive. Looked around and after a few minutes, I could see them start to collect in the top of an old Chinese elm tree. I called my buddy, Jim to let him know about it and started looking for a bucket and pole to get them. I used duct tape to attach the pole to the bucket. I tried a 6 foot ladder but even with a 20 foot pole, I could not reach it. Jim brought over a 8 foot ladder and it was just enough to reach it. They were spread out so I was not able to get them in one bump. This is the first time to try this method. I did the first bump and was covered in bees. Poured them into the nuc and there were still a lot of bees on the tree. On the third bucket, I saw the queen as she went between the frames. The bees were going in the nuc so we let the bees come down on there own. All of the bees on the nuc went into the hive and I was still waiting for the other bees to come down. There were a lot of bees in the nuc but 1/3 of the swarm was still in the tree. After a few minutes I decided to do a another bucket shake and started to do it. I looked up and they were gone and none of them were on the nuc or the original hive. I waited too long and lost a lot of bees. I really thought they would go in the hive on their own since I saw the queen go in.
To keep them in the hive I cut a small piece of queen excluder and put it on the entrance and set the it in its new location.
Just another case of live and learn.
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kathyp
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« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2013, 12:06:32 AM »

Quote
I really thought they would go in the hive on their own since I saw the queen go in.

more than one queen in the swarm?  two different swarms?  probably time to see what's going on in your hives   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
bailey
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« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2013, 12:43:09 AM »

Kathy.  
I have had a single swarm with 5 unmated queens in it.  Had a hell of a time getting the thing to stay put.
They just kept swarming out.
Found the queens after I got frustrated with the third swarm out in the same day I tried to hive them.
Jp told me of one that had 6queens if I remember correctly.
And I have at least one or two swarms a year with at least 2 queens.  
Happens a lot down here.
Bailey
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most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought of as a fool than to open ones mouth and in so doing remove all doubt.
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