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Author Topic: Our first swarm with pics [and with a couple of questions]  (Read 575 times)
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« on: May 07, 2013, 08:53:15 AM »

Got a phone call from a friend yesterday evening watching bees swarm out of her tree.  Took us more than an hour to get there, but we got it.   Our first one ever.

You can see the size of the swarm here next to Eric's head.   How many bees is that?   Looked to be the size of a football...


It was about 15 ft above the parking area.  Had to put the ladder on top of the cab of the truck. Eric took a few pings to the hand after the first hard shake into the bucket.


My daughter took the pics while we dealt with the bees.  This is me looking for the queen. [Never found her, but the bees were fanning like crazy so we're confident we got her.]


We put the swarm in a tall bucket with a frame of comb I had smeared with a tiny bit of lemon grass oil.  I clipped the branch back into the bucket as far as I could.   To close it up, we bungeed a cloth over the top for transport home.    50 minute drive home.


It wasn't as dark as these photos look.   Put the bees in the other end of a horizontal hive that already had a nuc at the far end.  [Not enough boxes!  Need more boxes!  Geez.  How many of us sing that song every year?!]   I poured the first batch of bees into the frames, then put a super over them.


I put the branch in the super over the frames and put some honey balls in with them.  The girls seemed really happy to be there. [It's been raining for days and they had swarmed 1/2 hour after the weather cleared.  Didn't give themselves much time to find new shelter before dark, so I'm hoping they think we did them a favor and they'll get comfortable really fast.]



A couple of questions:
I closed up the bottom entrance of the hive but left the little top one open, inner cover notch turned down.  How long before I open the bottom?   How long before I check for eggs?  I put several honey balls in with them when we installed them.  Should I open the top and drop more honey balls in there today?

I guess I'm asking, 'Now what?'  Proceed like a package?

A note about honey balls - -they're messy, but EASY and the bees love them. My youngest doesn't really love the bees but she'll do stuff like make honey balls, which she had ready for us by the time we got home with the bees.  She actually brought them out to us and then stuck around to watch the installation - including standing right over the hive to watch the fanning.  Magic honey balls.  I'm a huge fan.
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10framer
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2013, 09:03:49 AM »

i never close the entrance.
you're going to kill yourself or at least get hurt sooner or later standing on a ladder on top of a truck.  next time tak a long pole with a hook or a rope and set the hive on the ground under the swarm and shake it.  or look at the thread "swarm in sandy utah" and build a pole like that. 
i know a man that cut his own arm off doing something like what you were doing but he had a chainsaw. 
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Joe D
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2013, 09:16:25 AM »

Good going on your first.  I would never have gotten on a ladder on top of the cab.  Like 10farmer said, a rope, or pole a ladder if it gets you close.     I treat a swarm like a package.  I install in a super and give them sugar syurp until they get going.




Joe
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BlueBee
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2013, 09:24:31 AM »

Congrats on the first swarm. applause

I normally just dump the bees in a hive and I never close the entrance (except for transporting).   I usually give them a frame of honey and a frame of brood if I have spare.  If you get the queen, they usually stay put.  

I would probably hold off on more honey balls for now and leave them be for a few days.  Just watch the entrance and make sure they’re orientating to their new home and coming and going as expected.  There are lots of spring things blooming now and the bees should be able to find plenty of nectar (just like they would in a wild swarm).

As the others have said, a bucket attached to a long pole is a MUCH safer solution.  One good knock of the branch and most of the bees AND the queen will fall in the bucket.  Once you got the queen, the rest tend to join.  It gets simpler over time.  
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hardwood
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2013, 09:36:09 AM »

First swarm! I bet you're still on a high from the experience...Yayyyy!

As far as the ladder on the truck, yeah, not the safest thing (but I do it all the time grin).

Christa's swarm


Scott
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D Semple
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2013, 10:06:24 AM »

Very nice swarm, congratulations.


Hope you had your truck keys in your pocket.    grin
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D Coates
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2013, 10:40:22 AM »

The photo of the ladder on the cab of the truck made me pucker but otherwise great job.  Personally, I treat swarms just like packages.
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danno
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2013, 03:53:29 PM »

http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com/Hipps-Swarm-Retriever/productinfo/270/
These are really nice and if your handy you can make one.   I have my home made one with a threaded bottom that fits a telescoping paint roller or push broom poles.  I catch swarms as high as 20 ft with my feet on the ground
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Moots
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« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2013, 04:21:04 PM »

OK, add me to the list of people who cringed when viewing the ladder/cab set up.  Smiley

While obviously not safe, and inadvisable...it is kind of cool to realize what lengths us crazy Beeks will go to to get our hands on a swarm. You have to admire the passion.

No blood, No foul.  grin

Nice catch! Congrats!
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Steel Tiger
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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2013, 05:06:54 PM »

 I saw the ladder on the truck pic and my first thought was... "Are a swarm of bees worth the damage to the truck?"
Just goes to show my priorities.
 Nice caught anyways.
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RHBee
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« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2013, 11:13:12 PM »

First good job!!! Enjoy, who doesn't like free bees! My first swarm was retrieved with an AK-47. Good thing I have understanding neighbors. smiley I treat them just like a package. Feed well and fresh foundation. I have seen them reswarm so I put a queen excluder under them for a few days until they settle down. You can also give them a frame of open brood to anchor them down.
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Later,
Ray
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« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2013, 09:22:26 AM »

First good job!!! Enjoy, who doesn't like free bees! My first swarm was retrieved with an AK-47. Good thing I have understanding neighbors. smiley I treat them just like a package. Feed well and fresh foundation. I have seen them reswarm so I put a queen excluder under them for a few days until they settle down. You can also give them a frame of open brood to anchor them down.

Ray, still laughing about what that must have been like!

Scott, you're right about the high. [and I know we're not the only beeks who'd do that...]

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