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Catching a Bee Swarm

By: Tommy B

I belong to an email list for a local beekeeping club and for the past month it has been hot with folks postings leads on swarms – in buildings, on the side roads, in gardens and so on. It’s amazing how quickly beekeepers get on these leads and immediately snatch them up. Just the other day one came across the email list and I called the lady 10 minutes later and she said she had already been innudated with calls and said someone was already on their way to catch the swarm!

I had kinda given up on the chance of catching a swarm when I got a call out of the blue from Everett. Everett had got a call from a mutual friend of ours about a swarm, but he was tied up and couldn’t get the swarm so asked me if I wanted it – heck yeah I said! I have heard stories of people catching swarms. Having to climb 20 feet in the air, shovel them off the ground, tear boards off a building, et cetera. As fate would have it the conditions that lead to my “catching” the swarm couldn’t have been more perfect.

The bees were on a small limb of a peach tree about 2 feet from the ground, in an easily accessbile and mowed area. The swarm was nice and tight and stretched out long towards the ground. I put a veil on (just in case, but have heard swarming bees are pretty docile because of the honey they ingest in preparation for their move), took a box and placed it on the ground directly under the swarm and gave the branch one good hard and fast yank down and ended up with most of the swarm in the box! I waited around for about 20 minutes so the flying bees could relax and join their sisters in the box, then taped it up and took the girls home. It’s been about a week and the bees are drawing out comb in their new top bar hive quite nicely.

bee swarm post image

I forgot my camera so this isn't my actual swarm, but very similar

 

 


Category: DIY Projects, How-To, Uncategorized

Comments (3)

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  1. Donna says:

    Congratulations on catching that swarm. Beekeeping is on my list firths future once we move to where we plan on staying for a while.

  2. Everett says:

    Tommy I went and got that other swarm yesterday. That makes two swarms I got this year and BOTH of them absconded! This one didn’t even stick around for 24 hours. I’m not sure what’s going on. I did find out that I’m supposed to use both follower boards and put them in the middle instead of on one end like I was doing. Also I didn’t block up the holes on this last one. If I get another swarm I’ll block up the holes and put them in the middle of the hive. But right now I’ve had it with swarms. Two beautiful days spent catching them when I needed to be in the garden. Oh well… there’s always next year! And now I’ve got four swarms under my belt with only one sting. 😀

    Everett

  3. I thinking we should do like my bee friend said. When you catch a swarm, “Put them in a cool, dark place for 24 hours before putting them in the hive”. He said this normally “kills” their swarm instinct and they will make themselves at home in their new hive. Worth a try…

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