Sunday, March 17, 2013

Prepare for Swarm Season

I was just reading a bee supplier price list and noted that a four frame nuc this year is priced at $195.00.

That's some major cash for a new hive.

Swarm calls are frequent in spring and mid summer so if you're looking to increase your hive count why not consider swarm collecting?

Dad and I have only collected swarms from shrubs or trees outside.

For the most part the hives have been less than 10' off the ground so a step ladder works well.

We hold a nuc box under the swarm and then sweep them gently into the box.  There are blank frames in the nuc so the bees have something to hold onto.

We don't use smoke for the most part.  The key thing is to get the main part of the mass into your box because that's where the queen will be.

Once she's in the box it's really easy from there as the bees will smell their queen and gravitate to her.

You should leave the box on the ground until after dark and then come back to collect it.  That way you'll also get the scouts or any foragers that may have been out and about.

This swarm took about an hour to collect and was completely free.

One thing about wild bees is you don't know where they've come from or what diseases they may carry.

Treating for American Foulbrood will be important as well as Nosema.  Mites are a pest for all bees and you can assume they've got them too.

Some beekeepers have a couple beeyards and so they can use one as a quarantine area for new swarms.  Once they know they're treated they can be moved into the main yard.

There are a ton of techniques out there for swarm collecting, many of them are listed on U-Tube. Here's a list below.

Removing Bees from an Old Building - Outside This video is great showing removing bees from the wall of an old building - done from the outside. Note the awesome vacuum that they're using.

U-Tube Videos on Swarm Collecting