Friday, June 6, 2008
swarm catching 101 - our method
to catch a swarm, we bring along the following items: bee gear (suit, hat, gloves, smoker though we don't use it), an empty hive box (filled with frames/foundation but no bees), a huge piece of cardboard, a ladder that folds out to 24', a 5 gallon bucket, clippers to clip a branch if necessary and rope.
when we get there, greg suits up while i size up the situation. then we lay the cardboard down on the ground under wherever they are and set the hive box on top.
we remove the hive cover and 3-4 frames and set those aside. we also unplug the hive opening.
depending on the height, we set up the ladder (we didn't need this step because they were so close to the ground but usually, they are 10-15' in the air) and then survey their location. we may tie rope to the branch to help hold it steady if we have to cut it. if we can cut it and bring it down safely, then we do. if not, greg tries to knock all the bees into the 5 gallon bucket, especially the queen. i think there's a hive brush that you can brush the bees in, but he just uses his gloved hands to sweep them into the bucket.
once they are safely on the ground, we dump them out of the bucket into the hive (or brush them off the branch if they are still attached). the key is to get the queen into the hive and then everyone else will follow.
once the majority is in, the frames go back in and the cover goes back on the top. we then leave them to move on in until sundown. the other night, we only had to wait about 30 minutes since we captured them at 7:30pm. by 8:00, they were settled nicely into the box.
then, we plug up the opening, load everything back into the truck and take it home. we set the bees where we want them and unplug the opening. the next morning, they wake up, check out their new digs and get to work pollinating our flowers and clover.
i keep forgetting to bring the camera get some action shots. hopefully next time i'll remember!
that's how we do it. anyone else have a different route they take?