Snobby swarms

Discussion in 'Swarms, Cut outs, and Trap outs' started by TomHudson, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. TomHudson

    TomHudson New Member

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    Hi everybody. I'm new here. I have a large garden (~1 acre) and grow fruit trees so bees are a huge plus for me.

    I had bees move into the soffit of my house several years ago; had a beekeeper friend come and remove them to his bee yard -- Would have kept them in a hive on my lot but he said you can't move them to another location so close to their original home as they would just try to return to the soffit.

    So he gave me a hive box with frames and wax foundation and I also picked up a couple of swarm traps and lures from Mann Lake just to be thorough. I've become really good at spotting scout bees and set out my traps as soon as I see them, usually mid-May.

    This year I've already had two swarms in the area. I never saw the actual swarms but LOTS of scout bees, some investigating the soffit where the old colony lived. Luckily I thoroughly caulked that area after they were removed so they didn't get in again.

    The hive box is set southeast-facing about 4 feet off the ground in a semi-shady area with a swarm lure in it. At one point during both swarms I was sure I had lured a swarm to move in because there were like 30 bees at a time coming and going, checking it out. I figured the rest of the bees would arrive shortly. Despite seeing all those bees coming and going the activity tapered off after a while and nobody moved in.

    I had thought the box would be enough (and also would be convenient because they could move in and set up shop without me having to move them there out of a trap). Apparently not. So yesterday after seeing a number of scout bees hanging around my house I placed my Mann Lake swarm trap with a lure in it about 8 feet up in a fir tree.

    Today both the trap and hive are seeing lots of activity by scouts. Still, given the lack of prior success, I'm not getting my hopes up.

    If this doesn't work, is there anything else I should be doing? Should I remove the frames from the box to make more room for them initially? I could set the hive box out in an open area that would get sun until about 1PM and shade after that. Not sure what they would be looking for. Looks like you guys have a lot of success, so I'd appreciate your experience and help.

    -Tom
     
  2. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Hello Tom and welcome to the site!!

    Could get an old dark comb from your buddy to stick inside of the trap, sometimes that will make all the difference, there is that "bee" smell on the old comb.

    Might try hanging one up around your soffit also.

    Just remember.....bees will be bees and do as they please!! (you know how women are :mrgreen: ).

    Good luck with it.
     

  3. TomHudson

    TomHudson New Member

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    OK, I was definitely thinking of putting one of the traps up by the soffit where they used to be -- I can see a number of scouts up there today checking it out, looking for a place to get in.

    But if I do catch a swarm up there (it has a handy second-floor balcony porch right where I'd set up the trap, so that would make it easy for me to set it up and access it) will I be able to take the trap down and load those bees into my hive box out in the yard? Or will they just try to go back up to where the trap was?

    I sure appreciate the help!
     
  4. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    If they are checking it out that hard just go ahead and set up an empty deep with foundation and put your lure scent in it. If they do move in they have hived themselves. Wait till dark, plug the entrance, ratchet strap the hive together and move to your yard.

    Is this one of your neighbors hives that is going to swarm or a feral hive in the area (don't know how close your neighbors that have bees are located to you.....next door, across the street, etc.)

    Look around in the area, you may find a swarm in the trees already, just waiting on you to come and get them.

    G3
     
  5. TomHudson

    TomHudson New Member

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    OK, I will try moving the hive box up there! :)

    I'm in the middle of a small city, our neighborhood has lots of older homes on medium-sized lots, most are about 1/2 acre but ours is about 1 acre. Lots of perennial gardens around, and a big farm field about 1/2 mile away. I have no idea where these bees keep coming from. About a year after we removed the bees from our soffit, I saw lots of scout bees outside the window of my home office, and freaked because I thought they might get in again somehow. I went up on our flat roof area to see if I could see where they were and saw a huge swarm of them on the north end of the house, not where they got in before and thought, oh no, a new entry! When I went out there and looked around, they weren't on the house at all but there was a basketball-sized cluster about 6 feet up in a fir tree there. I called my beekeeper friend and he brought over the box, a sheet and a smoker and just as he was setting up to shake them onto the sheet, they took off and headed west.

    Another swarm ended up in the roof over our neighbor's front porch and before I knew they were there, he had called an exterminator.

    For the last several years here, there were a couple of summers where I saw only bumblebees or other small native bees -- no honeybees at all. This year, they are back and this is the third time I've seen scout bees snooping around. Now that I'm starting to see them again, I want to avoid seeing them get exterminated like they were at my neighbor's house. I told my wife that if I could attract a swarm, we'd become beekeepers to help keep them safe.

    I'll let you know how things go! Thanks again.