Some swarms just refuse to cooperate

Discussion in 'Swarms, Cut outs, and Trap outs' started by Bens-Bees, May 17, 2013.

  1. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Had a swarm call yesterday that I decided to go ahead and hit before taking my truck in to get it repaired. Got out there, it's hanging just above the ground, too low and wide to get my box under all of it so I got about 75% of the bees in the box on the initial shake, and rather than the rest marching in, these marched right on out and covered the outside of the box. So I gently used my arms to guide them back in and they came right back out. By this time I'm figuring that A: the queen did not make it into the box on the initial shake and B: they don't like the scent of the frames which had been freshly extracted so probably still had some phermones from the other colonies on them (yes extracting this early, yes it's too wet to sell as table honey but that doesn't bother me since I'm making mead out of this extraction). So the rest of them that didn't make it in the box had reclustered on the branch and some that were coming out of the box were reclustering on the branch too, so I figured maybe the queen was just still on the branch so I put some carboard down and shook them on the carboard and then dumped that into the box, again most came back out, so I did that 3 or 4 times until I was relatively certain the queen was either in the box or hanging out on the outside of the box. Then I smoked the branch to get the rest off of it. Well that kinda worked because they sure left, and about half the rest of the bees went and clustered on the side of a tall tree about 40-50' in the air. No way to get to them... still some bees were now fanning on the box and most the remaining ones were filing in slowly. By then it was early afternoon and I still needed to get my truck fixed so I decided to leave the box where it was and go get the truck fixed then return for it later to see if they would come back down to the box. 4 hours later the truck was fixed and I returned to find a tiny cluster back on the branch, a much smaller cluster up on the tree, and very few bees in the box, most bees flying around in circles around the box. I'm thinking what a mess by now, but I had no clue what to do to fix it given the lack of resources at my immediate disposal (no lemongrass oil or swarm lure or anything like that with me), so I ferried the bees from the small cluster on the bush over to the hive via my glove then let them be like that until dusk, the flying stopped and many of them that had been flying around the box went in to it, but it still seemed like there were fewer bees in the box than there should have been given the size of the swarm and there was still a baseball sized cluster on the tree. Anyway, some were still fanning on the box and I took that as a good sign so I hauled them home. What a mess of uncooperative bees. This morning those bees seemed to be checking out their surroundings but returning back to that hive. I'm thinking I should give them a frame of eggs to make an emergency queen out of just in case I didn't get the queen. I hate it when what should be an easy catch goes south. I've only had one other swarm catch that even comes close to comparing with this and they only left the box once after about 15 minutes because they didn't like one of the frames I had in it and returned shortly after removing that frame and re-shaking the cluster (I knew which frame it was because it was so old the comb was black and it had been drawn out wavy and it was basically an ugly frame).