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I am more trying hard to keepy hives from throwing swarms. I have three I need to split.
 

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Had a neighbor call me today with a few hundred bees on the ground. I went over and saw the volleyball sized swarm hanging from a tree branch 20' away and a clump of bees on the ground.

A bit of work with a bee brush reveled a queen on the ground which I put in a cardboard box and closed the box up leaving a small opening in the top. Within a minute the bees started going into the box, maybe 15 bees a minute going into the small opening. After 30 minutes the box was getting heavier with bees. and the swarm on the tree limb was much smaller and flying around the box.

So I left for an hour to let the swarm join the queen. Came back and picked the cardboard box up but it was to lightweight so I opened it. Not a bee in the box.

Bummer.

Still I used the bee brush and a dustpan to sweep up 90% of the bees from the ground and put them in the cardboard box but I suspect I didn't get the queen. 70% of the bees were gone but I tossed at least 2000 bees in a open hive on my property. We'll see if any bees are in that hive tomorrow but I'm doubtful.
 

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Set 5 swarm traps out 2 weeks ago. Looks like 3 of them have already caught swarms which in my experience is really good for 2 weeks in. I'll wait another week before transferring the bees into a hive on my property to assure that the queens are fully vested in the new frames. The traps are 500 yds to 4 miles from my place.
 

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Have bees moving into an empty hive right now. No frames in hive.
Best idea to get frames installed without losing swarm?
I was thinking, smoke hive, install queen excluder at entrance, open hive and spray sugar water on bees, install frames with foundation, close up and wait.
 

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Have bees moving into an empty hive right now. No frames in hive.
Best idea to get frames installed without losing swarm?
I was thinking, smoke hive, install queen excluder at entrance, open hive and spray sugar water on bees, install frames with foundation, close up and wait.
I would open the top and start putting frames in, starting with a couple of frames of brood from another hive. Swarms usually will not abandon brood.
 

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Have bees moving into an empty hive right now. No frames in hive.
Best idea to get frames installed without losing swarm?
I was thinking, smoke hive, install queen excluder at entrance, open hive and spray sugar water on bees, install frames with foundation, close up and wait.
A little to late for this answer but yes, get the frames in fast, before the bees start building to much wild comb.
 

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It's been about 5 weeks since I put the swarm traps out; Remember that last year I put a few traps out and caught nothing. But I generally catch 2 swarms for every 3 traps each season This year I've already caught and moved to hives on my property; 7 swarms with 5 traps. Just put swarm #7 in a Lungstrom hive home tonight.
Good trapping season. Trapped swarms are a bit smaller than usual but all have now got capped brood.
 

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Had a neighbor call me today with a few hundred bees on the ground. I went over and saw the volleyball sized swarm hanging from a tree branch 20' away and a clump of bees on the ground.

A bit of work with a bee brush reveled a queen on the ground which I put in a cardboard box and closed the box up leaving a small opening in the top. Within a minute the bees started going into the box, maybe 15 bees a minute going into the small opening. After 30 minutes the box was getting heavier with bees. and the swarm on the tree limb was much smaller and flying around the box.

So I left for an hour to let the swarm join the queen. Came back and picked the cardboard box up but it was to lightweight so I opened it. Not a bee in the box.

Bummer.

Still I used the bee brush and a dustpan to sweep up 90% of the bees from the ground and put them in the cardboard box but I suspect I didn't get the queen. 70% of the bees were gone but I tossed at least 2000 bees in a open hive on my property. We'll see if any bees are in that hive tomorrow but I'm doubtful.
Swarms are funny things. I had one the other day just out of reach with a 6' step ladder. Threw a tow strap over the clump of hedgerow and pulled it closer/down with the tractor. Shook it into a nuc box and walked away. Came back, back up in the same spot, shook it back down, a few later, back up. Before I shook it down a third time and getting stung under the eye, I got a veil and put together a 5 frame nuc, laid newspaper on it, shook the swarm down a third time and put that swarm box on top of the newspaper. Lets see you get out of that.

Went back to the swarm spot, threw a outer cover on top of the ladder and shook the remaining bees down looking for any Q's that might still be there. Did this 2 or 3 times then realized I was looking at a virgin crawling around on the face of my veil. Grabbed her, ran to the house got a cage, stuffed in a few attendant bees in there and placed her in the top of the combined swarm/nuc. Released her a couple days later. Will check it out on Tuesday.

Wonder if when they chew through, that swarm will be back in the same place... We shall see.

ETA: Hopefully she gets bred, if she hasn't already. Could be other Q's in that swarm though. Out of all the swarms I have torn apart looking, most have 2 Q's with them.

Beekeeping: Variables orbiting unknowns.
 

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Are you guys catching your own swarms or someone else's?
In my case all swarms caught this year are not from my one hive that survived last winter. Traps are between 1 and 3 miles from my place and I use an ATV to check them weekly.. While most of the traps have been set back out I'm now up to 8 hives (7 of them new swarms). 8-10 hives is all I want so the last swarm I caught I didn't rehang the trap and currently have 4 traps out.

A side note which most beekeepers already know. When you move a trapped swarm you never get all of the worker bees. Some bees occasionally spend the night outside and you miss those bees. But the next day they come home and you'll see them crawling all over the tree where their home was for the next 2-4 days. So when I pull a trap I usually hang a new trap in it's place with the door closed and wait 4-5 days before I open the door so the old hive bees don't move into the new trap.

In some ways the more hives the better, and I've got the hive bodies for many more hives but.... 8 hives usually will give me about 15-20 gallons of honey a year which is plenty for my family's needs and a bit to sell on the side. Also by only keeping swarms I catch early in the year they have plenty of time to become strong enough to survive the next winter with minimial feeding through the winter. I'm into low effort beekeeping and logging buckets of sugar water 80 yds to the hives weekly is something I seriously try to minimize. When I someday retire the extra effort to keep a gazillion hives may be worth expanding the bee operation.

A local retired beekeeper and his wife keep 260 hives. Another local bee company keeps 4 employees to cover their 800 hives. Both operations also produce a lot of NUCs and Queens for sale.
 

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Just caught and rehomed swarm #7 using only 5 swarm traps A banner year!
It's time to slow down with the traps now. I've got 9 hives rolling along now which is enough. I'll leave the remaining 3 traps out of a few weeks.
 

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My 3 hives are going gang busters. Put one super on one and will do the other two either today or tomorrow before it gets hot. I'm trying to remember that two started a little later. Slowly building.

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I put supers on two yesterday. Will add to three more and one already had them. I need to treat for mites before it is too hot to use formic pro, but the local store was out. Used the two packets I had on one yard, will treat the other when my order arrived.

With very little rain I am not optimistic about the honey harvest this year.
 
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I put supers on two yesterday. Will add to three more and one already had them. I need to treat for mites before it is too hot to use formic pro, but the local store was out. Used the two packets I had on one yard, will treat the other when my order arrived.

With very little rain I am not optimistic about the honey harvest this year.
You are going to treat this early? My nucs were treated when I got them. I planned on after the first flow.

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I despise smoking with Oxidic acid but it remains the most affordable and reliable method. A long and hot process while weaing a bee suit.
I just bought a propane vaporizer from Varomorus.com for $149. They are based out of Ukraine with US based shipping so it arrived in 5 days..

It takes a bit of fiddling around with but I smoked 8 hives in about 10 minutes with no dragging the battery around and a lot more acid smoke pouring out of the hive.

Time will tell but at this point something to consider.
 
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