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Rob Stockley

New Zealand swarm dates for season 2017/18

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So, got a call today from a guy who says bees have just moved into the gap between his basement and bedroom. 

This pic is one of the entrances, there is another to the right, and a third to the left, just around the corner of the building.
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Here is the inside. The arrows show where the entrances are, and the rectangle shows where the bees are. Buzzing can be heard in that area.

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He says they have only been there a couple of days, so I was just wanting some advice on getting them into a box. The ceiling panels are soft board, and the owner is allowing 2-3 panels to be cut out.

Just below the bottom edge of the photo is a 25cm wide shelf which a cardboard box can sit on.

 

So my question is, once the ceiling is cut away, what would be an effective method of getting the bees into the box?

Scooping handfulls gently into the box? 

Cutting any comb and putting that into the box?

Looking for the queen and caging her in the box? Then cut out comb and leave box for them to move into?

What should be done if there is brood comb in there? 

What could be done to establish the colony in another hive? Distance from current location?

 

Please let me know any ideas. I have booked to do the cutout tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday) at 4.30pm.

It does look straight forward to get access, just need options/plans for when I open the ceiling and see what is in there. Thanks...

 

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Bad photos. Just got back from collecting a swarm on a farm that needed 2 FD boxes to fit them all in. It didn't go too smooth as the branch broke just as I was about to shake them in to the box. Result approx 4kg of bees on the ground! ? Anyway we let them regroup and eventually got them all in the hive. Back early morning to collect. Free Bees ?

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On 11/7/2017 at 2:25 PM, RGreenhill said:

Well yesterday I was playing tour guide to a couple of friends and happened to run into a lovely local gentleman with the biggest swarm I’ve ever caught, 4.3kg of bees. Also our first of the season. (Sorry no photo, I can’t figure out how to compress my file size down to meet 2mb limit)

Only took me 3 days to figure out how to resize, but here it is :7_sweat_smile:

Pigswarmsmall.jpg

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On 13/11/2017 at 6:29 PM, PhilEvans said:

So, got a call today from a guy who says bees have just moved into the gap between his basement and bedroom. 

This pic is one of the entrances, there is another to the right, and a third to the left, just around the corner of the building.

How did you get on? More photos required.

 

If I'd seen this earlier I would have recommended a bee vacuum.

 

When you're finished you can't block those holes as they're important to the building. I would spray the cavity with BeeQuick and load it up with insulation. That should prevent another swarm in the same place. 

 

If they really had just moved in I would have advised poisoning them rather than damage the ceiling. I've also had "save the bees at any cost" requests. Anyway, to poison bees or wasps through the brick vents I use a little Kiwicare No Wasps Eliminator in a 10-15cm length of thin wall alkathene pipe. The cheap stuff for garden irrigation. Jam the end in the crack and seal around so the bees have walk through the poison in the pipe to get to the nest. It's cheap and easy. Also perfect for wall entry through the old toilet overflow. 

Edited by Rob Stockley

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25 minutes ago, Rob Stockley said:

How did you get on? More photos required.

 

If I'd seen this earlier I would have recommended a bee vacuum.

 

When you're finished you can't block those holes as they're important to the building. I would spray the cavity with BeeQuick and load it up with insulation. That should prevent another swarm in the same place. 

 

If they really had just moved in I would have advised poisoning them rather than damage the ceiling. I've also had "save the bees at any cost" requests. Anyway, to poison bees or wasps through the brick vents I use a little Kiwicare No Wasps Eliminator in a 10-15cm length of thin wall alkathene pipe. The cheap stuff for garden irrigation. Jam the end in the crack and seal around so the bees have walk through the poison in the pipe to get to the nest. It's cheap and easy. Also perfect for wall entry through the old toilet overflow. 

The ceiling opened up easily, it was that old style softboard tongue and groove stuff, and the homeowner had already taken some out for gas pipes and electricity.

Here is the colony, swarm moved in about 7 days ago, so about 10 nice white comb full of nectar and pollen. No eggs sighted.

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After getting most of the bees (maybe just under 2kg)and comb into a box, a heap more flew at the window. The queen seems to have moved up into the wall cavity as the owner can still hear them. You can see the small gap in the 3rd photo.

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Almost all those at the window marched into the nuc box and I'm going back today.

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I have plugged up the entrance holes temporarily with insulation and put the tiles back in place so the remainder cannot get out today, and I am going back this afternoon to see if the remainder have come back down to the main cavity. If they haven't, then they will have to be killed, but that is last resort. Sadly I think the queen is up there still.

 

I decided to do this for the experience, and only agreed because the ceiling tiles were easily removable. I have also arranged for the colony to be hived, along with the comb. A new queen or queen call can be added later.

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Got called to three swarms in one afternoon, busy day!

 

Though with one swarm it was too large to fit in my nuc. After getting most in the nuc I left it under the tree and came back a few hours later.

Nuc was too full and a few fistfuls were crowded around entrance, and I also saw that a soccer ball size of bees were still clustered on the original spot.

None were on the branch when I left, and I sprayed air freshener on and around it.

Considering most of the bees stayed in the nuc my assumption is the queen is there. Is it worth going back tomorrow to try collect the remaining ball of bees?

 

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I would never leave this many bees behind. Sorry. This is sloppy work and does not give beekeepers a good reputation.

Go back and collect those bees. Urgently.

 

Put the nuc into a full hive and put this lot in with them.

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2 hours ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

I would never leave this many bees behind. Sorry. This is sloppy work and does not give beekeepers a good reputation.

Go back and collect those bees. Urgently.

 

Put the nuc into a full hive and put this lot in with them.

I went back first thing this morning and collected most of them and left the box there, plan to collect it in the evening or next day but I'll monitor for the next few days.

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3 hours ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

I would never leave this many bees behind. Sorry. This is sloppy work and does not give beekeepers a good reputation.

Go back and collect those bees. Urgently.

 

Put the nuc into a full hive and put this lot in with them.

Sorry Trevor, I've been at it for a fraction of years compared to most here. Never had the box be full before and wasn't sure what to do in that situation so I was asking here for advice as it is never my intention to do a sloppy job.

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That’s good you went back. And learnt a new requirement for swarm collection. Always have a 10 frame box set up as well as a nuc box. The majority of swarms will fill a 10 frame a Full Depth box easily.

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I've collected a number of them and none have been more than a nuc box size, I thought the huge swarms people described were like a unicorn.

Out of curiosity, how do people handle swarms in public areas or streets?

Typically I leave the box for at least a few hours and collect it later. But if it is in a public area I would be worried someone would steal it.

Wait around twiddling my thumbs or just grab what I can get and spray the branch with air freshner?

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11 minutes ago, Qkrwogud said:

Sorry Trevor, I've been at it for a fraction of years compared to most here. Never had the box be full before and wasn't sure what to do in that situation so I was asking here for advice as it is never my intention to do a sloppy job.

All good.  As @dansar has said.  At least you went back and asked for assistance.  So full marks in that case..

As Dan said.  Always carry a nuc and a 10 frame hive.  1/2 a 20 lt bucket of bees will fill a FD box.

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Just now, Qkrwogud said:

I've collected a number of them and none have been more than a nuc box size, I thought the huge swarms people described were like a unicorn.

Out of curiosity, how do people handle swarms in public areas or streets?

Typically I leave the box for at least a few hours and collect it later. But if it is in a public area I would be worried someone would steal it.

Wait around twiddling my thumbs or just grab what I can get and spray the branch with air freshner?

Stay as long as possible and leave the rest.  Yes.  Swarm boxes get stolen from public location.

That is also why I use my vacuum unit.

 

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I take a large plastic dustbin and lid. I shake the bees into that and then put them in a box of the right size later. It's easier to cart round than a wooden box with frames and I've often had to go up trees or down gullies.  

I've never had to get a swarm in a public place though.

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In addition to regular boxes I take a couple of flattened wine boxes, scraps of wind break mesh, a Stanley knife and a roll of gaffer tape. 

 

Note: tape the bottom of the box from the inside to avoid crushing bees during transfer. 

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Finally collected the big swarm that wouldn't fit in my nuc box the other day. Three trips made, stung 10 times through my pants, my suit, my thick socks!!

This is the most aggressive swarm/colony I've dealt with, as soon as I open it up there is an army that flies out in attack mode, ping ping ping ping ping on my suit.

 

Got called to a swarm in the city, my ladder wasn't long enough so I gave up and let someone else try but they weren't successful either.

Ended up hiring a trailer and brought a longer ladder the next day as they were still there.

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Didn’t need to collect this one today?

 

10am I noticed scout bees, so thought yep probably in a couple of days there might be a swarm turning up.

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An hour later, about to go and get some lunch, bees come over the garage roof and head down to the neighbors section, hmm I might need to follow them. But no they circled around and came back up wind and started to move in to the nuc box where the scout bees were previously.

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Free bees and no effort needed to collect them. That’s 7 swarms collected since the start of October. Only one lost through absconding.

 

Edited by dansar
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1 minute ago, Qkrwogud said:

Can I ask what you do in terms of luring @dansar?

Absolutely nothing. Although in this case there might be some old frames in the box, I can’t remember. At any rate I will need to check them soon in case there are no frames.

i used to use lemon grass oil when I was actively setting up swarm lure boxes. Nowadays I have enough trouble keeping my own bees in their boxes let alone worry setting up bait hives.

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Just collected this monster if a swarm. I really needed to carry around an FD box or something..

image.thumb.png.95e30d1fcb37483fb4ab25bb07844974.png

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@Qkrwogud do you ever think about the person who has just lost all their bees when you get a swarm like that .

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1 minute ago, kaihoka said:

@Qkrwogud do you ever think about the person who has just lost all their bees when you get a swarm like that .

It's funny you say that, the neighbor to where this was keeps bees. The person that called me called their neighbor first and they responded "it's not my bees".

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45 minutes ago, Qkrwogud said:

Just collected this monster if a swarm. I really needed to carry around an FD box or something..

image.thumb.png.95e30d1fcb37483fb4ab25bb07844974.png

Get one of those 40 litre rubbish bins. Cut out some square sections around the sides and silicone glue in some security door screen mesh for ventilation. When you have the bees at home or the apiary you can then pour them in to the appropriate sized hive body.

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1 hour ago, kaihoka said:

@Qkrwogud do you ever think about the person who has just lost all their bees when you get a swarm like that .

Not for a second.  Once the bees fly, they belong to whomever catches them.

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deleted post.

Edited by dansar

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