Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Attempting to Catch a Bee Swarm
Here is one of my beehives attempting to swarm. I know because they're THAT busy and the hive is in the shade. My hives aren't that productive. The bees begin swarming around the entrance waiting for the queen to emerge. Once she's out the swarm takes to the air and a cloud of bees fills the air. They don't go very far at first though.
Swarms land close to the parent hive at first. They do this to, first off make sure they have a queen, workers make the final decision if they're going with that queen or staying with the old hive, and they make sure they have enough food stores to make this new hive happen. In this case they're landing on my neighbor's house. My neighbors were so Cool about this though, thank god! Lots of people get angry and kill sitting swarms of bees. I've even herd of cases where neighbors are okay with swarms but their neighbors aren't and go ahead and "take care of that bee problem for yah."
Hanging swarms are ones where the bees are out in the open and they will move on. In the mean time call you local county office and request a beekeeper, tell them you have $100 hanging in a tree for them. Referring to the bees of course. Here is where some odd etiquette happens. The beekeeper is up 1 hive from this which is easily worth $100 by itself. They remove it for the home owner but should the home owner be charged money for this? It's polite to give gas money so that's $5 about but it's so small why bother. I suppose the home owner should pay money if they have demands, such as not damaging a tree, or removing a swarm because it's in the way of business or an event.
But then we have the Huge Spectacle Swarm. The one where police have roped off a bush, shut down two lanes of traffic, and the local news media has shown up. Here the beekeeper is regarded as a hero usually and that's their reward, minus some asshole being quoted in the local paper as "Beekeeper's Swarm Run Amuck."
So it's better to not let swarms happen or control them as you see fit. Splitting Hives is always an option but they don't always work. Even after dividing the hive they may still swarm. Thankfully there are a few products on the market to help catch swarms.
So we assumed the swarm catchers would work. Unfortunately they didn't and once again my hives are supporting the feral bee population (wild hives). They took off for the woods somewhere.
It turns out that swarm catching products such as Lemon Grass Oil slowly lose their potency. All our chemicals were from last year. But boy when these things are fresh do they work great! Last year we couldn't keep the swarms out of the thing! So these products do work but only when they're fresh.