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I am now a swarm catcher!

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Geoff 

House Bee
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Just done the first one after going on the list. I was getting fed up with about 4 calls over bumble bees and two over masonary bees. I asked "are you sure they are honey bees?"
"oh yes" the lady said " we used to keep bees ourselves"
Brilliant, i thought.

She also told me that they had landed 30 minutes ago and were in a tree stump.
Ok, I thought no need to go climbing ladders. So off i went looking for this farm.

When I got there late yesterday afternoon, it was not quite a stump. It was a huge beech tree that had fallen over lifting up its roots. The bees had found a hole right in the middle of the upturned roots and had gone inside a hollow in the rotten heart of the tree.

This trunk was about 6-8 feet across, the scale of it was huge. I scraped at the rotten entrance and widened the hole but I could only reach in so far, not as far as the main cluster.
I had to go back this morning with pick axe and axe but that did not get me far enough in - they were about 8 feet in, up a very narrow crack.

In the end the farmer came down and drilled two holes down to them and I poured loads of smoke in. However the bees did not fancy the box I took, they jammed themselves in the chimney we had created. So i put a white sheet down, put a hive on it with some drawn foundation and swarm lure, chucked some bees in and sure enough they decided it was better than the smokey old hole they had just vacated. Took two sweaty hours to get to that stage.

Have just been down to collect the hive and have put it in the garden. Will let them out in the morning. I did not see a marked queen, but I hope there was a queen in there cause they were the gentlest bees I have ever come across, they were real pussy cats. When you consider I was digging away and smoking like mad and the farmer was drilling and I only got two stings - and that was because I touched the bees.

Funny thing was when I came back to pick up my bait hive to house them I found that that seemed occupied. So I had go rooting round the shed for other spare equipment.
So completely knackered. Just hope that next time it will be an easier one.
 

Polyanwood 

Queen Bee
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Great news Geoff. Do you think they were wild bees or escapees? How long do you think they has been in the tree stump?
 

MrTrueman 

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Well done Geoff!

I hope you got HM.

I have haut od about six bumble bee calls but not honey bees yet!
 

gandalfwhitewizard 

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Well done! Had a similar one this week well one of 3 this week, wednesday had a swarm that had been out since Saturday! 25ft up a pine tree lucky for me and the bees the owner of the house owned a building company and sent 2 chaps with scaffolding round for me to climb up and cut the branch and collect a v. large swarm. The other 2 today nice and easy in low bushes seems boring by comparison but know the feeling well! hot and bothered after the climbing but worth it...
 

Heather 

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Wow you certainly earned those :svengo:

Feral or escapees? I thought all feral were now extinct- and any in woodland etc would have been unclaimed swarms from last year. I don't think varroa allows our 'ferals' to live more than 3 years- so a thing of the past.

I have collected 7 so far this year (running out of equipment - but building the colonies up to give to new keepers) but they have all been casts - and queens are ladies in waiting - slow patient game - :toetap05:
 

Haughton Honey 

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Lots of Commercial hives.......
Nice one Geoff. I've had about ten calls....the first a very large primary swarm in a roof that I couldn't get even with two attempts, four bumble bee callouts and five 'they're definately not honeybees and sound like bluebottles from what they're saying on the phone' type calls!
 

Geoff 

House Bee
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I think they have to be escapees. I cannot work out whose though. There is quite a bit of oil seed rape near to where I got them and i wonder whether someone has hives in there, but people are being very secretive - its not many miles away from where the 18 hives got stolen.
The bees arrived at the tree late Thursday afternoon, about an hour before I got there. I had a go then but realised it was going to be a long job and left it to yesterday morning. I ended up with a brown suit because i spent most of the morning inside what looked like a hobbit hole by the time i had finished. Either that or it was all the smoke i was using.
I think the bees must not have come far. According to the farmer's wife there was no hanging about on a branch while scout bees surveyed likely holes. They soared and swooped as a huge cloud and then just dived for the hole - they knew where they were going.
Have just been into the hive and have filled it up with nice fresh, smelly foundation. Did not use smoke, no need. They flew about but no jumping on the beekeeper. I hope they are productive cause they make the ideal garden bee. They are already flying in with pollen. If they are good honey producers then i would try to breed them cause they would be useful for the association for beginners.
Next job is to turf the bees out of the bait hive. There are not enough of them in there. They can have a nuke hive instead until they can show they have a breeding queen. Don't know where they came from either.
Went to Wynne Jones in Ruthin for foundation.They are running out of hardware and Thornes are not sending any more out for 3 weeks. Foundation is running low, everybody is going mad on bees.
White Park if you are still looking for swarms send me a pm. I am just down the road from you. If I get any more swarm calls I can house them in a wine box, thats all - Wynne jones had run out of commercials. My other hives are already accounted for as I have two nuke colonies coming this week.
 
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