Catching wild beesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Hi, If I catch a wild swarm, How do I place them in my hive so they stay? And what about a Queen, do I still need to buy one? Thanks for any help. Steve in Wisconsin
-- Steven A. Smart (IamSmart@centurytel.net), April 27, 2002
I agree on one point--the swarm contains a queen. I was taught it contains the old queen and the new one remains with the old hive. Just break off the branch they swarm on and place it on a brood box--shake them in with 3 frames pulled out and put the top on. Replace the missing frames in two or three days. Bees in the state of swarm are very docile.
-- Joel Rosen (JoelnBecky@webtv.net), April 27, 2002.
Steven, if you want to REALLY make them stay, and you have other hives, just put a frame of brood in the new hive. Bees hate to leave brood. It works very well. Pardon my asking, but where are you catching wild bees?
-- Judy in IN (Whileaway3@cs.com), April 27, 2002.
now wait, if the bees have their queen, don't they kill off any other females that hatch? and if by chance, they let one live, don't the queens fight to the death to see who will be the next queen? i thot i saw something on PBS about it...but i might be mixing some stuff from the show up. anyone have the answer? now i'm curious.
-- C (email@example.com), April 27, 2002.
I have a book on bee keeping (I haven't raised them myself) which said that when a hive is crowded, damaged, diseased, or otherwise unsuitable the old queen will leave, causing a swarm of older bees to leave with her, leaving queen cells behind as well as some of the younger bees. If the new queen doesn't think the hive is suitable either, SHE will leave with the (now) older bees. If she wants to stay she kills her rivals, If she doesn't the NEXT queen to hatch will leave with the older bees if she doesn't like the hive either, etc. He called it "swarming a hive to death". This book was written a LONG time ago, there may be a lot known about bees now that he didn't know then, but that is what he said.
-- Terri (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 27, 2002.
OK, Steven, here is the straight skinny:
If you catch a wild swarm, the likelihood of it having a queen is about l00%. Bees will hardly form a swarm without a queen. If the queen is lost or injured they will generally return to the colony they came from.
The suggestion that you put a frame or two of EGGS AND BROOD in the hive you use to catch the bees is a good one. If the queen in the swarm is hurt in the transfer, or if she is old and weak, or chilled, the bees will start new queen cells from eggs or brood not over three days old. This is the reason you want eggs and brood, not capped brood or nearly capped brood.
If the bees do rear a new queen, the first out of her cell will kill all the other young queens in the remaining queen cells. She may permit the old queen to live and lay eggs a while longer, but the old queen will soon disappear.
If you know nothing of bees, get a book and read. The mites that now afflict our bees have made beekeeping a much more onerous task than it once was.
-- Jimmy S (Macrocarpus@gbronline.com), April 27, 2002.
Last year we caught a swarm. There is always a queen in a swarm. But if you have no other hives, just place in a new hive body thats set up. You will have to feed them sugar water, since there is no honey in the hive. Like others said get a book, go to the library. You also need to check to see if the queen is laying well after afew days. Just start reading up. Best to you....
-- Suzanne (email@example.com), April 28, 2002.
The last time I caught a couple swarms was when my hive swarmed a couple years ago. The hive swarmed, I caught the hive a put it in a new hive. They decided they didn't like the new accomodations and left. A second swarm came from the same hive a few days later (which is common, as previously mentioned), and I hived that swarm. This time I treated it more like a new package hive and reduced the entrance and stuffed the small entrance with grass for a day. I don't know if they stayed because it was a young, inexperienced queen or because I treated it like a new package, but the second swarm stayed.
This information may or may not help you because dealing with bees isn't really like dealing with livestock. Honeybees are wild insects that we try to convince to stay in a place of our choosing and by providing them with excellent housing, we try to convince them to share their bounty with us (however unwilling that sharing may be). They are still wild insects and they don't read the books and wouldn't follow the directions even if they could. Still, in all, it's better to read and get an idea (and a hint of addiction) as to what beekeeping is before you dive in. Have fun!
-- Sheryl in Me (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 28, 2002.
An old beekeeper told me when you catch a swarm to put a white sheet from the hive enterance to the ground in front of the hive, place the swarm on the sheet and they will walk into the hive and stay. I've tried it twice and it has worked like a charm.
-- Paul (email@example.com), April 28, 2002.