CATCHING SWARMS

swarm_collection

  1. Assess the situation for safety. Many people have lost limb and even life trying to get three pounds of bees. Do not collect from unsafe heights or locations.  Not worth it!
  2. Stretch a white sheet below the swarm. Weigh the corners down with bricks or rocks.
  3. Set up safe access to the swarm using a ladder or step ladder if necessary.
  4. Spray the entire cluster with sugar syrup from a spray bottle.
  5. If possible, place the box below the swarm at ground level so that the swarm will fall into the box when it is dislodged from its location. It’s better to shake the bees directly into the box if you can, but be warned that the swarm will likely be heavier than you anticipate. Never try to catch a swarm in the box while you are balanced on a ladder!
  6. If the swarm is on a thin branch, you may be able to give the branch a sharp shake or two to make it fall. You may also prune the branch, and if possible, carry the branch to the box with the swarm still attached. Your goal is to get the queen in the box, not all of the bees.
  7. Gently place the bee-filled box upside down in the middle of the sheet, propped up with a rock or brick.
  8. Watch for bees entering the box and bees fanning with their Nasonov glands exposed near the entrance. If you don’t see this or see many bees leaving the box, you missed the queen and will have to wait for the bees to regroup, then try again.
  9. Wait for the bees to finish entering the box. This may take a while.
  10. Remove the bricks or rocks, pull the corners of the sheet up around the box, and tie it tightly shut for transport to your apiary.
  11. Install the swarm in a hive within 24 hours. Ensure it is not exposed to direct sunlight or excessive heat.
  12. Once you have installed the swarm, feed it well!IMG_3674