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Three Swarm Captures in 24 Hours - From Difficult, to Easy, to Effortless

This past week (Spring 2018) I enjoyed the thrill of experiencing three swarm captures within 24 hours time.  The first was difficult, the second was easy, and the third was effortless.


The first one was a swarm that had clustered about 20 feet up in a big western red cedar tree.

The swarm was large and, unfortunately, was actually hanging on three separate branches.  To reach this swarm, which was over 20' off the ground, I had to park my Expedition under the tree, climb up on top with an 8' step ladder, drag the ladder up and set it up on top of the vehicle, climb the ladder, and then reach up with a rake to pull the branches down one at a time. Sheesh. My wife watched, horrified, from the living room window. Afterwards, she made me promise to never do that again.  (In the photo below you can see the blue handle of the rake hanging in the tree.  The cluster was well above that.)

In three separate trips I shook one of the three clusters (each on a separate branch) into a tub, climbed all the way down, and then gently brushed them into a horizontal log hive that I had prepared as a new home for a swarm.

Here is a video of the last of the bees moving into the log:

Here is a video of the swarm just after all the bees had moved into the log:

And, here is a video of a few of the bees Nasonoving at the entrance after I had closed up the side access panel:



This swarm had clustered inside the two open cavities of one of the concrete blocks that was supporting the hive they had just come from.

To re-home this swarm, my friend tipped back the entire hive, I slid out this concrete block, slid another in its place, and then set the whole concrete block in a tub.  In the photo below the swarm looks small, but keep in mind that the bees are completely filling the two cavities of the block.




When this swarm was spotted, it had left its home hive and clustered on an empty Bee Tree Hive prototype sitting on a 5-acre piece of property where the owners practice permaculture.  The property is surrounded by densely wooded public lands.

I had not had a chance to configure the inside of this hive as a swarm trap or use any kind of lure.  Yet, of all the options this swarm had, they chose this Bee Tree Hive for their new home.  That was super encouraging.

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