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Massive swarm catch - photos and video

 
Michael Cox
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This is the huge swarm I collected this weekend. I got 4 stings dealing with them - 3 on my thighs while crouching down. Need to get better protection as I react quite badly to them.

Massive swarm catch

 
tel jetson
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fun. what do you think the stings were about? I generally have a difficult time convincing anybody in a swarm to sting me, even in short sleeves and shorts and sans veil.

is that large for your region? that appeared to be toward the middle to smaller end of swarms I've collected. the most recent one I collected probably would not have fit in your cardboard box.
 
Michael Cox
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Hi Tel, That is definitely at the top end of swarms I've collected but it is unusual for me to see prime swarms, I mostly have collected smaller secondaries.

They started stinging when I swept them from the trampoline - I think I may have hurt one and the rest went ape-shit at me. I changed my clothes but suspect that the veil still smelled of venom. The jeans I was wearing were relatively tight around my thighs; lesson learned!

Sizewise - they weighed in at 2.4kg, which the internet tells me is around 20,000 bees. The box is a home made swarm trap, made of MDF. It was half full when the swarm settled properly. The mesh seals it nicely for transport and is more breathable than a sheet for a car journey.
 
tel jetson
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Michael Cox wrote:Hi Tel, That is definitely at the top end of swarms I've collected but it is unusual for me to see prime swarms, I mostly have collected smaller secondaries.

They started stinging when I swept them from the trampoline - I think I may have hurt one and the rest went ape-shit at me. I changed my clothes but suspect that the veil still smelled of venom. The jeans I was wearing were relatively tight around my thighs; lesson learned!

Sizewise - they weighed in at 2.4kg, which the internet tells me is around 20,000 bees. The box is a home made swarm trap, made of MDF. It was half full when the swarm settled properly. The mesh seals it nicely for transport and is more breathable than a sheet for a car journey.


I like the swarm box. I have intended to build something similar for years now, but always end up using buckets or cardboard boxes when it comes down to it.

swarms are generally friendly, but I do recall one rather ill-tempered swarm I collected my first year. six stings on my face and neck. swelled up so much I had to call my sister to drive me home. that colony has been my most vigorous.
 
Michael Cox
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Ouchy.

I'm really twitchy about getting stung round the face and neck. I'm too sensitive to them, and come up in horrible swollen areas. I'm still getting over the sting I took on my hand on Saturday - I can at least get my ring on today!
 
tel jetson
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a sting anywhere on my face generally means at least one eye swollen shut for a day or more. I try to avoid that.
 
Kelly Smith
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Michael Cox wrote: The box is a home made swarm trap, made of MDF.


Hi Michael,
could you post a few pics of the bait/swarm box you use?

i am looking to build one for next year and you seem to being doing good in you bee endeavors, so no need to reinvent the wheel

thanks for the video. good to see how to add bees into a top bar hive.
 
Michael Cox
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Update on this hive:

They have been in the top bar hive just 12 days, and I had a free afternoon from work so popped out to see them. Boy have they been busy!

They have drawn out 7 perfect combs, straight filling the size of the box with plenty of stores. They still don't have enough comb for them all to stand on, so expect that they will keep on building like mad over the next week or so. They started with some straight scraps of comb from another failing hive (with laying workers and no queen) so had a good guide to get started with. I'm really glad I gave them that as sorting out cross combing on these guys would be a nightmare - there are so many bees and they are nasty little buggers. One managed to sting me on the chin today, where my veil was tucked in to my suit!

Taking inspiration from elsewhere I fitted a blank bar into the middle of their existing comb - I want them to continue drawing straight comb and they are more likely to do so with drawn out comb either side.

 
Michael Cox
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Kelly Smith wrote:
Hi Michael,
could you post a few pics of the bait/swarm box you use?


Hi Kelly - sorry I missed your post earlier. I would share what I did, but I have reservations about the design and wouldn't do it the same way in future. The boxes are useful but don't match well with the top bar hives I have ended up using. The bar length is wrong and the slides done have the right shape.

MDF worked well though, as I am able to use an ordinary stapler or drawing pins to seal it with wire mesh. Big swarms get hot and need a lot of air circulation. The way I always moved them previously was in a box wrapped in a sheet. The sheet ended up heavy and damp from condensation from the bees after a 30 minute car ride.
 
edwin lake
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Michael Cox wrote:
Kelly Smith wrote:
Hi Michael,
could you post a few pics of the bait/swarm box you use?


Hi Kelly - sorry I missed your post earlier. I would share what I did, but I have reservations about the design and wouldn't do it the same way in future. The boxes are useful but don't match well with the top bar hives I have ended up using. The bar length is wrong and the slides done have the right shape.

MDF worked well though, as I am able to use an ordinary stapler or drawing pins to seal it with wire mesh. Big swarms get hot and need a lot of air circulation. The way I always moved them previously was in a box wrapped in a sheet. The sheet ended up heavy and damp from condensation from the bees after a 30 minute car ride.


I liked your blog and story. Sorry about the stings.

I am using Warre style TBHs now. I have been buying my medium 8-frame boxes from Brushy Mountain Bee Supply in my home state of NC. However, I do not really care for the top bars they sell. Do you know a good source for buying top bars with the right angles on the bars. The Brushy Mountain top bars seem designed to add some kind of starter strip. I would rather just put the bars into my hives and let the bees do the work.

----

Nevermind. I may have answered my own question: BeeThinking sells what I am looking for.
 
Michael Cox
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edwin lake wrote:
However, I do not really care for the top bars they sell. Do you know a good source for buying top bars with the right angles on the bars. The Brushy Mountain top bars seem designed to add some kind of starter strip. I would rather just put the bars into my hives and let the bees do the work.


Hi Edwin,

I'm trying the approach in this video. Basically using a piece of string glued in place with some melted beeswax.



I did this last night and prepared about 20 bars in 45 minutes or so. You just need a cheap soldering iron (£7 from amazon), some cotton string and some beeswax. I bought 1kg of wax in small blocks as I don't yet have any from my own hives.
 
edwin lake
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Michael Cox wrote:
edwin lake wrote:
However, I do not really care for the top bars they sell. Do you know a good source for buying top bars with the right angles on the bars. The Brushy Mountain top bars seem designed to add some kind of starter strip. I would rather just put the bars into my hives and let the bees do the work.


Hi Edwin,

I'm trying the approach in this video. Basically using a piece of string glued in place with some melted beeswax.



I did this last night and prepared about 20 bars in 45 minutes or so. You just need a cheap soldering iron (£7 from amazon), some cotton string and some beeswax. I bought 1kg of wax in small blocks as I don't yet have any from my own hives.


That is cool.

I checked with Bee Thinking. The specs on their top bars are less than 18 inches. I doubt they will work on my Lang 8-frame boxes. I guess I will just have to tinker with the Lang top bars I have like you show in your vid.
 
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