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Equipment needed to go collect a swarm?

Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Swarms and sites - offered and wanted
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Ernie Farmboy
Foraging Bee

Joined: 02 Sep 2009
Posts: 141
Location: USA, Olympia, Washington

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:52 am    Post subject: Equipment needed to go collect a swarm? Reply with quote

It seems to me that there was a post somewhere on this forum where fellow keepers discussed and listed all the possible tools and equipment that were needed to successfully answer swarm calls and collect swarms. I tried searching but I don't seem to be able to navigate the site search well enough to find it. If there is a post and someone can link me to it, I'll go from there. If not I'm ready to start a dialog here listing swarm collection tools and equipment we use for successful results. I collect my hive's swarms and regularly chase swarm calls. I am still amazed at the different methods and equipment that beekeepers come up with to make the process easier.
Keep on Keepin' Bees
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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


It may be that the previous thread got lost in an accidental admin deletion.

It is a very good idea to start a new thread though especially as we want to encourage people to collect swarms wherever possible. I will list my basic equipment but some situations do call for more radical ideas. Last year I rather wished I possessed a bow and arrow for some particularly high swarms and I once saw a video of someone who shot a swarm down.... aiming for and hitting the branch not the swarm itself of course.

Anyway my list is as follows:-

an old sheet

a cardboard box.... I find it is beneficial if you can paint the inside with molten beeswax but it's not essential..... once you have captured one swarm in the box it will smell attractive to subsequent swarms, so do retain the box once you have hived your first swarm for future use

secateurs, long handled loppers and a telescopic shanked pruner
a bee brush and plastic or cardboard scraper and small container.... ice cream carton size.

a lightweight rope and a heavy object that can be tied to the end and thrown over a branch that cannot be reached by the telescopic pruner.

and of course stepladders or full size set depending on circumstances.

I've captured one or two quite unhappy swarms in recent years so I wear my bee suit.

I have also used a long length of 4inch(100mm) pipe with a mesh and cloth bag taped to the end to almost "hoover" a swarm (using gravity instead of suction) from the underside of a branch down the pipe and into the bag. Bernhard posted a thread regarding this technique some time a go with photos and I found it worked really well for a swarm that was just too high for the pruner and too far out from the trunk for ladders. The bees falling down the pipe makes the weirdest sound!!

I think that's all of my tips and equipment but look forward to reading others
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Golden Bee

Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1137
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On top of Barbara's list, I'd add that I have a water bottle (as used on water coolers) with the bottom cut off and a pole fixed into the neck of the bottle. Used in the same circumstance as Barbara's 4 inch pipe, but knock the swarm into the bottle and lower to the ground then pour the bees into your box/skep. I like a skep as it looks like I'm (in the words of a house owner I collected from last year) "a proper beekeeper" !!! Laughing

I also take a smoker and water spray to "encourage" the bees to move the way I'd like them to if necessary.

I always take a few observation smocks so home owners can be "up close" with the swarm if they want. Good for beekeeping PR.
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