Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Catching swarms

It’s been a super rainy spring and summer so far and was wondering if I can catch honey bees swarms while having so much rain and also seems difficult to catch and or attract honey bees this year do I just need to wait for dryer weather to catch my first swarm of honey bees or if you have any tips for catching honey bee swarms with as much rain as we have had

1 Like

I think a good idea would be to set up a bee swarm lure up a tree, about 3 or 4 meters. Apparently a 40 litre volume is the ideal volume. Make the entrance skinny enough for bees only, so that it doesn’t attract other wildlife.

cheers

Where are you located?

I most parts of the US, swarm season is or will soon be over. Doesn’t mean there aren’t any swarms, just much fewer as the bees turn their sights on winter prep instead of reproduction.

To quote an old northern hemisphere beekeeping adage:

A swarm in May is worth a stack of hay
A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon
A swarm in July isn’t worth a fly…

In other words, you are unlikely to get a high quality colony at this time of year from a swarm. Place an order for a nucleus or package next year, or start trying again for a swarm in March or April, depending on your location. :wink:

3 Likes

The weather here where I live has not been normal here like I mentioned in my original post been more rain here where I live dosent the weather and blooms of flowers haft to do with when we will see honey bees and swarms of honey bees your response you said before might be true if it was hotter weather and less rain but this year is different as far as the weather is it’s been lots of rain and very high humidity and not a lot of blooms I have only seen one or two honey bees at a time when I have seen them but not every day and also not a swarm one of the frustrating things is every two weeks when I go to check my swarm boxes and Rebate them the rain comes back in and washes off the bait lure I’ve put out to attract the swarms also I put my swarm boxes out very early this year maybe earlier than I should have when I started and I’ve also had boxes fall out of the trees because I didn’t get them up there good enough and I’m sure the storms have been a factor of them not staying in the trees as well but I have them mounted better now I don’t know if this matters much or not when catching a swarm but I’ve only been using 2 swarm boxes mostly because it’s all I could afford to buy is 2 swarm boxes thanks for the reply’s when we have better weather and more blooms I will probably end up buying a nuc box of bees since I have not been successful catching swarms this season

Another thing I wanted to ask is one of my swarm boxes has ants in it any honey bee safe stuff I can use to get rid of the ants in my swarm box? I just want to make sure it’s safe to use to get rid of the ants but won’t deter attracting the honey bees to the swarm boxes

I think patience is the key to catching swarms. I think that having the swarm lure secure in the tree, as you’ve done is important. Another thing would be if you place the bait inside the lure so it doesn’t get wet, with also 2 drops of lemongrass oil. You can spray the outside with cooking spray to deter ants, however I don’t think that the presence of ants would stop a swarm moving in, seeing as ants are everywhere in the natural world anyway.

Because you are experiencing unusual rain this season, next season might get back to normal. Therefore because you are seeing the odd bee now, to me that looks promising for swarms next spring. So early spring I’d suggest making sure that everything is A1 with the lures, in hopes that they will catch a nice big swarm for you, cheers

PS it wouldn’t hurt to book a nuc for next season so that if you do catch a swarm, that will give you a second colony. Plus you can focus on watching the nuc grow etc., which will take your focus away from waiting for a swarm to turn up, which may or may not happen. Sometimes things happen while we’re focused on other things. Like the old saying “a watched pot never boils”…

1 Like

Powdered cinnamon works great.

Why, free bees are free bees :slight_smile:
If nothing else, late swarm is a box of built comb. And comb is an apiary’s gold :slight_smile:

1 Like

@Honeynuc121 doesn’t tell us where in the huge US they are. It would be helpful to know at least a state, considering this response:

Unless you are in the California region with the argentine ant mega colony… In that case, it doesn’t work at all :thinking: