Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: Swarm trap observation  (Read 285 times)

Offline Nock

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 610
  • Gender: Male
Swarm trap observation
« on: April 27, 2021, 07:38:28 pm »
So this year I got a trap right outside one my windows. Normally with my other traps I?m not there but for a few minutes every week to check. So I watch this one every afternoon when I get home. Last week it started as one scout there pretty consistent. Over couple days changed to a couple bees. Yesterday a dz or so there. Today several dz. I?m expecting them to move in any day now. For the ones that have had to the chance to watch is that normally how it goes?  I guess it all depends on each individual colony how quickly they need to find a home.

Offline sawdstmakr

  • Global Moderator
  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 11709
  • Gender: Male
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2021, 09:03:33 pm »
Nock,
Scouts are always keeping an eye out for good nest locations. As the hive preps for swarming, they increase their search.  When the hive swarms the scouts are checking out every location that they can find and come back to the swarm and dance for the location they found. Then other scouts check it out as the scouts check out the different locations they dance for the best ones. If it is a so so location their dance shows that. If it is a great location the dance is much more vigorous.
When all of the scouts are dancing to the same location, the decision is made and the young bees are told to vibrate their wing muscles to warm up and within minutes the swarm takes off for the new location.
I was lucky enough to arrive at a very large swarm as it was taking off and walk with it for about a half mile. If you get a chance, do it.
As you are walking with the swarm, there are several thousand bees flying over your  head at a normal walking speed. What was strange the first time was at eye level bees are flying at you at a very high speed. What is happening is these are the scouts who know where they are going and once they reach the front of the swarm they drop down below the young bees and fly at high speed to the back of the swarm. Once there they fly to the top of the swarm and fly at high speed in the direction of the new hive location. They do this horse track pattern above and below the swarm to direct the swarm. The entrance to the new hive is marked by the scouts using their nazenoff gland during their voting process and once in the area that is what the bees use to find the hive.
If you have scouts checking out your trap, watch them closely. When it looks like there are enough bees for it to be a good hive and they act real excited and sometimes even do a dance at the entrance, it usually means that that will bee their new home. Don?t be surprised if suddenly there are no bees at the trap. Keep checking the trap. They will be arriving soon depending on how far away the hive is and how far the queen can fly with out stopping. I have had them arrive in 30 minutes and I have had them wait until the next day.
Hope this helps.
Jim Altmiller

Offline CoolBees

  • Queen Bee
  • ****
  • Posts: 1254
  • Gender: Male
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2021, 09:35:42 pm »
Jims answer is excellent.

I've a friend that catches a lot of swarms in his backyard - for 12+ years now - and for whatever reason. He gets to watch it happen every year. It's pretty much as you describe: 1 scout, occasionally, for a few days. Then suddenly 2 or 3. Then 10 or 20 for a day or so. Then the swarm ... as Jim pointed out ... "if" they choose that location.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline cao

  • Queen Bee
  • ****
  • Posts: 1488
  • Gender: Male
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2021, 11:08:02 pm »
I have several empty hives and swarm traps beside my garage.  When I see several scouts checking them out, I know it is time to take a walk to my hives and start looking in the trees. :grin:  More often than not there is one of my hives that I didn't catch in time and they swarmed and are sitting in a tree.


I haven't been able to walk along with a swarm very far.  The couple that I was there when they took off flew where I couldn't follow.  But similarly, it is way cool standing next to where the swarm is landing after taking flight from the hive.

Offline Nock

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 610
  • Gender: Male
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2021, 11:46:16 pm »
Nock,
Scouts are always keeping an eye out for good nest locations. As the hive preps for swarming, they increase their search.  When the hive swarms the scouts are checking out every location that they can find and come back to the swarm and dance for the location they found. Then other scouts check it out as the scouts check out the different locations they dance for the best ones. If it is a so so location their dance shows that. If it is a great location the dance is much more vigorous.
When all of the scouts are dancing to the same location, the decision is made and the young bees are told to vibrate their wing muscles to warm up and within minutes the swarm takes off for the new location.
I was lucky enough to arrive at a very large swarm as it was taking off and walk with it for about a half mile. If you get a chance, do it.
As you are walking with the swarm, there are several thousand bees flying over your  head at a normal walking speed. What was strange the first time was at eye level bees are flying at you at a very high speed. What is happening is these are the scouts who know where they are going and once they reach the front of the swarm they drop down below the young bees and fly at high speed to the back of the swarm. Once there they fly to the top of the swarm and fly at high speed in the direction of the new hive location. They do this horse track pattern above and below the swarm to direct the swarm. The entrance to the new hive is marked by the scouts using their nazenoff gland during their voting process and once in the area that is what the bees use to find the hive.
If you have scouts checking out your trap, watch them closely. When it looks like there are enough bees for it to be a good hive and they act real excited and sometimes even do a dance at the entrance, it usually means that that will bee their new home. Don?t be surprised if suddenly there are no bees at the trap. Keep checking the trap. They will be arriving soon depending on how far away the hive is and how far the queen can fly with out stopping. I have had them arrive in 30 minutes and I have had them wait until the next day.
Hope this helps.
Jim Altmiller
I?d love to catch one moving like that and follow it. Sounds like a amazing site to see. I got another trap that has a lot of scouts on it as well. It?s a productive spot. Caught two there last year. I figured they would be there today when I stoped after work. They weren?t yet but were doing the dance on the entrance as you described. Also had one move in to a box today as well. Buddy mine checked it yesterday. No scouts whatsoever on it yesterday. Then today they moved in. Very interesting. Thanks

Offline sawdstmakr

  • Global Moderator
  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 11709
  • Gender: Male
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2021, 08:13:06 am »
Here is a video of a very large  swarm moving into a large swarm trap. It was so strong that they were able to fill 9 empty frames with comb and brood and build another 12 inches of comb below that in 10 days.



I put the jar of lemon grass oil on top of this box to make sure they went in the large trap only. When this started there were 3 traps, one was on top of the pay phone that I removed and one was under my neighbors shed that turned out to also have a new swarm in it.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 08:42:38 am by sawdstmakr »

Offline sawdstmakr

  • Global Moderator
  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 11709
  • Gender: Male
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2021, 08:26:27 am »
Here is a video of Tom Seeley explaining the process.

https://www.cornell.edu/video/honeybee-decision-making

Offline Nock

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 610
  • Gender: Male
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2021, 12:06:12 pm »
That was a huge swarm Jim. Thanks for the link to the other video. Learned a lot in that. From what he says they don?t start looking until after they swarm. Found that interesting. I will have to get that book as well.

Offline Ben Framed

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 5721
  • Mississippi Zone 7
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2021, 12:46:33 pm »
That was a huge swarm Jim. Thanks for the link to the other video. Learned a lot in that. From what he says they don?t start looking until after they swarm. Found that interesting. I will have to get that book as well.

They may have already been looking and have some locations in mind but; I always wondered about the (already have a new home picked out, before the swarm theory).  If that is the case, why would they go to a nearby limb to hang out on? Why not go straight to the new location if there was a new location already picked out? But with bees, who knows lol.

I do know the following from experience. I have lost one swarm via the going to the new location situation. I had a nice swarm in a magnolia tree. I did not know it was there or how long it had been there. When I noticed it I realized it was out of reach from a 10 foot step ladder so I retrieved my bee vac with the 16 foot extension and came back just in time to see them take flight. I tried to follow them but once they had the location of their intent, it was useless. They were gone! I could not keep up! Over the fence and through the woods! :grin:

Jim when you watched the swarm come in, did you see the origin of their flight? In other words, did they come straight from one of your hives, or from a tree, or other etc?
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Nock

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 610
  • Gender: Male
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2021, 05:28:49 pm »
[ You are not allowed to view attachments ][ You are not allowed to view attachments ][ You are not allowed to view attachments ]
Well it wasn?t 10 minutes after I made my post earlier this morning my son calls me and said there is a swarm at the house. Bad thing was they weren?t going to my trap. They were trying to go in my carport. I didn?t think of it at the time but I had made the perfect swarm trap in my carport. I?ve had 4 deeps with frames stacked in there. All from dead outs over the winter. All packed with honey. I have been open feeding them back just to clean them out for the comb. That?s where they were headed. They were confused on the location since back in the carport. Why they were bunched up out on the front. When I got there I saw the big bunch on eve and a small group on my mule. Went straight to the small group and sure enough Queen was there. So I go to get a clip. By that time they started flying to mule. It was a big swarm. There was at least 6 frames worth of bees in those deeps plus what was hanging and still flying around. It was a amazing site being right in the middle of it. I was like Jim had bees all over me. Got them a box set up on top of a ladder next to the cluster on my mule. Saw the Queen one more time but didn?t get her. Went ahead and added another box cause they will fill one deep easy.

Offline Nock

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 610
  • Gender: Male
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2021, 05:30:11 pm »
[ You are not allowed to view attachments ]

Offline sawdstmakr

  • Global Moderator
  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 11709
  • Gender: Male
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2021, 08:34:09 pm »

Jim when you watched the swarm come in, did you see the origin of their flight? In other words, did they come straight from one of your hives, or from a tree, or other etc?
No they were not mine.
I watched the scouts coming and going. Lots of them. So many that I found out about them when Judy asked me if I was going to keep that hive of bees right next to my shop. They were dancing at the entrance and very excited. Then there were no bees for 30 minutes, waiting for their arrival. I was in the barn when they first arrived. They were so loud that I could hear them inside. They came in from the west flew to the east past those large trees and then flew to the swarm trap from the east. I took a video of them coming from the west. It was also a long video.
Jim Altmiller

Offline sawdstmakr

  • Global Moderator
  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 11709
  • Gender: Male
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2021, 08:38:13 pm »
Nock,
Nice catch. Adding an additional box was the right thing to do.
Stacks of hive boxes make good swarm traps.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Acebird

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 6454
  • Gender: Male
  • Practicing non intervention beekeeping
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2021, 08:28:04 am »
When I got there I saw the big bunch on eve and a small group on my mule.
Well now you can strap another box to the mule and catch more because they will be attracted to it for a while.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Offline Nock

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 610
  • Gender: Male
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2021, 08:55:05 am »
When I got there I saw the big bunch on eve and a small group on my mule.
Well now you can strap another box to the mule and catch more because they will be attracted to it for a while.
I have thought of that. I will keep a eye on it.

Offline Ben Framed

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 5721
  • Mississippi Zone 7
Re: Swarm trap observation
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2021, 11:22:53 am »
When I got there I saw the big bunch on eve and a small group on my mule.
Well now you can strap another box to the mule and catch more because they will be attracted to it for a while.
I have thought of that. I will keep a eye on it.

I expect the poor mule has had enough trauma from bees and boxes. I doubt you will be able to catch him any time soon, let alone lead him back into the carport! lol 😂 😂 poor mule  :wink: their is only so much a mule can take !  :cheesy:

God job Nock!
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.