Some bee swarms are easy to get; others are more work
Swarm season!! It will be here before you know it and are you ready? It is still winter and you aren’t doing a lot in the bee yard. But there are things that you can do to get ready for swarm season in the spring. If you keep bees, you more than likely will have a swarm or two from your own bee yard and/or will be getting calls from friends and relatives about swarms and you need to be ready.
Some essentials for your “bee go” kit to catch a swarm
Gather these items for your toolkit now as you have to be ready at a moments notice when you get the call.
Information-If you get the call for a bee swarm, make sure that it is honey bees (ask for a picture) and that it is less than 15 feet high and not inside the walls of a house. Ask lots of questions before going out so you know it isn’t yellow jackets or hornets and a waste of time. Everyone tends to say “swarm”, when they see bees flying around. But a honeybee swarm is really distinctive.
Computer Box-a computer paper box is perfect for making your swarm portable. A telescoping cover to keep the bees contained and large enough to place a small branch, which you might need to saw off a tree with swarm attached.
Pruner and Portable Pruning Saw-Swarms often settle on low lying branches and trees. If you can saw off the branch and box it up, this is ideal in boxing up your swarm.
Bee Suit & Veil- I like to wear a bee suit and veil hiving up a swarm, because bees can get a little hyper when you are shaking a branch to drop the swarm into a box!
Sugar Water in Spray Bottle-Another method to calm the bees is a 1:1 solution of sugar water. Wetting them down will reduce flying tendencies. Use a large sprayer, like a 32 ounce size, not the tiny spritzing kind.
Bee Brush- For stragglers to move them along into the box or off of a branch. Make sure it is washed and not crusted with hardened honey. Think soft!
OldSheet- a drop cloth for ushering in the bees into the computer box; Also doubles as a wrap for the computer box full of bees for the car trip home. You don’t want any straggler bees coming out!
For higher swarms, you will need a ladder, pole pruner and bucket to drop the swarm into
Other Misc Equipment
For higher and more difficult swarms like inside walls, you could need ladders, cherry pickers, bee vacs, and chain saws. Leave these to more experienced beekeepers! for more information about catching bee swarms, go to Swarm Stories; Capture Or Not.