Barncast 121 — Going crazy with swarms

This week it’s just the two of us and some new hardware. I think the show sounds pretty nice with the new recorder but let us know! Either leave a comment of call the farm phone at 206-202-GOAT! In the show this week:

  • Farm Phone: 206-202-GOAT
  • CSA’s
  • Using chest freezers as storage, and limed floors
  • Geek Section: Tascam DR-1
  • Round up: Goats and garden
  • Farm Section: stories about catching swarms of honey bees

Pictures of the swarm:

  1. Warren’s avatar

    I have some pics of swarms I have captured on my website if you are interested. Just click on the swarms tab.

    A swarm like you caught is not one for a new beekeeper but there are plenty of swarms to be had near the ground. A person wanting to get into beekeeping should not consider climbing a ladder to go after a swarm…catch a few low ones first. Also, unless you are insane or have a lot of time and interest, do not remove bees from the walls of a house for your first foray into beekeeping. It is a lot of work and I absolutely hate it. Just my $0.02

    I have been pretty successful at preventing swarms from my hives by making splits as you suggested. I haven’t had swarms from my hives in a few years now. I do enjoy catching other people’s swarms though! I get calls every year around the city to get swarms and they come in all shapes and sizes. Two weeks ago I caught a small swarm and was able to combine it with a failing colony (i.e. lots of bees but a failing queen…laying too many drones). They joined nicely and now I have one great colony.

    I had the same experience as you did in my second year. My first year, everything went prety well. My second year I had to booming colonies that I did not split. I caught one swarm that came out of it. The original hive was not appreciably weaker but I knew my swarm came from it because of my marked queen. A few days later, I watched 2 more swarms come out of the same hive. I caught them as well. I was then left with 1 good swarm, 2 fair to weak swarms and 1 weak hive. Not much fun. Anyhow, keep an eye out for the next week or so. You may or may not be done with swarms.

    You might check into “cut-down splits”. Some say that a properly timed split actually results in a stronger colony and more honey. I never studied it but I also make plenty of honey even with my splits so it suppose splits won’t always hurt honey production.

    Regarding swarms flying into an empty hive…it can happen. Some folks have found that by “priming” a hive by leaving lemon grass inside the hive box, swarms are more likely to enter an empty box. I haven’t tried it but it apparently works.


  2. andrew’s avatar

    Thanks for the info Warren, as always you’re a great source of info.

    I split my hives into all the hardware I had laying around. I even make splits into two wooden nuc boxes that a local guy makes and sells nucs in. The first swarm went into a cardboard nuc box, and the last one onto some really crappy suppers I had. Heh, I’m all out of hardware. =)

    Ah well at least I’m going to sell two nucs off this weekend and then I can buy some more hardware. :)



  3. Libbye’s avatar

    Your new hardware sounds great! The sound quality is noticeably improved even listening to the iPod through the car speakers hurtling down the highway.

    Really enjoyed Mark and Linda, it’s like eavesdropping on a bunch of my friends chatting.


  4. andrew’s avatar

    awesome, thank you libbye! I really enjoy when Mark and Linda drop by, they are a great duo.



  5. Valerie’s avatar

    I hope that you sustained no damage to any of the storms in Indiana.


  6. andrew’s avatar

    Everything is fine so far, thanks Valerie!


  7. Ryan Green’s avatar

    Car Speakers made by Bose are some of the best quality loudspeakers you can get.~-



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