Last year I was on the swarm list so I had a ‘kit’ to hand. When my turn came, the HWBKA swarm officer delivered the swarm to me so I did very little. Incidentally beekeepers, if you are on a swarm list do have the hive and frames prepared.
This year I decided against having a swarm – thought I’d order a nuc and play it safe with various diseases around and now having 2 colonies to protect at home. (Yes, some beekeepers will sneer with superiority at my very small scale operation). Then on Sunday a swarm appeared at our local NT Hughenden Manor. they phoned the local swarm officer with no success and I was the only person they did manage to contact – so there I was leading on a swarm collection. Luckily I am lazy – so some of my swarm kit was in the car from last year. And I carry some ‘interesting’ bits for when we have a meet the beekeepers session at our Hughenden Manor apiary – so I was not totally unprepared. Nevertheless, a suggested ‘swarm collection kit’ and some hints and tips may be useful so I’ll start one off.
Firstly, a tip or two. The secateurs that may be very useful if the swarm is on a branch can make a bee sized hole in your bee suit. A small back pack for some of the items might avoid this problem. If you have a hive strap, make sure you know how it secures – practise. In case you need to drive in full kit, it is better to have the sort of hood that allows you to look over your shoulder.
- Strong box (wine box?) and / or skip. Even better if there is a spare hive to hand.
- String, secateurs, hand saw/sheet(s), old comb /frames and possibly swarm lure or lemon grass oil.
- Ladder (though I avoid high sites and prefer a beer crate as a step/emergency base for hive)
- Some fabric that can block an entrance – and/or if you are using a hive, travel screen, hive strap.
- Sheet / old curtain or two. Might be good to have a fabric tie at each corner.
- Spray bottle of water.
- protective wear – full kit.
- Strong branch or prop in case you need to support a branch. At the first Hughenden swarm I went to with Keith, he used some of those sponge like ties – they are about half a metre in length. must be something like metal covered wire and you can twist them to anchor things together – ladder to tree, prop to tree etc….
- Anyone like to share what they’d add to a swarm list?
- There is a bee vac described here – search for bee vac – as a guest you can only see a few posts but registering is free- that must be the pinnacle of swarm collection luxury.