my neighbor and I are both starting hives, but we've struck-out in terms of locating swarms (I do have a package coming). We would be interested in taking up to 3 swarms and would ideally like to go along and learn the ropes! Alternatively, we'd be willing to take it on without a mentor if someone knows of swarm but cant get to it. (heck, I've watched a you tube video, so I am an expert, right?). We are off Skyline in NW, and feel free to contact me at (503) three-29- 3586 if something comes along that you think might work.
Post by eastsidebuzz on Apr 19, 2014 10:25:00 GMT -7
Have you joined a local club to learn and find someone to help you along.? Typically it is better to get a package or two under your belt before you start with swarms.
The problem I see is if you get out to get a swarm call and it is in someones back yard and you are not yet calm with the bee's you could make the homeowner uneasy also and hurt yourself on their property and cause a huge insurance mess. Telling them I just started and this is my first swarm call and I just started on bee's is not good either. While swarms are easy to catch they are not always in the best locations. 30 feet up a tree or in an eve or in an attic (cutout). While they are a cheap way to get bee's they are also not as strait forward as a package or a nuc. Swarms have a tenancy to swarm again sometimes and you need to learn how to keep them in their new home. I would start with a package for a year before you become a superhero swarm catcher. If you play your cards right you can chase your own swarm.
Also you don't locate swarms you get a swarm call from an ad you have placed or your name at the local police and fire departments etc. Pretty tough to go out swarm hunting unless you have a lot of time on your hands or a divining rod.
Just my .02. Not trying to damp rag your goals for the year.
Thanks for the thoughtful response and I will incorporate your advice. I am mindful of not getting into a situation over my head (so to speak!). The source I had lined up for swarms is not going to pan out so I am on my plan B. To be clear-- my strong desire is to go along with a seasoned vet and I have been casting a wide net for experienced hands; I have been tapping the local knowledge as well. I also have a package on order and that is my ultimate fall back.
Post by eastsidebuzz on Apr 19, 2014 23:36:38 GMT -7
Packages are your guarantee. Years ago my son and I started answering swarm calls. I had 5 in one day. While I was on the way to check out 2 I got an other we changed directions and got that one. The other was in a tree way to risky to get and then the 3rd I got beat by someone else. So always ask if they have called anyone else and get as much info as you can about the location so you know if you should bring a ladder etc.
Getting swarms is not tough. You need to be creative and fearless with them. Sometimes you get stung and sometimes you dont. Some are taken in the dark out of a tree above your head and dump right on you.
But, if you have never kept bee's is what is worrisome. If you had bee's for even one year I would say go for it.
I will say that finding someone that will take you on a swarm call is going to be tough since you cant schedule them they just happen. Also if I was going to take the time to go on a swarm call why would I give it away.? It cost me gas and time to give it away. Some cost more then just buying a package in time and effort.
If you want 2 hives buy 2 packages. If you get a swarm call then you can have 3. But, it is not a guarantee. I have had years like last where I saw no swarms. But, lots of calls for bumbles and yellow jackets. Make sure you vet the caller before you drive an hour to look at a yellow jackets nest. I have had people swear it is a honey bee. I make them send me a picture of the bee first nowadays. Gas is way to expensive.
I guess my thinking has been evolving as a result of these posts and Eastside suggestions. While not ruling out going after a swarm if a good situation presents itself, I am reminding myself that my over-riding goal is NOT chasing a swarm, but to get our hives populated, preferably with local swarms (I really want to see this process but am content to wait for the right opportunity).
Therefore would it be out of line to suggest that if there is a wrangler out there who would be willing to sell a swarm they have captured, I'm fine paying for it (not sure what FMV is)? further, if it make it easier, i can meet someone at the site and take care of the transportation.