It’s almost swarm season again here in Utah. (Already beginning in other parts of the world). Catching a swarm is one way to obtain a beehive of your own. Expect swarms on the first warm day just after several cold/stormy days. You know, just when you are on your way to church on Easter Sunday.
Below, you can see Grandpa Arthur Andersen removing a swarm from his tree in the 1960’s, I think.
Arthur analyzing the situation
The swarm! (It’s the big clump of bees on the right in the tree.)
He placed a deep box (with bottom board attached. . . I guess that makes it a hive body. . .) under the branch, with some frames removed, then shook the branch. The bees landed into the box in one big clump.
We consider ourselves lucky when swarms are this close to the ground (on bee truck back bumper).
Sometimes they are pretty high up! Here, the bee box is balanced on top of the ladder.
In this example, Stan placed an empty beehive box on a ladder on the trailer and under the swarm branch. Then he shook the branch, causing the cluster to fall into the box. Then he waited overnight for the bees to settle before bringing the box down and adding frames with foundation. Easy, right? . . .
Want to catch your own swarm? In Utah and Idaho, there is a “Swarm List” where people can report honeybee swarms for beekeepers to collect.
They do not, however, remove wasps nests. (See below for example) Wasp and hornet nests are typically removed by exterminators or brave homeowners. See “Bees vs Wasps” for more information on how to tell the difference between bees and wasps.