September 19, 2014

Being Prepared with a Swarm Kit

To avoid forgetting essential tools, I wrote the items I usually need in my swarm kit right on the lid of my tote.

The call came in from the Run of the Mill Pub in Saco about a swarm clustered on a sapling tree near the riverwalk. Once we arrived we realized all the people on the patio of the pub would be our audience for the afternoon. The plan was simple: Meghan Gaven was atop the stepladder and would push the little tree downward while Richard McLaughlin pulled the same direction with a rope. All I had to … [Read more...]

Preparing for Swarm Season

Front view of a hivebody-style bait hive for catching swarms; the vertical board is for nailing and/or tying to a tree trunk or other structure. The hardware cloth on the front entrance is there to prevent mice from moving in. PHOTO: ANNE FREY

Making Your Own Bait Hives Now that you’re finished with your winter of building and repairing supers, brood boxes and frames, think about the possibility of building bait hives in preparation for the May/ June swarm season. A bait hive is a swarm-catching box. I have captured some nice swarms in boxes set in trees, and it seems easier than answering a swarm call, which may come at an … [Read more...]

My Swarm – Maine Swarm Hotline to the Rescue

Honey Bee Swarm in Tree in Maine

Good morning every one! I want to take a moment and THANK the Maine Bee Swarm Hot Line and our group!   An extra special THANK YOU with much gratitude goes out to Erin, Philip, Larry and Fred. I happen to have Monday off, such a beautiful day, and our garage in need of paint. So, the project of the day had me on a ladder, painting and just plain enjoying the day. I had visited the bee … [Read more...]

Honey Bee Removal: A Step-by-Step Guide by Cindy Bee and Bill Owens

Honey Bee Removal: A Step-by-Step Guide by Cindy Bee and Bill Owens

Review by Geoff MacLean Last year, I safely removed honey bee colonies  from five homes around Greater Portland,  but sure wish I’d had the opportunity  to read a great book on the subject first! Let’s take a look at what I believe is  the first comprehensive guide to honey  bee colony removals, written by Cindy  Bee and Bill Owens, masters at the  craft of honey bee colony removal:  Honey … [Read more...]

Swarm Catching: A Fun [Club] Opportunity?

Carefully trimming the swarm-occupied branch into a box

We're now just a month away from the kickoff of our honey bee swarm season in Maine. With a little preparation, and the right attitude, we can have fun rescuing some of Mother Nature's most healthy, robust colonies. Without our help, they are probably in for a short lifespan as a feral colony in a small tree, your neighbor's attic, or even worse, stuck out in the open come late … [Read more...]

Catch Swarms Before They Find a Home in a Wall

A bee vacuum can be made or purchased; it is very effective, and surprisingly easy on the bees when used correctly

Photos from some of Geoff MacLean’s recent Honey Bee removal projects. A few examples of why it is good to catch swarms before they find a hole in the wall. … [Read more...]