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Category: SWARMING.

There is another method of keeping swarms separate, contrived and used
by a Mr. Loucks, of Herkimer Co., N.Y. He calls it a swarm-catcher; he
has a half dozen of them, and says he would not do without for one
season, for fifty dollars, as he has a large apiary. I made one as near
as I could from seeing his, without taking the exact measure. I got out
four light posts four and half feet long, one inch square; then twelve
pieces of one-quarter inch stuff, four inches wide; the four for the
top twelve inches long, for the bottom two were fourteen inches long,
and two were twenty. These were thoroughly nailed on the ends of the
posts, making it into an upright frame, the other four pieces were
nailed around the middle, which made the frame firmer. I made a frame
for the top, of four pieces, each an inch and a half in width, and half
inch thick, halved at the ends and nailed together, and fastened by
hinges to one side of the top, and a catch to hold it shut. The whole
was now covered with very thin cloth to admit the light, but not so
open as to let the bees through, (Mr. Loucks used cloth made for
cheese-strainers.) I now had a covered frame four and half feet high,
12 inches square at the top, at the bottom 14 by 20, with a door or lid
at the top, to let out the bees. On each side of the bottom I tacked a
piece of common muslin, near a yard in length. When a swarm is ready to
issue, the bottom of this frame is set up before the hive, one edge of
the bottom rests on the bottom-board, the other against the side of the
hive; the top sets off from the hive at an angle of about 45 degrees,
under which a brace is set to hold it. The muslin at the bottom is to
wrap around the hive at the side to prevent the escape of the bees. The
swarm rushes into this without any hesitation.

When done coming out, the muslin at the bottom is drawn over it, and
the frame is set in an upright position, and allowed to stand a few
minutes for the bees to get quiet in the top. It is now to be laid on
its side, the door opened, and the bees hived. In the few trials that I
have given it, I succeeded without difficulty. But I would remark, that
stocks from which swarms are caught in this way, must not be raised at
the back side, as a part of the swarm would issue there, and not get
into the net. Mr. Loucks had his hive directly on the board; and he
told me he kept them so through the season: the only places of entrance
was a sprout out of the bottom of the front side, about three inches
wide by half inch deep, and a hole in the side a few inches up. You
will thus perceive that stocks from which swarms are hived in this way
must be prepared for it previously. Also, it will be no use to such
bee-keepers as depend on seeing their swarms in the air. It will be
beneficial only in large apiaries, where several swarms are liable to
issue at once; the swarming indications well understood, and the
apiarian on the lookout.

Next: Swarms Sometimes Return

Previous: When Care Is Necessary

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