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Categories: SWARMING.
Bee Keeping: Mysteries Of Bee-keeping Explained

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.