WHO OWNS THAT SWARM
Reading in my Christmas gift "The Beekeepers Bible" I happened on a section discussing swarms which addressed the ownership of swarms. It mentioned some very old laws about that so I Googled swarm ownership in today's world.
I found a very interesting discussion on this topic in Beesource.com (click here to read it). Essentially two points of view:
1) they belong to the person on who's property the land and/or who captures them (this assumes that once they leave a hive they become feral) or
2) they belong to the owner of the source hive as long as he can see and follow them.
I like option 1 here, but if you know the bees' source it might be neighborly to offer the swarm to him/her.
You need to remember, though, that you need permission from to property owner to get to the swarm and capture it, no matter which ownership option you favor. Luckily, most of the swarms we encounter are referred to us by a property owner calling saying I have a swarm on my property come and get them.
If you would like to be on the swarm capture call list email us and we'll add you to the list.
In the spring of year we need to start controlling (dissuading) swarms from our hives. And watching for swarms from other apiaries or feral colonies flying by or hanging in the trees, on fences, walls, and other places. Below are some links to sites showing methods of controlling swarms from our hives and also links to resources to capture swarms we discover.
WHO TO CALL IF YOU FIND A SWARM
Capturing and keeping a swarm is fairly easy if the swarm is hanging in a relatively accessible spot, you have a box, pail, or bag you can shake the swarm into, and you have an empty brood box, bottom board, and cover to set up a permanent hive. In a pinch a honey super and a couple pieces of plywood will work as a temporary measure until you are able to set up a regular hive. There are many videos and instruction with varying methods on the Internet so we'll leave it to you to search and look them over. If the above conditions don't work for you click the link below for a list of local beekeepers who would love to capture a hive.
SWARMS ARE BEAUTIFUL
Swarm Control is an interesting YouTube video from the University of Guelph, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada showing a couple of methods of swarm prevention. It would be better to prevent your colonies from swarming than trying to capture one that has already left your hive.
SPLIT YOUR HIVES TO SHORTSTOP SWARMS
An interesting YouTube video on Splitting Hives is presented by the University of Guelph, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. This is one of the ways swarms can be prevented before they occur - and as a bonus you get to expand your apiary.