I keep getting calls about people looking for bees to start the season. I also made this same mistake my first year of beekeeping. I didn't realize that the best time to place an order is by February. By this time in the year, it is to late. The bees are sold out!
Anybody out there who is looking for bees, make sure and get your name on swarm lists and have a light box, bee veil and smoker in the back of your car at all times. Answer every call immediately and ask a few questions before driving to the location:
-How long has the swarm been there? Hours? Days? Longer? This is a good question to find out if this is a swarm of bees or an established colony.
-How high is the swarm?
-What kind of tree or structure?
-How large is the swarm? Grapefruit? Cantalope? Watermelon? If it's smaller than a grapefruit then it probably isn't worth your time.
-Will someone be at the home when you arrive?
-Have you called any other beekeepers? You might show up and someone has already picked up the swarm.
-Is there a power source? This is a good one if you have a bee vacuum.
Work fast when you get to the swarm site before the bees pick a home and all fly off. Remember that you are an ambassador for the bees. The homeowners are probably scared and it falls on you keep everybody calm, handle the scene and be a little bit of a hero at the same time! Happy Trails.
Swarm basics kit includes:
Box with ventilation