How to make a High Reach Swarm Catcher
Climbing trees is for kids. Ladders are dangerous to older bones. It's not worth the risk for casual beekeepers to go after bees way high up. Here's how to build a High Reach Swarm Catcher....or at least one way to build one.
Kobalt Texture Brush Item #: 85797 | Model #: 8110 http://ow.ly/a5lAq
You may find a different solution. What I needed was the the screw-in mop handle receptical and a flat, broad base.
- Cut the brush's bristles off flush (or as flush as you can get them) with the flat base of the brush.
- turn your bucket upside down
- center the brush on the bottom and drill four holes through the brush & the bucket's bottom
- fasten the brush to the bucket using nuts and bolts with large fender washers, like this
Don't over tighten or you'll split the bucket's bottom.
Then get a pole. I used a 4 section, 5-16' aluminum extension pole made by Ettore. It was in the paint section at Lowe's. It is pricey, but fits well into a regular car when collapsed. Of course the reason I chose the Kobalt Brush was because the hole fit the pole's screw-in mop handle piece.
Here's the business end of my extension pole.
Ettore makes a quality product, but the plastic screw-in mop handle tip is the weak point in this "nonstandard" application. I've already snapped one off. Ettore sells replacements on their website.
I'm working on a way of stiffening the joint so that all the pressure isn't on that joint. But the attachement has to be positive, allowing you to both push it up through branches, but also pull it down, even though branches and twigs are snagging it.
It does no good to pour a bucket full of bees on your head!
Once the bees are in the bucket, shorten the pole, section by section, until the bees are down, tip the bucket and pole over into your swarm bucket and cap it off.
Easy! Another successful Bee Swarm Alien Abduction Experience for them to tell their granddaughters about. "We were all just hanging out on this limb when all of a sudden..."
(BTW, I've fooled with strings to pull and snap the lid shut while the bucket is up high. I've found you don't need them if you work quickly. Bees have tough exoskeletons. Let each section free fall into the handle as you lower the bucket. The sudden stop will drop the bees into the bottom of the bucket. Repeat, repeat.
If you work quickly and smoothly you'll keep most of the swarm confused and in the bucket. Spray with a bit of sugar water as soon as you make the transfer and wait for the flyers to find the bucket and then brush them into it.)