The A.B.C Swarm Catcher Group was established in year to help manage swarm activity and reduce public anxiety and misconceptions about swarms. As a bonus, it provided opportunities for those without bees to ‘rescue’ a swarm and start a colony of their own. Swarm catching is great opportunity to connect with homeowners and the public about bees, swarm behavior and engage in discussions about pollinator health in an urban environment.

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At the end of March, A.B.C hosted its annual Swarm Catcher and Volunteer Meeting. Over 25 members, new and old, came out of hibernation to reconnect with beekeeping buddies, share their winter successes and heartbreaks and start brainstorming about the upcoming season.

Armed with lessons-learned and some ideas for improvement, the Catchers developed some great plans for the upcoming season. New reporting pages will help reduce false swarm reports and improve public awareness of bee species, detailed Catcher maps will aid in equipment sharing and help find homes for swarms, revamped alert procedures will ensure quick response time and create opportunities for teamwork and feedback forums will allow Catchers to share their experience and learn from others.

Another addition to this year’s Swarm Catcher team is the Bait Box pilot program. This program will look at past swarm sites to determine potential ‘hot spots’ and bait boxes will be set up in these locations and monitored for activity. Establishing bait boxes can encourage bees to take up residence in a predictable, monitored location. Ideally, this will reduce the number of swarms in high traffic or hazardous sites by drawing the swarms to more convenient ‘catching’ locations.

To learn how to spot a swarm and report it to the Swarm Catchers visit: http://www.backyardbees.ca/courses/communityhive/planbee

Keep your eyes open this spring and summer, you may get to see the team in action!

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