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Author Topic: Lucky swarm #20?  (Read 1313 times)
Valarie
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« on: May 07, 2009, 08:30:53 PM »

It's been a busy swarm season here in Yuba City. My husband and I have been on 19 calls over the past 6 weeks. We got lucky today when #20 landed right in our yard, but I'm still not really sure what happened. Yesterday, I was inspecting what had been an early boomer of a colony in the yard, and i noticed there were less bees, no eggs, couldn't find a queen (not out of the ordinary), and capped swarm cells- uh oh. We'd had rain for a few days and at this point I thought maybe they had swarmed a few days prior before the rain? So this afternoon, my dh says the hive is swarming and quickly grabs some gear to split the hive before it swarms. There was a lot of activity and a cluster on the side of the entrance board of this same hive. Had they just been preparing to swarm and doing so now? So the phone rings and when I come back outside I could see a swarm landing on a branch on the other side of the yard (.25 acre city lot). My husband had moved the hive a few feet away and placed and empty hive in it's place never seeing the hive really swarm. Well I keep hearing about this tanging, so I got 2 pots and started rhythmically banging, worth a try right, I can't seem any crazier than the other nut jobs on my block. OK so here's the magic, the swarm picks up off the branch and flies over the yard and lands on the empty hive and marches right in. The swarm that landed looked like more bees than were in that hive yesterday when i checked it, there were a lot! And we never saw bees fly out of it the way they flew across the yard and landed on it. Now I am wondering if it was another swarm that was trying to land on the side of that hive when my husband moved it and placed the empty hive in its place. Or did they swarm and come right back? Was it my tanging or my husbands quick hive switch that captured them? Whether it came from our bees or not I'm happy to have the swarm!
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Two Bees
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2009, 08:51:19 PM »

Wow!  And I thought I was busy with 4 swarms in 10 days!

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G3farms
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2009, 09:27:32 PM »

I have heard of people clanging pots or something together to get a swarm to move on.

Thats great, and they knew where to go also, too easy.

G3
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1reb
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2009, 06:41:40 AM »

that unreal 20 swarms !!!!!!!!!!!
Johnny
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CBEE
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2009, 08:15:15 AM »

it's swarm season grin
caught one last night when a friend of mine called and had one in his neighbors bush. Nice and easy to get to. realized I didn't have another bottom board or top  :shock:so I had to makeshift some till I can build them a proper home grin
They filled up a medium full of drawn comb ... gees.. now I gotta build some more boxes rolleyes grin
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2009, 01:25:02 AM »

..... Well I keep hearing about this tanging, so I got 2 pots and started rhythmically banging, worth a try right, I can't seem any crazier than the other nut jobs on my block. OK so here's the magic, the swarm picks up off the branch and flies over the yard and lands on the empty hive and marches right in. The swarm that landed looked like more bees than were in that hive yesterday when i checked it, there were a lot! And we never saw bees fly out of it the way they flew across the yard and landed on it. Now I am wondering if it was another swarm that was trying to land on the side of that hive when my husband moved it and placed the empty hive in its place. Or did they swarm and come right back? Was it my tanging or my husbands quick hive switch that captured them? Whether it came from our bees or not I'm happy to have the swarm!

Tanging can do that, it supposedly mimics the sound of thunder which causes the bees to seek the best close shelter, you bee hive in this case. 
I've always had good luck with tanging and squirting a little water at the same time (thunder/rain storm) will settle the bees to the nearest solid object pronto.
When a beekeeper looks into a hive he is not seeing the total population, he is seeing anywhere fro 3/4-1/2 of the bees in a hive as the remainder are out foraging.  Some may be gone for 2-4 days depending on time of day, distance from hive, and weather (singularly or combined). 
It is possible that the swarm was from that hive but it's more probable that the swarm was on the verge of assimulating the existing hive (take it over).

1. Prior to a hive swarming the worker bees will force the queen to quit laying eggs and put her on a diet so she slims down for travel.
2. A Hive can swarm between the time the 1st queen cell is capped and the 1st queen cell hatches (a period of between 8-10 days).
3. A hive sans any sign of brood is either: swarmed and the new queen hasn't started laying yet,  Lost a new queen during mating, Entered a brood dearth due to weather or flow conditions (Russians are prone to this), or queenless.  A frame of brood with eggs will often answer the question by the reaction of the hive to the brood.
4. It can be 3 weeks from the time a queen hatches to the time she actually starts to lay eggs...this same thing can occur in packages which are artifical swarms.
5. Large swarms will sometime take over an established weaker hive in leiu of finding an unoccupied site.
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Valarie
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2009, 01:04:55 PM »

Quote
It is possible that the swarm was from that hive but it's more probable that the swarm was on the verge of assimulating the existing hive (take it over).
Thanks for the response, I have heard of weak hives being robbed but not taken over! What an easy way to combine- no newspaper method or anything Smiley. The existing colony in the new location now has hatched queen cells and no eggs yet and 6 frames of bees still. I can add some brood to keep them going untill the new queen is mated and laying. The new swarm is in a double deep just to be sure and is drawing wax like crazy!
We got 15 swarms last year, and I just got a call that #21 is waiting for me on a branch 10 ft up a tree in front of the local gym, but this was the first time I got to see the swarm in flight- pretty amazing!
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2009, 01:12:10 AM »

Quote
It is possible that the swarm was from that hive but it's more probable that the swarm was on the verge of assimulating the existing hive (take it over).
Thanks for the response, I have heard of weak hives being robbed but not taken over! What an easy way to combine- no newspaper method or anything Smiley. The existing colony in the new location now has hatched queen cells and no eggs yet and 6 frames of bees still. I can add some brood to keep them going untill the new queen is mated and laying. The new swarm is in a double deep just to be sure and is drawing wax like crazy!
We got 15 swarms last year, and I just got a call that #21 is waiting for me on a branch 10 ft up a tree in front of the local gym, but this was the first time I got to see the swarm in flight- pretty amazing!

It's not an easy way to combine, just the opposite.  When a swarm takes over a weak hive they kill most of the adult bees and the queen and lose a good number of their own in the process so the beekeeper ends up with a weak hive of new bees.  The only difference is that the new queen will be ramped up to grow the hive so it is a win in the long run, but at a cost.  It is much better to hive a swarm in a separate hive and do a controlled combine, you only lose a queen that way, not thousands of workers to boot.  Count yourself lucky they didn't take over the weak hive.
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2009, 01:16:55 AM »

I have heard of people clanging pots or something together to get a swarm to move on.

My grandfather used to hive swarms that way... I've heard it called drumming the bees, but he used to just put a hive below them and start clanging the pots and apparantly they would go from the tree down to the hive. 

If I had to take a guess I would say that the vibrations likely mimic thunder and the bees might try to go to ground or otherwise get the heck out of the tree when they feel thunder.
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RayMarler
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2009, 01:38:31 AM »

Hiya Valarie,

I've just purchased a house in Marysville myself and will be moving in as soon as I can round up some appliances. Glad to know there is another beek in the area, maybe we will be able to meet up sometimes. Where I'm moving, there is a beek a couple or three miles down the road that has 40 hives or more in the corner of lot next to the highway. If this is not you then it is another close enough to help with drones when queen rearing but far enough away to not be terribly intruding into their beeforage area.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2009, 02:43:27 AM »

I have heard of people clanging pots or something together to get a swarm to move on.

My grandfather used to hive swarms that way... I've heard it called drumming the bees, but he used to just put a hive below them and start clanging the pots and apparantly they would go from the tree down to the hive. 

If I had to take a guess I would say that the vibrations likely mimic thunder and the bees might try to go to ground or otherwise get the heck out of the tree when they feel thunder.

It's called tanging to differentiate it from clanging.  I've hived a lot of swarms using that method over the last 50 years.  With a garden hose handy it works even better.
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annette
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2009, 03:13:25 PM »

Hiya Valarie,

I've just purchased a house in Marysville myself and will be moving in as soon as I can round up some appliances. Glad to know there is another beek in the area, maybe we will be able to meet up sometimes. Where I'm moving, there is a beek a couple or three miles down the road that has 40 hives or more in the corner of lot next to the highway. If this is not you then it is another close enough to help with drones when queen rearing but far enough away to not be terribly intruding into their beeforage area.

I thought about you Ray when I saw her post.  You can get to meet other beeks near you. How wonderful for you.
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Valarie
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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2009, 11:42:08 PM »

Quote
I've just purchased a house in Marysville myself and will be moving in as soon as I can round up some appliances. Glad to know there is another beek in the area, maybe we will be able to meet up sometimes. Where I'm moving, there is a beek a couple or three miles down the road that has 40 hives or more in the corner of lot next to the highway. If this is not you then it is another close enough to help with drones when queen rearing but far enough away to not be terribly intruding into their beeforage area.
Hi Ray!
Welcome to Marysville! My Husband and I live in Linda just over the bridge by Wal Mart and we have a few hives in the backyard on the roof of our dog kennel. We try to keep 5 or less there due to our small yard size and we have two toddlers who want to play in their yard, but we've had over 15 there this spring. We have 30 other hives up by Grass Valley. The bees in our yard here in town usually have lots to forage on most of the year, could be all the backyard gardens around here. Splits and swarms build up well here and then they go up the hill. I've made some splits here that have raised good queens and I would like to 'really' rear a batch of queens for requeening and I think it'll be a great place for that. We are still just learning and there's no better way to start than with free bees! If you would like in on the 'gold rush' of swarms, we're about out of equipment and we could forward some calls to you. Or maybe you'd be willing to take on some of these nastier cut outs- we have a record number in chimneys this year! Email me with your info at valmiah@aol.com and we can get in touch. I'd also like to invite you to Nevada county beekeepers association they meet first monday of the month at 7pm at the vets hall in grass valley- great bunch of beeks and lots of good info from Randy Oliver.
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RayMarler
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2009, 02:08:47 AM »

Hi Valarie!
I look forward to meeting you and your husband as I'm sure I'll be at the beeclub meetings in Grass Valley. I'm currently a mentor for the Sacramento Beeclub and feel I should also continue there for the rest of the year as well. I'll be moving to my new place as soon as I can round up some appliances, I've gotten a few leads on some today and it might be next week before I get them all.

My new place is on Hwy 20 east of Marysville proper, inbetween Loma Rica rd and Marysville rd.

I've got plenty of equipment to put bees in and had 2 swarms fly in today and take up residence in a couple of three story stacks of 8 frame deeps. yeah! Like I said, It's going to be a couple of weeks probably before I'm actually up there living in the new place, but look forward to meeting you and your husband and talking bees!
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Sitting in the shade, drinking lemon aid.
Enjoying the breeze while counting the bees.
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