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Author Topic: Off again Home again swarm  (Read 770 times)
SlickMick
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Location: Brisbane, Australia


« on: July 09, 2009, 06:02:12 AM »

Before I went out of town weeks ago I noticed that the hive I wanted queens from was getting pretty crowded in the brood box so I put a shallow super on and left town. I got back to town and opened the hive up on Tuesday to find that there was quite a bit of honey in the super but the brood box was honey bound and was packed with bees.

So I thought I would remove a frame and replace it with foundation as I had found a frame with 3 capped queen cells in it. I dont know when they were capped so I removed that frame and put it in a nuc with the bees on it planning on making a mating hive from it when the queen hatched.

Half an hour later they swarmed and landed in one of my trees about 7' up so I got a hive body, base and cover and set it up near the tree and preceded to hive the swarm. I did not have any spare frames available so I put in some lemongrass oil and some made up frames that had no foundation hoping that they would start to draw out comb. This was Tuesday.

A couple of hours later they decided that they did not like what I had prepared for them and returned to the hive. I can only assume that queenie did not evacuate with them so I went in and removed another frame of brood and put it with the nuc and put another frame with foundation in with them.

Today I was doing some work in my workshop when my wife said your bees are swarming. Indeed they were. Back into the tree from yesterday. This time I was more prepared and had 2 frames of old comb which I put in the hive and proceded to hive them again. This time they stayed and so I built 5 more frames with foundation and put these on either side of the old comb. The girls completely covered the entire 5 deep frames in the box and today are bringing in honey and seem settled. Could not find any eggs this morning or the queen but I will give them a few days to get organised before I check again.

Had a look in the hive they came from this morning. Could not find the young queen but lo and behold there were 2 capped queen cells on another frame. So I guess they will use up some of the stores and a lot of the brood will hatch giving them a bit more space before it is needed for egg laying again.

It is the middle of winter here and I am amazed to find them swarming but we never frost and we never get below 43o. There is plenty of nectar coming in and also pollen. There are a heap of drone cells in that and another hive that has a commercial queen so I am expecting that I will get good matings when the time comes.

I also had to put a frame with foundation in with the nuc today as they were also pretty crowded on 2 frames.

This hive came from a cutout I did in our fall and they have just boomed in comparison to the other 2 hives I have.. ooops 5 now if I count the swarm and the mating nuc.

Mick

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On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
   And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
   One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten-year-old lad,
   Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
   For the youngster had never been christened,
A BUSH CHRISTENING - A.B. "Banjo" Paterson http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/christen.html
Grandma_DOG
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Location: Austin, TX

Build it, and they will comb.


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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2009, 03:17:32 PM »

Clearly, you need to give these bees a book so they know what they are supposed to do. Swarming and unswarming can get them banned from the bee union.
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SlickMick
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Posts: 590


Location: Brisbane, Australia


« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2009, 05:06:59 PM »

Perhaps they didn't pay their dues and were doing a bolt before they were found out. Caught in the act  grin

Mick
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On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
   And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
   One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten-year-old lad,
   Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
   For the youngster had never been christened,
A BUSH CHRISTENING - A.B. "Banjo" Paterson http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/christen.html
Dane Bramage
Field Bee
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Location: Portland, Oregon


« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2009, 05:19:38 PM »

If I've no extra frames of brood to add to a trap/new hive I throw a queen excluder on there (top-entrance only).  I've witnessed that preventing a re-swarm... a lot of the bees all boiling out as if they were going to swarm out only to find that the queen wouldn't be joining them, so they returned.  You're an experienced bloke so I imagine you've already considered the queen-excluder preventive measure but thought I'd share, just in case.  It's also prerequisite that you actually have the queen (non-virgin) in the box prior, of course.


Cheers,
Dane
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SlickMick
Field Bee
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Posts: 590


Location: Brisbane, Australia


« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2009, 10:40:59 PM »

Thanks Dane,

I normally expect that the queen has gone with the swarm and that when all seems well in the box assume that she is there with them. This was quite unexpected and hence my surprise when they returned home. I was not surprised the next day when they took off again. This time queenie must have been with them (although I still have yet to see her) and they seem to have settled in nicely. Bringing in nectar now but still no evidence of pollen although that should be coming in once laying starts again.

Unfortunately my excluder went for a walk after I had all my gear irradiated after a dose of AFB

Mick
Logged

On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
   And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
   One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten-year-old lad,
   Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
   For the youngster had never been christened,
A BUSH CHRISTENING - A.B. "Banjo" Paterson http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/christen.html
SlickMick
Field Bee
***
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Posts: 590


Location: Brisbane, Australia


« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2009, 12:47:55 AM »

Update!

The nuc with the 2 frames of brood and 3 capped queen cells. This morning there was one queen cell open and another with the queen emerging.. her face was exposed.. no sign of queen #1 but the frames are covered fully and the comb cant be seen for the bees. Drones are very excited  grin

The hive from whence the nuc and the swarm originated. Lots of very excited drones. The 2 queen cells, one was open and the other was still capped. They were on frame 7. I found another 2 cells on frame 2, one capped and the other open, so I don't know what the situation is there. It could be that they have built the cells at the same time as the ones that I transferred into the nuc. I would not be surprised if there are 2 virgin queens floating around the hive as the 5 frames are half a box apart. Puzzled by the still intact queen cells. If the other queens had hatched I would have expected them to be torn open. I don't imagine that they would have been built and capped over the past couple of days.

The swarm hive. Plenty of nectar coming in. The 2 old frames have nectar in most cells now and 2 of the 3 frames with foundation have been drawn out. Could not find the queen for the same reason as the nuc that the frames are heavily covered with bees and I could not see the comb except when I blew on the bees. No eggs that I could see. Perhaps I should give them a frame of capped brood and the original hive another frame of foundation.

Interesting ain't it?

Mick
Logged

On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few,
   And men of religion are scanty,
On a road never cross'd 'cept by folk that are lost,
   One Michael Magee had a shanty.

Now this Mike was the dad of a ten-year-old lad,
   Plump, healthy, and stoutly conditioned;
He was strong as the best, but poor Mike had no rest
   For the youngster had never been christened,
A BUSH CHRISTENING - A.B. "Banjo" Paterson http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/christen.html
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