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Author Topic: Swarms - good to rehome?  (Read 1795 times)

Offline McGoo

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Swarms - good to rehome?
« on: April 05, 2010, 01:54:54 PM »
I am a total newbie - so please be kind and patient  :-D
I'v been told that the most productive (not the only) way to start a topbar hive is to get a swarm because they are most productive. 
Why did the swarm start to begin with?  Is a swarm created because a queen is not productive?  Or because more room was needed?  How do you know, since you wouldn't want a less productive bee. 

Any insight, links, truly appreciated.
Colleen

Offline Robo

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Re: Swarms - good to rehome?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2010, 06:32:30 PM »
Swarms are basically how honeybees procreate.   Strong colonies usually swarm in the spring leaving some bees at the old location and queen cells to hatch.  If all goes well, the queen cells will hatch, the virgin queen will mate and take over the old colony.  While the old queen and the rest of the bees swarm to a new location to start a new colony.  Swarms are considered great comb builders because the swarming bees will gorge themselves on honey before they leave the old colony in anticipation of having to start from scratch.  So when they find a suitable location, their wax glands are in full swing.   The reason they are such prolific wax builders is that it takes almost a month from when the queen lays eggs before new bees start to hatch.  So during that time, the colony is in constant decline as older bees die off.  Considering that the average life of a bee is 4 to 6 weeks during a flow,  you can see why it is important for comb to be built quickly so that the queen can start laying.  This is also the reason many people prefer buy nucs instead of package bees.   With a nuc comes brood, so the colony will grow from the first day and not be in decline for a month.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline McGoo

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Re: Swarms - good to rehome?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2010, 07:00:29 PM »
Thanks for your explanation.  The 'nuc' is a set up for Langstroth, so I suppose that is why my Top Bar guru suggested a swarm or 'loose bees' since it would be easier to transition?  I'm also told, as you stated, that a swarm is very motivated and they will build up quickly. 

thanks so much!

Offline annette

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Re: Swarms - good to rehome?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2010, 12:17:48 AM »
Good luck with the bees Colleen. I learned that New York just made beekeeping legal so enjoy your new hobby.  I am originally from Brooklyn but been out in California almost 30 years.

Annette

Offline Robo

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Re: Swarms - good to rehome?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2010, 09:03:51 AM »
Good luck with the bees Colleen. I learned that New York just made beekeeping legal so enjoy your new hobby.  I am originally from Brooklyn but been out in California almost 30 years.

Annette

That would be New York City....  NYC is just a tiny portion of the state, though seems to be what everyone thinks of when they hear NY, and a burden to the rest of us. Beekeeping has always been legal in the rest of the state.   :-P
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline McGoo

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Re: Swarms - good to rehome?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2010, 06:14:53 PM »
Annette,
robo is correct about NYC.  I'm a bit north of there....but more importantly, my son lives nearby you.  He and his wife live in Plymouth...and yes, they have bees!  The bees do so well out there with that modest winter. 

Thanks for your kind wishes to me and all the beekeepers in NYC. 
Colleen

Offline annette

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Re: Swarms - good to rehome?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2010, 06:43:31 PM »
Oops!!  I knew it was just NYC and not the whole state. Should have been more specific