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Author Topic: August swarm call  (Read 1644 times)
skflyfish
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« on: August 07, 2010, 05:00:08 PM »

Got a call this morning from our township treasurer, asking me if I wanted a swarm of honey bees at her neighbors across the bay on their lake. I asked how large, she said basketball sized. I said sure, be right out.

Got to the site and it was a nurf football sized sized swarm. The owners said it was about half the size it was earlier. Also got a little more history on this swarm. The showed up Wednesday and were much larger than they are now. They were in a nearby trumpet flower tree. They flew off on Thursday and were back on Friday. I found the swarm on a small wild rose. Sprayed them with some sugar water and cut it off and shook it into a full deep, which was way too big, but I only brought one box based on their description. I did look around and did find a queen. Not huge, maybe a virgin, but not fuzzy. I also noticed some bees back in some swamp bushes. Got in there and found a fresh 5 inch diameter comb on a branch and a few bees on it. Cut that off and shook the bees in the hive and placed the comb inside and the branch in front. The bees were very gentle.

I had to run home and whip up an all season inner cover, so I could easily feed baggies of 2:1 syrup. Made some syrup up and headed back. The bees were settling nicely into the hive and were starting to come and go a bit. I put on the new inner cover and saw maybe two frames of bees on the fresh foundation. Put 2 quart baggies of 2:1 syrup in the inner cover and talked to the homeowner some more.

It sounds like there are a number of bee trees in the area, so this means these bees are feral. Kewl. I know of no other beeks in that area. I guess in the spring a couple of tree are loud with bees. One tree did come down last year and they found an old hive in it, but it was abandoned.

I am going to leave the hive there for a couple of days for the bees to settle in. Wish I had got some pics but forgot the camera. I am just like JP when he finds the queen. I was so giddy finding her. I also sure appreciate JP's videos. I felt pretty confident about all of this.

Now it is feed, feed, feed.

One question. Will bringing them back to my apiary of 10 hives, start a robbing frenzy?

More later..........

Jay
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JP
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2010, 08:07:09 PM »

Great job and congratulations Jay! If in doubt on any robbing issues reduce the entrance so only a few bees can get in and out at a time.

Make sure you have adequate ventilation when reducing the entrance this time of year.


...JP
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skflyfish
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2010, 09:49:16 PM »

Thanks JP.

Right now they are on a solid bottom board, but when they come back to my apiary I will put them on a screened bottom board. Tim Arheit's all season inner cover does a great job of ventilating along with a SBB. Plus it makes feeding them quite easy.

I was wondering if the small swarm would try robbing other hives, but the others are so strong, it probably won't happen. I will reduce the entrance on these bees, just to keep the peace.

Again, thanks for your videos. On this swarm I did take the time to actually find the queen. I feel so much better knowing that. I do have to buy some queen clips though.

Jay
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annette
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2010, 11:30:03 PM »

Jay

I have these same covers as you have. Where are you placing the baggie feeders??

Annette
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skflyfish
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2010, 11:48:20 PM »

Annette,

I just lift the telescoping cover and place them on the all season inner cover.

I can lift the telescoping cover a bit and peek at the contents and change them if needed. Very handy.

In winter I replaced the Styrofoam insulation with a solid two inch piece that is hollowed out to 1 inch thick and drilled a small hole in it so the bees can enter all winter and feed on white sugar.

Did this explain it well? If not I can take a pic and post it.

Jay
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tefer2
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2010, 07:47:46 AM »

I have the same inner covers and that sounds like something I may try. How about that picture ?
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skflyfish
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2010, 08:46:02 PM »



Here is a pic of syrup baggies in the inner cover of the swarm I just collected. I have never installed the hardware cloth over the inner hole, so the bees are free to enter the cavity. That way they can get to the baggies and is a great overflow area when the hive gets a little full. I have not had issues with wax moths because the bees are always clustered by the inner hole.

HTH,

Jay
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skflyfish
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2010, 08:56:32 PM »

Here is a short video of the day after. I checked them tonight and they are already bringing in pollen. I would take that as a good sign. One odd note, as noted in the video, a very small cluster of bees keeps going back to the wild rose bush I cut them off of. I would cut them off, look for a queen, not find one, shake them at the landing board and they would return to the wild rose bush. I am not sure what is up with that.

Jay

video

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annette
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2010, 12:00:30 AM »

OK Jay that is what I thought you were doing with the baggies.

I would not do that because it can start a ferocious robbing situation having that sugar syrup out in the open like that. All the bees in the area can smell that sugar syrup.

How long have you been feeding like that?? I guess if it has been working for you, well OK, but I would be afraid of a robbing situation with my hives.

Annette
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skflyfish
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2010, 07:40:06 AM »

Hi Annette,

This is my second year using this technique. I have never had it initiate any robbing. The robbers have to come through the bottom entrance, or upper entrance, then up the hive, through the inner hole and to the baggies. I never have that many bees on a bag, maybe a dozen.

It may be the difference in climate. From pics I have seen of your spot it seems quite dry, almost desert. I live where 20% of the world's supply of fresh water is. Seems like there is always something blooming here. Even the goldenrod and fall aster still bloom after a frost.

For me it has worked well, but definitely my situation is much different than yours.

Jay
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annette
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2010, 11:45:39 AM »

That is so true Jay. Here it is so dry and nothing is in bloom.  I get very little honey every year around here.

Good information Jay on why you don't have any robbing.

Annette
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skflyfish
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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2010, 10:57:38 AM »

Just an update on this little swarm.

Left them at the site just over a week to settle in and build. Brought them home last night and checked them this morning.

In just over a week they have drawn out 4 frames of foundation and have a frame of capped brood already. They have uncapped honey and pollen. They are in overdrive, this late swarm is.

Jay
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annette
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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2010, 01:14:29 AM »

Good News Jay. Hopefully they will build up for winter.

Good Luck
Annette
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skflyfish
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2010, 12:14:27 PM »

Thanks Annette.

This is going to be an interesting swarm. They spent 3 or 4 days moving from tree to tree, but never found a suitable site to get established. When I went back the original night with baggies of 2:1, they were already bringing in pollen (bright red, maybe cardinal flower) and seemed to be coving the new foundation.

When I examined them yesterday I was hoping to see some eggs and small larva. I was quite shocked at the number of capped brood and drawn out frames. I went back to Michael Bush's bee math page and it states that workers are capped at 9 days +/- 1 day. Yesterday was 9 days. That means she was laying in the depression of the foundation and making the workers draw the cells around the egg and larva. The queen must really sense the urgency of the situation by laying in the depression of new foundation.  The capped cells were not as thick as one would normally find. Some of the feral bees I say yesterday were quite short in the abdomen. I am wondering if the first batch of workers will be the same way.

Swarms alway seem to build faster than splits, but this swarm will be especially interesting to see how it plays out.

Jay
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beee farmer
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« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2010, 12:17:35 PM »

Fish,
 The reason they keep going back to the wild rose bush is the queen was once there and there is residual "Come Hither" pheremone on it. 
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skflyfish
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« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2010, 01:27:52 PM »

Farmer,

Makes sense, though every time I cut off a section, the just moved down. I think a few rain storms finally washed th scent away.

Thx,

Jay
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