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Author Topic: Observations and questions regarding a hived cutout/swarm  (Read 1347 times)
dean0
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« on: March 06, 2011, 09:51:00 AM »

A little background info first. This is my first year as a beek.  I wasn't expecting bees until the end of March when out of the blue Hardwood called me on Wednesday and said he had a swarm that had taken up residence inside of a speaker box and wanted to know if I was interested. (Like he needed to ask) Heck yes I was interested.  He did warn me that swarms can be tricky to hold on to at times as it is but with the cut out end of it it might be even trickier, but then again, it might be a piece of cake; I didn't care, I wanted bees. I picked up the bees Thursday evening, transported them home and immediately placed the speaker on the bottom board that they will be using.  I was amazed that after being transported from one location on Thursday that the bees were already bringing in pollen on Friday...amazing.  Friday afternoon I carefully removed the woofer and got my first look at the comb and the bees...I was very nervous but I was suited up and I have seen several videos of you guys doing this sort thing all the time without any protection, so I relaxed...a little.  Being that this is a swarm, I decided to use a queen excluder as an included.  I lifted the speaker and and then gave a speaker a hard jolt on the ground to knock the bees off the comb. I dumped as many bees as I could into my deep and repeated the process 3 more times until there were only 20-30 bees remaining in the speaker.  I was able to salvage 2 decent size pieces of comb from inside the speaker.  Thanks to this informative website, I placed those 2 pieces of comb to a frame using several rubber bands.  I placed that frame in the middle of my deep box. I wasn't sure what to do with comb that was too small to attach to a frame, so I just laid them them against a frame of foundation.  I smoked the bees to drive them back down into their new home and put on the cover.  I was amazed by the sound the bees were generating but as night fell, they quieted down. My curiosity go to me that evening, so I took my flashlight out to the hive at 10:30pm and took a short peek (3-5 seconds) inside.  I was surprised to see all the bees on the middle 3 frames.

I mention earlier that the bees were bringing in pollen on Friday while they were still using the speaker as their home.  I watched them for hours on Saturday in their new home and I didn't see any pollen coming in like I did the day before. Since I just disrupted the bees old home and transfered them to a new home, would the bees first priority be to bring in nectar?  I just wondering why I didn't see any pollen yesterday and believe me we have tons of pollen, you should see my black car...it looks yellow.

I now need to remove the queen includer to release the drones. Is there a best time to lift the deep so that I can remove the includer which is sitting on top of my SBB?  I was thinking of doing it at night when all the bees are all huddled up near the top of the hive but not sure how defensive they are at night.  Second option is to do it in the afternoon when most of the field bees are away from the hive.  I am leaning towards doing it this afternoon and getting it done and over with.

I am dying to peek inside to see what has changed in a little less than 48 hours but I don't want to disturb them too much the first week in their new home.  I know the girls have been busy in their new home because of all the debris I am seeing falling from the SBB. Do you think it would be ok to have a peek inside today? Since I haven't see the queen yet, I am also interesting in seeing what she looks like.

I am also using a pail feeder.  I am using a 1 gallon clear plastic pail with 3 small holes drilled in the lid.  I invert the pail and place it on the cover that has a 7/8" hole drilled into it.  The lid has a lip on it that when inverted allow the bees to come out of the 7/8" hole and walk on top of the cover and feed on the syrup water.  The small holes that are drilled into the lid are spaced far enough away from each other so the none of the water that drips from the pail, drips into the hive.  The hole in the cover is protected from the elements by the pail, so no rain water will get into the hive.

Thanks to forums like this and mentors like Hardwood, I almost felt like I knew what I was doing on Friday.

Hardwood, thanks for the call about the bees!!

Dean0

 
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JP
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2011, 10:13:45 AM »

Dean, you need to remove the excluder immediately if there's any possibility you have a virgin queen in that swarm. Did you see eggs in the comb you removed?

They will huddle after an experience or if the weather changed, give them a day or two and they should resume their normal activities.

Feed them but leave them alone for 2-3 days then go have a peek and make sure you look for eggs/young larvae for signs that the queen is mated and laying.

Have fun!


...JP
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hardwood
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2011, 10:16:46 AM »

Ya did good Dean! Now is the time to just let them bee. Let them get built up some before you inspect. You run the risk of spooking them away if you check in on them too much...let them get established first. I'd say don't even crack the lid for two weeks or so. The queen should have started to lay again by then.

Scott
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2011, 10:25:21 AM »

don't wait to pull the excluder.  you won't disturb them much doing it.  just lift and kick the thing off...if there are a lot of bees on it, dump them on the hive porch.  they'll be ok.

i'd leave them alone also, but maybe not for two weeks.  since you didn't see the queen and you don't know that you have a mated queen in there, that's something you'll what to check out.  i'd wait, feed, and check for the queen maybe Friday.  that gives them time to settle, build comb, and for the queen to start laying again.



you'll also want to get any comb that you left laying in the hive, out (Friday). it will just end up a mess.  if you can't put it in a frame, just dump it.  make sure your frames are pushed tight together after your check.  enjoy your bees wink
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iddee
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2011, 10:32:28 AM »

Well, let's mix the fellow up real good. I say remove the excluder as directed above, then don't go within 50 feet of the hive for 7 days. About the 7th day, smoke them and go through the frames until you see eggs or larva. When eggs or larva are found, close it up immediately and leave it for another 7 days.

After that, do as you please.
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JP
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2011, 10:55:27 AM »

In retrospect Dean if for some reason you do have a virgin that has to be mated, she does need time to mate and begin laying, so I would do as Iddee suggests. You could also do as Scott suggests as well and wait two weeks but perhaps Scott is more patient than Iddee or myself?  grin

I am curious though, did you happen to see eggs in the comb you removed?

Also remove any comb that was placed in the hive that was not secured in your frames as Kathy mentioned.


...JP
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JP
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2011, 11:04:17 AM »

Oh boy now I probably really confused you! Remove those little pieces of comb laying against the frames you mentioned when you pull the excluder!  grin

Then leave them alone!  Wink


...JP
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dean0
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2011, 11:21:08 AM »

Thanks for the quick replies and it seems most everyone is telling me the same thing...don't mess with them. 

JP, I did not see any eggs in fact I took a picture of the removed comb and examined the photo on my computer.  I was able to zoom in pretty close and still could not find eggs.

Excluder is coming off as soon as I am done with this post. I thought about lifting the box completely to remove the excluder, but I am leaning towards lifting just the wide side of the box about an inch or two and sliding the thing out. I think sliding it out will be less disruptive. I began feeding syrup yesterday but only made a small batch (1st mistake).  I put it in my one gallon pail and I think most of it dripped out.  Making a new batch today, full gallon this time.  I experimented with my pail and found out it does not leak if you fill it up completed.  Less time to create a vacuum.  (1st lesson learned) 
It is going to be hard but I won't open the top until next week but I won't be too invasive.  I'll spend just enough time in there to look for eggs and retrieve the loose bits of comb I placed in the hive. I put them in there because they contained a liquid which I assumed was nectar.  Scott had told me the bees had only been in the speaker and hour or 2 when he got them.  I picked them up maybe 24 hours later and was surprised at the amount of comb they were able to build in that short amount of time.

Thanks again for the replies and the advice.
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dean0
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2011, 11:29:40 AM »

JP you didn't confuse me, just gave me an excuse  Smiley.  I know if I leave the bits and pieces of comb in there too long, I will have a mess to clean up.  Your post just gave me a reason to do what I have been wanting to do..open the top.  But, I may not have to open the top if they come out on their own from the bottom when I remove the excluder then I will wait until next week to open her up.

Dean0
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dean0
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2011, 01:44:02 PM »

UPDATE:
Queen excluder has been removed.  There were not very many bees on the excluder when I removed it so I just shook them off near the entrance.  The little pieces of comb that I had just placed inside the hive did not come out when I removed the excluder.  I removed my pail feeder and there were maybe 30 bees under the pail feeding on the sugar water.  I removed the cover and all the bees were concentrated on 3 frames; #5, the frame of old comb I got from Scott, #6, the frame of comb from the speaker box and #7, the frame where I placed the little bits and bits which happened to be frame #7. 

JP, while retrieving the old comb, all my bees flew to top of my neighbors tree.  Now what I am supposed to do?  Just kidding, everything appears to be fine.

I removed frames 8, 9, and 10 which are empty and then removed #7 and retrieved the comb.  They hadn't really done anything with the bits and pieces except for cleaning them out, so no mess for me to clean up or fix. What really amazed me is that with frame #7 removed, I could see all of frame #6 which was covered with bee and probably where my queen was.  When I placed frame #6 in the hive Friday evening, the bottom of their old comb was maybe 2-3 inches from the bottom.  Today it drawn out and attached to the bottom. I sure they didn't work on it Friday evening after placing them in the hive, so all this work had to have been done yesterday.  These girls work quick.

I was nervous about going into their hive but they were very gentle and not defensive which calmed me down.  I didn't take time to look for the queen or eggs, just went in to retrieve old comb and practice removing frames gently so as to not cause a disturbance.  (JP) Hopefully they will still be home next weekend and I can report that have a queen and eggs Smiley.  Thank you everyone for your input and direction.

Dean0
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JP
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2011, 02:43:33 PM »

Dean, you're just having yourself a ball now playing with those bees, aren't you?  grin

Welcome to bee keeping!


...JP
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dean0
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2011, 03:41:59 PM »

Yes JP, This has been a fun weekend and I am having a ball.

Here is a picture of the comb taken from the speaker that I attached to a frame on Friday evening.


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Here is a picture of the same frame taken Sunday morning when I went in to retrieve some loose bits of comb. They have drawn it out and already attached it to the bottom of the frame.  Looks like they like their new home.  I hope they stay!!


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