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Author Topic: Swarm absconded from TBH  (Read 1958 times)
Alison
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Location: Encinitas, CA


« on: March 03, 2011, 12:38:39 AM »

Hello there, I am a beginner beekeeper and just caught a swarm for my new TBH. I put the swarm in on Saturday, everything looked fine for a couple of days (lots of activity around the hive), but now just 4 days after I installed the swarm, they absconded.
Also, there are about 30 dead bees on the bottom of the screen. Does anyone have any ideas as to what went wrong so that I can be successful with my next swarm? I put the hive on my roof as I don't have a very big yard and the bees were aggressive. I put the follower board after 11 bars. I live in San Diego and it is pretty warm with lots of flowers around.  Should I feed the bees? Should I make a queen includer?
Thanks for any help you can offer!
 Alison
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BjornBee
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Location: Lewisberry, PA


« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2011, 06:25:00 AM »

Alison,
I suspect they just did not like your location based on what they seek themselves in what a suitable home should be based on simple criteria. Studies have shown bees prefer the following:

Honey Bees…..

* prefer a swarm trap (colony location) about 8 to 15 feet off the ground.

* will disregard a trap with light coming in from above.

* prefer a trap equivalent to a cavity size slightly larger than a deep brood
   box.

* will select sites in the afternoon shade. They may abandon a site within a
   few days if in full sun and heat is an issue.


* prefer bait hives with entrances facing south.

* prefer a entrance towards the bottom of the cavity.

* prefer a unobstructed flight path from the entrance.

* will not take up residence in a bait hive that has other insects in them.
   Keep them free of wasps, yellow jackets, etc.

* prefer a bait hive that is dry.

* prefer a previously used site that has a honey bee smell of old comb, or
   one that has baited with bee scent.

So it is easy to understand sometimes when a captured swarm just gets up and leaves. I'm surprised they actually stayed 4 days. If they are going to leave, they usually do it sooner.

I suspect the heat of the hive on the roof may of played into it. In the future you can capture and cage the queen, use queen excluders, or entice them to stay with a frame of brood once you have a hive up and running.

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bud1
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Location: macon, Ms.


« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2011, 08:06:51 AM »

i have trouble with them taking off, so i clip tthe oueen, she doesnt go far and just chunk her back in. they will give up after a while
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tillie
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Location: Atlanta, GA

Bee in N Georgia on a Blackberry flower


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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2011, 08:26:27 AM »

The only way I could keep the bees in my top bar hives was to put old comb in the hive and to close off the screened bottom.  I put in a swarm - huge one - and it absconded the next day.  Then I bought a package and installed it.  Luckily when they absconded I found them on the ground nearby, gathered them up and kept them in a cardboard box while I closed off the SBB and tied some old comb onto some top bars.

Then when I installed the package, they stayed.  Now they've made it through the winter and are up and running for 2011 after a very difficult 2010 winter.

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2010/04/bad-luck-bad-judgment-bad-beginning-for.html

Linda T in Atlanta
« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 08:43:40 AM by tillie » Logged

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tillie
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Location: Atlanta, GA

Bee in N Georgia on a Blackberry flower


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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2011, 08:28:10 AM »

forgot to say that I think my hive was both too hot and too light inside.  I followed plans on a not-to-be-named site on the Internet.  The wavy plastic top that is recommended there isn't enough in the Southern sun....so I have since replaced it with a wooden roof topped with aluminum flashing.  I attribute the winter survival to the stronger top.

Linda T in Atlanta
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2011, 10:28:40 PM »

I've had swarms abscond from every type of hive one time or another.  A few drops of lemongrass essential oils seems to be very helpful at keeping them there.
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Michael Bush
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Alison
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Location: Encinitas, CA


« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2011, 10:48:43 PM »

Thanks to everyone for the advice! Hopefully I will be able to keep the next swarm that I catch.
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Pink Cow
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Location: CA - East SF Bay Area


« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2011, 04:24:29 PM »

Sorry to hear you lost them. Our only lost swarm last year was from a TBH too. Do you have access to old comb? You can make your hive smell lived-in if you can get comb and propolis and just rub it all over the inside. Even smash some down into the corners and leave it there. Can't swear that it will guarantee they stay, but coincidentally perhaps, the two TBH we did not lose were in boxes treated this way, and the third was not. It won't hurt, and might help.
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