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Author Topic: A T-bone sized cluster leaves a newly hived swarm  (Read 915 times)

Offline TwoHoneys

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A T-bone sized cluster leaves a newly hived swarm
« on: June 03, 2011, 07:41:12 AM »
A friend and I collected a nice swarm 2 days ago, and we hived it in her top-bar hive. All was good. Last night she called to say that a small cluster had spread flat across the ground about 3 feet from her KTBH...she described it as the size of a T-bone steak.

I suggested she could 1) brush the T-bone into a cardboard box and put it back in her KTBH and see if they stay, or 2) brush the T-bone into the only spare equipment she has on hand...a medium Lang with top and bottom and a few frames with old comb, or 3) let it go.

She brushed the T-bone into the Lang. She said she lay in the grass looking for a queen, but it was almost dark and she's never seen a queen before, so no luck.

I have several questions:
  • what was that T-bone? Did a virgin queen take off on her new life with a few followers?
  • does it stand a chance of survival?
  • I can give the T-bone eggs, larva, and stores (and a few nurse bees) if that would help. Would it?

I welcomed my friend to the always surprising and challenging life of keeping bees.

-Liz
"In a dream I returned to the river of bees" W.S. Merwin

Offline gardeningfireman

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Re: A T-bone sized cluster leaves a newly hived swarm
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2011, 11:02:20 AM »
My guess is that the queen was in that cluster of bees on the ground. I had that happen to me last year. Luckily I found her in the grass. Last week I put a swarm into one of my TBH's and put the queen in a queen catcher for two days. Once they started building comb, I released her and now she is laying like crazy! Once they draw comb and start laying, they usually will stay.

Offline TwoHoneys

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Re: A T-bone sized cluster leaves a newly hived swarm
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2011, 01:12:18 PM »
I'm reluctant to disturb the little hive yet by looking for the queen in it...should I? I just saw it...it's a grapefruit-sized cluster. The TBH from which it came is humming happily along...the two are set up next to one another, and it doesn't appear as if the bees in the TBH are in the least bit interested in the little hive in the Lang.

As soon as we introduced a feeder to the new little hive, it sprang to life.

I'd like to hope that there are now 2 hives rather than one and that I don't need to do anything to make this work out well. How delusional am I?

-Liz

"In a dream I returned to the river of bees" W.S. Merwin

Offline gardeningfireman

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Re: A T-bone sized cluster leaves a newly hived swarm
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2011, 06:05:40 PM »
Well Liz, we are ALL delusional to some degree  :-D! I would check the TBH for a queen/eggs. Keep feeding the small hive. If you can't find a queen or eggs in the TBH, then look in the other hive and reunite them if she is in there. If you do find the queen in the TBH, wait a couple days for the other one to build some comb and then look for a queen/eggs in there. My swarm queen was laying after three days; as soon as there was comb to lay in.

Offline montauk170

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Re: A T-bone sized cluster leaves a newly hived swarm
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2011, 06:24:09 PM »
Maybe there were two queens in that swarm that was hived, then one left.

Offline TwoHoneys

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Re: A T-bone sized cluster leaves a newly hived swarm
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2011, 10:27:19 PM »
I like your plan, gardeningfireman, and I'm going with it!

Thanks to you and montauk170.

-Liz
"In a dream I returned to the river of bees" W.S. Merwin