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.