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Author Topic: Think hive swarmed now what?  (Read 383 times)
uglyfrozenfish
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Location: Saranac, Michigan


« on: August 19, 2011, 10:08:48 AM »

I few weeks ago I checked my hive and found a dozen+ queen cells.  I wasn't sure if it was supurcedure, swarm or if the queen had died but at that time there were still lots of capped brood.  I checked yesterday and found no queen cells, no capped brood or open brood, and hardly any honey stores and there was plenty of honey last time.  They havn't been building comb on the empty frames at all either.  My gut feeling is that they swarmed, which is why their stores are depleted, and that there is either a very new queen or none at all.  I am going to one of my stronger hives today to grab a few frames of brood to boost their numbers over the next weeks.  As well as try to contract the hive down to one deep from 2 becuase they don't seem to need that much space right now. 

I am wondering if I should feed them.  All we have left here is goldenrod left for the year.  I have about 30 pounds of honey, some of it that has granulated, that I have set aside for feeding back to the bees.  SHould I put a feeder on top and let them build up their stores that way or wait until later in the fall? 

Any other suggestions would also help. 

THanks so much,
Lee
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caticind
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Location: Carrboro, North Carolina

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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2011, 11:07:29 AM »

Over a dozen cells means a swarm.

You are doing the right thing by giving them frames of brood and removing empty space. 

If you are worried that they may be queenless (more than 4 weeks with no eggs) then make sure there are some eggs on the frames you give them.  If it hasn't been that long, and you are just waiting for your new queen to lay again, try to give them frames of "burnt biscuit" - capped brood with toasty brown cappings.  These are bees which will emerge in under a week, and best support the population while you figure things out.

Are you currently in the dearth where you are?  Ideally you will want to wait to feed until after the goldenrod is done, when they have had the best chance to gather enough for themselves.  If they might starve first, you can feed, but feeding in the dearth is dangerous and can trigger robbing.  If the hive still has some capped honey, then you can wait a little while.  No brood means they don't go through much stores.  If they have no capped stores at all, and there is no new nectar coming in, then you may have to feed honey back now. 
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The bees would be no help; they would tumble over each other like golden babies and thrum wordlessly on the subjects of queens and sex and pollen-gluey feet. -Palimpsest
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