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Author Topic: They tried to Swarm!  (Read 1171 times)
Anybrew
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« on: August 30, 2011, 04:21:28 AM »

Hi guys, yesterday I went through my Hives (5) as it was time to put on supers for Spring.  My Hives have wintered in single 8 frame box's. They have started to really get going and all is looking great.  My strongest hive is looking fantastic and I had noticed alot of activity and a little bit of bearding.  Anyway I added supers and had a fun afternoon.

Today my strongest hive is a mass of bee's bearding all over it and really flat out, I think they are going to swarm for sure.  It was a beaut day and this activity continued all day.  I watched, and I watched but no swarm.
Late in the afternoon I went over to the hive and I saw a small clump of Bee's on the ground no worries but then stuff me my queen is there with them some 3 metres from the hive.  I watch her and she is one lovely fat queen just beautiful, the thing is she can't fly due to her size she just kinda jumps and flaps her wings.
I picked her up and placed her on the landing board and the other girls seemed pleased to she her and she walked inside weird.

She hasn't been clipped and looked in top condition, has anyone had this happen it was a strange experience.
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2011, 10:01:49 PM »

I would strongly suggest going in to your hive, finding her, taking her out with some frames of brood/stores and starting a nuc - if she left the hive she has swarmed and that means there's either a capped queen cell in there that will soon hatch or a virgin queen in there who will be doing mating flights. Keep an eye on that hive! she may leave again before you can split it
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Anybrew
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2011, 11:22:14 PM »

You know what that is a very good advice OzBuzz, as yes she did swarm but physically couldn't do it.
Thanks.

Anybrew
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Anybrew
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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2011, 12:27:43 AM »

Well I just went through the Hive and found two hatched queen cells,(you were spot on OzBuzz) I couldn't find the big queen I saw yesterday.  I looked for a virgin queen but I couldn't see one, but I find them hard to spot.

The hive is just as strong so I am guessing my old queen has been killed or walked off.  I had a good search on the ground but she could be anywhere. 

Cheers
Steve
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2011, 01:40:40 AM »

She could still be in there - there's a few things you could do dependent on how 'drastic' you want to be...

1) Leave it as it is and see what happens - if she is still there then it's likely she will swarm and take some of the hive with her

2) You could always use an excluder and 'strain' the old queen out. What you would do is put an empty super on the base, put the excluder on, and put another box on top - shake each frame on to the excluder. The workers will go through and any drones/queens will stay above the excluder. Then put the old queen in a queen cage with some workers for a few hours - let them all settle then take some frames of brood/stores and make the nuc - as i said it's a fairly drastic measure but means you wont loose any bees and you will still have, what sounds to be, a very productive queen.
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Anybrew
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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2011, 03:29:48 AM »

I like the number (2) but it is a little perhaps daunting to be honest.

So at this stage number (1) may be what I will do. 

The bee's are still bearding up and are on edge, the queen is probably in there and I just missed her.  As you say, I don't want to lose bee's as it is one hell of a hive.(Kangaroo Island Nuc that has just exploded in four weeks)

I will leave them alone for a couple of days and go back in (might bee to late though), thanks again OzBuzz you have been very helpful I owe you a Beer.

Cheers
Anybrew
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2011, 11:26:11 PM »

(2) really is quite easy to do... i can post some detailed guidelines if you like! if your queen has been good to you then you don't want to risk losing her!
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Anybrew
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2011, 09:44:46 PM »

Thanks OzBuzz, but It will leave them alone for a bit.  They have settled down a fair bit I will go back in and have a look see over the weekend.
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gregted
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I used to be indicisive, but I'm not so sure now..


« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2011, 06:35:02 PM »

Ozbuzz, I tried to find my queen yesterday but no luck and others think I may have a virgin queen and she is hard to spot.

Would your (2) empty super and excluder idea work with a virgin queen or is she still too small. Does this method of finding the queen stress out the colony?

I also want to mark my queens. Is there an easy way to hold and mark her. I have heard about holding her by the wings or feet and using white correction ink. Is this the best way.

I remember seeing something like a tube, either toilet roll or poly pipe covered on the top with screen and a plunger covered with soft felt and press her up to the screen to hold her while she is being marked. Is this too extreme?
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Anybrew
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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2011, 06:55:56 PM »

Hi GregTed, I mark new queens when I get them using a water based paint pen(Uni Posca brand).  I find it real hard to hold the queen and mark her.  But it is worth while as she is sooo much easy to spot on a frame is great.  Let me know if you find a device to hold the queen with.

Cheers
Steve
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