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Author Topic: Double swarm?  (Read 1510 times)
windmill
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« on: October 17, 2011, 01:14:26 AM »

Hey guys.

Calling from launceston tasmania. I have had a couple of hives for 3 years, but still an amateur. I have currently one hive, with one brood box and 3 ideals. 2 weeks ago the hive swarmed and ended up next door. I collected the swarm in a new brood box and placed it next to the original hive. Within 48 hours the swarm had disappeared never to be found again. I opened the original hive and found it to be full of bees and honey. They were building comb inside the roof as there was no room left in the ideals. I then put a new ideal on top and closed it up again. This morning the hive appeared to be swarming again, with thousands of bees all over the face of the hive and on the table around the hive. There were also many airbourne bees. This situation lasted approx 30mins. While observing the swarm expecting it to fly it gradually returned to the hive and returned to normal activity. Can anybody shed any light on what is happening with my hive?

Cheers steve
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bernsad
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2011, 06:33:24 AM »

I'm no expert but it sounds like they are about to swarm again, what you are describing is exactly what one of my hives did 2 weeks ago; swarmed, re-hived themselves and then swarmed again 2 days later.
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yantabulla
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2011, 06:57:16 AM »

Windmill

From your description it sounds like an orientation flight.  Just young bees getting to know the location of the hive.  It can seem like a swarm when they are all out.  Usually happens in the mid afternoon at my place.  You may want to look at the space in the brood box.  Does the queen need more room?  Have you re-queened recently?

As for your swarm it is a good idea to put a queen excluder between the bottom board & the super of newly hived swarms for a few days to stop them nicking off

Yanta
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2011, 06:02:08 PM »

If it's an established hive, you haven't moved it and nothings changed other than them swarming then i would say it's not an orientation flight (sorry yanta). The bees have no need to re-orient and you won't have sufficient brood moving across to field bees on that exact day to explain what you saw. Also, prior to swarming the previous queen would have stopped laying for a bit so i wouldn't expect massive numbers of young bees in your hive. Is there a laying queen in there now and are there any other queen cells? The dead give away for me is the fact they're building comb under the lid - they're full and need more space. What i personally would suggest doing, and others may present alternative ideas, is free up some space in the brood nest - put in some undrawn foundation - if it's warm and population is booming (which it sounds like it is) you could get away going F-B-F-B-F-B-F-B with F being undrawn foundation and B being brood in the brood box. Then i would move some of your capped honey in your ideals up in to the top box and replace that with some of the undrawn foundation that would be in the top box - this will give them more space but also encourage them to start working the top box. This is one situation where i like to have consistent box sizes - if they were all consistent you could easily move some of the brood frames up in to the top boxes - this would allow you to put more space in the brood nest whilst also allowing the capped brood in the frames you've moved in to the top boxes to hatch and then be backfilled with nectar
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windmill
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2011, 07:51:37 PM »

Thank you all for your suggestions.  I will open the hive today and put some honey frames further up and some foundation down the bottom and see what happens!!

Cheers

Steve
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2011, 08:13:15 PM »

Sounds good -also have a look for queen cells or a queen - if you see other queen cells and a queen walking around then i wouldnt suggest squashing them - take the frames with the cells out of that hive and put it in your other hive with some frames of brood, stores etc leaving the queen in the hive. If you don't see a queen but see plenty of queen cells then leave one cell in the original hive and move the rest as per above... at least then if something goes wrong you will have back ups.
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windmill
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2011, 07:26:29 PM »

Hi all

The bees beat me to it!!

I had three swarms appear at the same time!!  Managed to catch them all and now have new hives.  I opened the original hive and found five more queen cells and killed all but one.  Everything now seems to have settled down again and all is back to normal.

Cheers

Steve
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Country Heart
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2011, 07:51:51 PM »

Congratulations on your new hives!   Smiley
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Mardak
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 04:39:51 AM »

If ya got some queen cells make some splits and presto some new hives. It is only October so you will have plenty of time to build them up and get some honey and have them strong enough for next winter.
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bernsad
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2011, 06:31:58 PM »

You've also got to have the woodenware and the space to put the new hives.

Well done on catching 3 swarms at a time.
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Mardak
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2011, 12:37:21 AM »

Get busy, build more boxes and fing some freinds in suburbia who have accessible roofs and plonk them there. My mate has a few dozen floating around Abbotsford and Clifton Hill. he made new freinds through door knocking. these new freinds love the idea of some honey from their roofs/ The urban nectar syndrome.
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Corey
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2011, 07:00:23 PM »

I reckon the moral of this story (and many others, including my own) is that, in Melbourne, the conditions are so good that don't wait until well into September before you do your first post winter inspection to see if the bees have enough room.  If you have some nice spring days early then check them.  This year with all the rain and subsequent good state of plants things have bloomed, and so have the bee colonies!
Next year if the weather is warm I'm going to check my hives in late August or the first week of September.  And requeen the hives I'm not  doing this spring.

Well done on all your swarm collecting!
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Mardak
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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2011, 09:17:13 PM »

Absolutely correct, larger towns and cities offer lots of flora to sustain thriving hives. The honey is just as nice as anything you get anywhere. Urban flow.
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yantabulla
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« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2011, 05:01:49 AM »

I agree.  Have a poke around in August if you aren't getting frost & the days are warm.  Global warming & all that.
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Harpo
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Location: Kandos NSW


« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2011, 08:01:14 AM »

If it's an established hive, you haven't moved it and nothings changed other than them swarming then i would say it's not an orientation flight (sorry yanta). The bees have no need to re-orient and you won't have sufficient brood moving across to field bees on that exact day to explain what you saw. Also, prior to swarming the previous queen would have stopped laying for a bit so i wouldn't expect massive numbers of young bees in your hive. Is there a laying queen in there now and are there any other queen cells? The dead give away for me is the fact they're building comb under the lid - they're full and need more space. What i personally would suggest doing, and others may present alternative ideas, is free up some space in the brood nest - put in some undrawn foundation - if it's warm and population is booming (which it sounds like it is) you could get away going F-B-F-B-F-B-F-B with F being undrawn foundation and B being brood in the brood box. Then i would move some of your capped honey in your ideals up in to the top box and replace that with some of the undrawn foundation that would be in the top box - this will give them more space but also encourage them to start working the top box. This is one situation where i like to have consistent box sizes - if they were all consistent you could easily move some of the brood frames up in to the top boxes - this would allow you to put more space in the brood nest whilst also allowing the capped brood in the frames you've moved in to the top boxes to hatch and then be backfilled with nectar

You say the give away is comb under the lid - have you seen comb that has been added parrallel to the built out foundation which looks like a disc, and a tear drop... I take it I have to super??? This was a swarm from my original hive which I supered before winter? I'm waiting for a queen excluder but as I had a little swarm late this afternoon( smaller than a footie ) am I too late?
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