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Author Topic: shrinking colony!?  (Read 1084 times)
jelder
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Location: hobart tasmania


« on: December 17, 2011, 03:29:48 AM »

hi everyone, this is my first time here so any comments greatly recieved.

i am new to bee keeping, i have captured my first swarm and located it into a hive consisting of one brood box and one ideal super (8 frames), the swarm was captured three weeks ago.  my concern is that since then the number of bees ( in my opinion) has decreased, not a great deal but i am pretty sure there are less not than when i first introduced them to the hive.  i have not seen the queen yet, and they only seem to be drawing comb on two of the outer frames.  the person on whos land the hive is situated says he has seen bees comming and going quiet frequently.  i have only checked on the hive in the evenings because of other commitments but i should get to it during the daytime this week. 

any comments to help reassure a nervous 'newbee' would be greatly appreciated.

cheers
jelder
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CapnChkn
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2011, 04:37:01 AM »

Ok, I was wondering how you might have come by a swarm at this time of year.  You should change the location in your profile to show where you are so we can tell you about the bees where you are.  My bees were out the day before yesterday looking for something to eat, today they've tucked in tight, don't let the bedbugs bite.

If you just got the swarm, they will need to hatch the baby bees.  That takes 21 days.  Since your worker bees are basically the oldest bees, and are in the process of setting up a new colony, they are dying off.  Hopefully (most probably) they'll keep things together long enough to have the new bees hatching.

What should be a concern is if you open the hive and do not see any eggs, new larvae, or sealed brood.  If the hive has no queen, in my experience they might hang around until there are just a teaspoon of bees.  Mine stopped building and drank syrup, drew cells on any wax I put there but didn't make any comb.
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yantabulla
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2011, 04:37:28 AM »

Jelder,

From your description it sounds like you have picked up a fairly small swarm.  

I would try to confine them to a smaller space eg a nucleus hive.

They won't fill out a full depth & ideal super in a hurry unless it was a big swarm.  I would put the ideal away for a while.

It will take 21 days for new bees to appear so if it was a small swarm you will have less bees.

Don't worry about seeing the queen.  Have you sighted eggs or larvae?

After 3 weeks you should be seeing larvae or possible capped brood

I would assume you don't have to worry about beetles down there.

Yanta
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Mardak
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2011, 04:53:19 AM »

Good advice about keeping the swarm in  a smaller area. The swarm will expend much energy either cooling or warming the hive area. The smaller the area obviously less energy expended to maintain hive. 21 days for baby bees if there is a queen in there. Maybe more time will be needed if queen gets superseded by swarm in new hive.
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Ken
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2011, 05:21:29 AM »

Capn,
Down under beekeeping section refers to the Aussies on board here. Smiley
But your right,his location is a plus since it was also posted in general beekeepimg forum.
Wish it was swarm season here,that  would mean warm weather.
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Geoff
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2011, 05:12:26 PM »

Captn,
          Jelder is in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Hobart is our most southern city and at this time of the year a very temperate climate.
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CapnChkn
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2011, 07:28:04 PM »

Hello Everybody!

I read the message in the General Beekeeping Forum, saw that Jelder had written two posts, and couldn't find the second until I opened his profile and followed his post here.  We've been having a fairly warm winter here, usually it will drop to -6°C (21°F) and stay that way for several days.  This year I've had "short sleeve" weather several times this close to the equinox.

Jelder mentions he has two frames with comb, 3 weeks after housing them.  I had that experience after a colony absconded, was housed in a TBH, then robbers killed the queen and they wasted away.  I'm anxious to see if he has any brood...

Cheers!
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"Thinking is like sin, them that doesn't is scairt of it, and them that does gets to liking it so much they can't quit!"  -Josh Billings.
jelder
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2011, 03:10:42 AM »

thanks to all who hsave replied, and sorry about the confusion about my whereabouts.  i will be checking in on the hive this comming saturday so will post my findings then, if the colony is not drawing a great amount of comb i will reduce the hive down to a brood box, i intend on looking in the early afternoon so i should be able to have a good look for larve and the queen.

once again thanks to all

jon
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