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Author Topic: Getting a swarm to stay  (Read 1679 times)

Offline jaseemtp

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Getting a swarm to stay
« on: August 10, 2012, 12:09:39 AM »
I should know the answer to this but the swarm I caught today will not listen.  They are a small swarm a little smaller than a soccer ball.  I was able to find the queen and she is in a queen clip.  I gave them one frame of syrup / honey and a frame of brood and then moved them into a 5 frame nuc as they are a pretty small swarm.  The other 3 frames are all drawn out and I did put a second nuc body ontop with a quart of 1:1 syrup.  The workers will NOT stay in the box.  I dunno whats going on.  The entrance is reduced down to one bee space and they have a screened bottom board.  I have not noticed robbing.  It is freaking hot here but they do recieve plenty of shade in this location.
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Offline Hemlock

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2012, 12:26:22 AM »
I do know that once a swarm takes to a hive (whatever that ends up being) many bees go outside and fan pheromone to attract the remainder of the swarm.  How many bees were outside?

Offline jaseemtp

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2012, 12:32:45 AM »
darn near all of them, but they did not just stay on the hive or at the entrance.  I had to retrieve them from 20 something feet up a tree.  I caught the swarm about 10 miles from where they are now.
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Offline JP

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2012, 10:06:51 AM »
My hunch is it could be a heat issue. Nucs don't have much ventilation to begin with because they are so much narrower. Try propping the top some to see if that has a bearing.


...JP
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Offline David McLeod

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2012, 11:16:09 AM »
I've found that swarms tend to dislike screened bottom boards. I always put them in solid bottom boards until they get established.
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Offline jaseemtp

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2012, 11:43:16 AM »
Ok, I will try a larger box with a solid bottom board today
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Offline bud1

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2012, 05:31:30 PM »
from may onwards about the only way i can keep a swarm is to clip the queen and even then i will put her back several times. but she is only be a few feet away on the ground
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Offline duck

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2012, 09:04:19 PM »
the only way I can keep anything around anymore is to put a queen excluder between the bottom board and hive body for four days.  Its now standard practice on all my cutouts as well.

Offline jaseemtp

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2012, 10:12:24 PM »
I could see that working but I have the queen captured on one of those queen clips. I fell further behind today with honey do that I just recently moved them to an 8 frame box and since I do not solid bottom boards I used a piece of cardboard to close up the bottom. Most of the bees had gone back up the tree and were just recently shaken back down in the box with the queen. The queen is looking great and still in the clip. I am unsure as what else I can do to keep them in the hive.
The hive bodies I used today are older and well used on the inside. I am not sure if that is better than the brand new nuc box I attempted.
"It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

Offline duck

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2012, 11:50:46 PM »
all you do is by keeping the queen in the catcher is stop her from laying and put the colony behind.  You want that open brood nest to keep the colony anchored.  they will chew threw that cardboard, and the corrugated cardboard makes a great place for beetles to run to.  Keep cardboard outta the hive.  Using the excluder underneath lets the queen get to business, and locks her down.  I have had zero losses since I started doing this.  Yeah the drones cant get out to pee, but its better than them taking off.

Offline jaseemtp

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2012, 01:44:45 AM »
Duck,
I did not think about letting the queen out of the clip to start laying.  I was thinking if I could keep them in there for a few days then they would call it home.  I will have to drop the queen excluder in there tonight or tomorrow morning.  I am worried though that since she is a swarm queen and has gotten small enough to fly, that she may be able to get past the queen excluder.  Even though she has been contained in the plastic clip.  I work 24 hour shifts and will be no where in sight if they all leave tomorrow.
"It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

Offline RayMarler

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2012, 03:59:02 AM »
Maybe the swarm had two queens... I've seen it happen more than once.
I've found that adding one drop of lemongrass oil on top of the top bar of one of the frames keeps a swarm in place real well.
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Offline JP

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2012, 09:00:24 AM »
Ray definitely has a valid point. If you have tried all of these suggestions and they still are not going into your set up you just might have another queen with the swarm. As David mentioned I also find swarms do not care much for screen bottoms. In fact I never use them any more, don't care for them.

The idea on caging queens is to anchor the colony before releasing the queen so they do not leave the set up. She cannot lay until they have built sufficient comb for her to lay in.

I always cage the queen (if I have caught her) and feed all swarms for a short while. Feeding guarantees they have sufficient resources to establish a foundation. If they don't take feed because you're in a good flow, fine. I still offer feed until they tell me otherwise.


...JP
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Offline David McLeod

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2012, 09:09:48 AM »
The excluder trick is an old one that usually works but not always. A swarm queen has been on a diet to get flight ready. This makes some of them slim enough to squeeze through. Last year I lost a huge prime swarm that I put up in a nuc over an excluder. The key is once she starts laying she's there to stay.
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Offline JP

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2012, 08:30:41 PM »
Jase, I thought I'd share this with you. I removed a young colony yesterday (August 10, 2012) from an upper porch wall that had been there (my guess) a week or so.

I caught what I thought was their only queen and caged her. I placed the colony into a deep nuc. Later on, I went to check on them and most all the bees were on the outside of the nuc.

I discovered another queen and caged her as well. It appears for now, they prefer both queens but time will tell this tale.

Here are some pictures from the removal and after they were set up showing both queens. http://s356.photobucket.com/albums/oo4/Jefroka/S%20Carrollton%20Bees/


...JP

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My pictures can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus
and
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Offline jaseemtp

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Re: Getting a swarm to stay
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2012, 08:47:00 PM »
Thanks for the feed back. If they are still in the hive when I get off shift tomorrow.  I did close up the bottom with card board and moved them to an 8 frame box, with am empty box on top for my quart jar feeder.
I  getting to the point where I won't try to catch them any more of they leave.
"It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

 

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