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Author Topic: Swarm question.  (Read 516 times)
dfizer
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« on: June 05, 2013, 09:29:44 AM »

Hello all -

Yesterday I captured my first swarm and what a swarm it was.  It was in a crab-apple tree about 11 feet up and residing in a place where a branch comes off the main trunk - if you want to call it that.  The branch was about 1-1/2 inches diameter and the "trunk" was about 3 inches in diameter.  I set up the 66 quart Rubbermaid container on the ladder about 8 feet up then proceeded to shake the hell out of the swarm and as described the swarm fell right into the container - yippie!  I put the lid on and headed back to the house to hive it.  I was absolutely amazed at how big this swarm is - it filled the 66 qt. container over half full!  I didn't really know what to expect but I can tell you this - I certainly didn't a swarm this big.  There was easily 8-10lbs of beautiful light cinnamon colored bees in there!

Once I got home I set up a new hive that consisted of a sbb and 10 undrawn deep frames in the hive body.  I removed 4 frames from the middle and dumped the bees in.  The bees almost filled the entire space - wow!  I put a queen excluder under the hive body between the sbb and hive body to keep the queen from leaving.  Since none of the frames were drawn out, I put a feeder on top to get them started with the comb building.  My question is this... do I need to locate/find the queen?  Is it really necessary?  I assume that the queen is in there since many of the bees that did not make into the container were collecting on the vent holes outside the container, fanning and doing everything they could to get inside. 

What are the next steps to getting the 4 frames back into the space that was full of bees yesterday?  I guess I am a little worried that the queen may escape when/if I open the hive up.  Thoughts?

Also, should I treat this swarm for mites? 

David

btw - what a rush it was to capture this swarm - omg I am now addicted! 
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iddee
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2013, 09:35:01 AM »

Open the hive asap and install the frames. Push all frames tightly together and center. She will not leave during that short time.

Even in one day, you will find them clustered on the lid and drawing comb rather than using the frames. Shake them off and remove the burr comb.

 Then leave them alone for a week. At that time, look for eggs. If found, leave them for another week. Then treat as you would any other hive.

No mite treatments needed for swarms or packages. Do a mite count in the fall.
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Moots
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2013, 09:42:06 AM »

David,
It's kind of a catch 22....You really don't want to leave that empty space in there, yet you really want to disrupt and disturb them as little as possible.  Ideally, you should have put the frames in place before closing the hive. If there was truly that many bees and you didn't have room, you should have added another box.

As for finding the queen, It's always nice if you can, but I wouldn't bother them anymore trying to do so.  Especially since you have a queen "includer" in place.

Going forward, I'd keep feeding, get those frames in place as soon as possible, while causing as little disruption as possible.  Other than that, leave them along to do there thing!  Typically, I'd say remove the "includer" in a 2 to 3 days in case you have a virgin queen that needs to get out to mate.  However, if the swarms that big, I'm guessing it's not a virgin queen....plus, an includer may not keep in a virgin queen in anyway.  My guess is if they stay for 3 days, they're probably staying!
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dfizer
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2013, 10:30:22 AM »

There were truly that many bees.  I tried to put one of the frames four frames into the pile of bees and there was no chance.  There were so many bees filling that space that I couldn't get the bees to move so that the frame would go in - never mind the other three frames.  Today I'll go back into the hive - hopefully the bees have disseminated enough to get the frames in.  Next step is to leave them along for a few days then remove the queen "includer"!  Then I'll let them just do their thing and draw out comb.  I'm going to keep feeding until most of the frames are drawn out with comb. 

Thanks -

David 
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sterling
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2013, 03:53:53 PM »

If the bees are that thick in there you may need to put another box on.
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don2
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2013, 05:30:52 PM »

I always try to have a couple hive bodies handy for swarms. I like to put then directly in the hive. screen the entrance and strap around the whole thing. Top, bottom and all. If I know how big the swarm is in advance I try to accommodate that with that many boxes. I waited on a swarm 5 days once, started with two deeps. on the 5 th day they went in. one more deep and 2 mediums was added by that time. Smiley d2
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dfizer
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 09:39:52 PM »

All I had to say was wow when I shook that branch and all those bees fell into the container.  It was truly incredible.  I was able to get the frames into the hive today as t he bees had really started drawing out comb and there was plenty of room to get the frames back in.  I have assumed all along that the queen was in the large swarm ball and is now in the hive and was captured with the swarm - once they draw out some comb I'll know for sure if I see eggs / larvae. 

don2 - that sounds like quite a swarm you caught!  was it recently?

David   
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dfizer
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 11:24:03 PM »

How long would you leave the queen "includer" on the hive?  I have have heard the same thing that one of the previous posts said - if they stay there a few days in the new hive for three days or so then they're likely to stay for good.  Is that correct?  If not how long until I can safely remove the queen "includer"
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dfizer
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2013, 03:06:36 PM »

I removed the queen excluder (includer) today and am hopeful they stay.  They have drawn out a lot of comb - 6 of the frames have full comb and the other 4 have are partially drawn out.  It wont be long until I have to add the next deep.

The curious thing for me is that they colony has build 2 queen cells on the frames towards the middle of the frames that have comb completely drawn out.  Is this normal for a swarm to produce queen cells this early?  They are not capped nor did they have eggs / larva in them but it kind of struck me as odd that a newly captured swarm has already build queen cells after only be relocated into their new home for one week. 

Please let me know what to make of this.  And what action I should take... remove them, leave them alone etc etc...

David
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WarPonyFarms
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« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2013, 03:40:32 PM »

Some bees have queen cells ready all the time.  If you remove them they will build them somewhere else. 

Unless they are building cells around larvae they don't indicate much.  If there is Larvae in them the queen may have been damaged in the swarming phase or she may be old enough they are choosing to replace her. 

It's not unusual for a swarm to replace their royalty the same year they swarmed. 

Before you remove the cells, make sure they have young enough eggs or larvae for them to start over if it is an emergency replacement situation.  If they rebuild them, you have to trust their instincts.

Congratulations on a great swarm


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RHBee
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« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2013, 03:53:09 PM »

You got them this far in good order.  Put another box of frames on them now and leave them to sort things out. I've found that the more I interfere with their natural ways the more problems I can cause.
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Later,
Ray
dfizer
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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2013, 05:19:58 PM »

Sounds good - I'll add another deep then give them 2 weeks then preform an inspection.  In summary - queen cells are relatively normal in newly captured swarms - I'll not intervene!

David
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