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Author Topic: Itty Bitty swarm?  (Read 731 times)

Offline sweet bee

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Itty Bitty swarm?
« on: August 13, 2013, 08:21:59 PM »
  Several weeks ago I combined two queenless hives  added a queen and checked to make sure she was accepted and laying.  Then just left it to do it's thing. I figured the less I messed with it the faster it would catch up.  A week ago Friday, I dismantled the hive and found it completely empty of bees, brood, honey... but plenty of wax moth damage. That evening I found a fistful of bees on a nearby cherry tree, my guess it's the bees left behind from the hive. I didn't think it was worth trying to save and they were gone by the next day.   Last night, the same spot and same amount of bees.   Then AGAIN tonight!   Could it be the same little cluster or am I losing a handful of bees every afternoon?   Do I let them go or try to put them in a nuc? If I do, I know I will have to add brood, bees and honey/sugar water.  IF it's little swarms, it seems like they would leave with more bees than that wouldn't they :?  What would y'all do?

~Angie

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would
not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything You gave me"

~Erma Bombeck

Offline Bees In Miami

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Re: Itty Bitty swarm?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 05:13:54 AM »
Not trying to sound callous, but I would just let the bees figure it out.  I had a week of after swarms this year, but they were probably 10 times or better in size.  I ended up with a 50/50 retention rate, and probably lost 10 pounds for the extra time I spent in my bee suit to hive them (and I do NOT need to lose any weight!).  Then, I had the extra work of fixing the frames from the wax moths.  They move in FAST!  I may get blasted for my opinion, but sometimes, the bees have to figure it out for themselves.  JMO!!!  So, what have you been doing?

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Itty Bitty swarm?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 01:02:07 PM »
I'd hive them and in a month or so I'd probably combine them, but you can wait until then to decide.
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Offline sterling

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Re: Itty Bitty swarm?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 06:07:16 PM »
Put them in a small nuc just big enough that they can patrol. If the area is more the wax moths will take over what the bees can't defend.

Offline sweet bee

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Re: Itty Bitty swarm?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 08:17:38 PM »
They were still there this afternoon, the queen slap dab in the middle of them!  (I really didn't count on there being one). I pulled 1 frame with bees,honey and capped brood from a big hive and brushed the fistful of bees and queen into the nuc.  I reduced the entrance to the 1 inch opening.  I'll feed them and keep my fingers crossed. They just looked so pitiful, I couldn't stand not trying :angel:

~Angie
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would
not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything You gave me"

~Erma Bombeck

Offline JWChesnut

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Re: Itty Bitty swarm?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 08:44:39 PM »
Very small late season swarms are AHB in So Cal.  You may be seeing AHB genes, if so watch out.

Offline WarPonyFarms

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Re: Itty Bitty swarm?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2013, 03:22:31 PM »
I had a caged queen draw a swarm that size when I forgot her out overnight.  I pulled a large number to fill a contract in the evening and it was the next morning before I realized I was one short.

I also had small swarms like that abscond when I was trying mini mating nucs in hot weather.  With proper care and help they can build and make decent hives.

If nothing else, it will provide an emergency queen if you need her.

Good luck,

Dale

Offline RHBee

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Re: Itty Bitty swarm?
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2013, 04:00:37 PM »
In February of this year I removed a very small colony from an exposed nest on a tree limb. With a lot of TLC I was able to pull a medium of excess honey from them. Worth the try if for no other reason than learning.
Later,
Ray

Offline sc-bee

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Re: Itty Bitty swarm?
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2013, 05:40:49 PM »
I was thinking the emergency queen thing, if she mates and is viable.
John 3:16

Offline PLAN-B

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Re: Itty Bitty swarm?
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2013, 09:08:33 PM »
my strongest colony is from a swarm that size caught earlier this year....give em a chance i say....  :-D
Marshall