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Author Topic: Caught a swarm  (Read 2855 times)
Valarie
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« on: April 26, 2006, 09:20:08 PM »

I just caught a swarm from in the neighbors tree and I was wondering if I should add it to my existing colony ( a new 3# package installed 1 week ago) or if I can put them in a new hive. The swarm seems to be about 5#'s, almost twice the size of the 3# pkg. If I add them to the existing colony, how do I do this and will they fight or what will happen to the queens? Or, if I put them in their own hive body, I dont have any frames of brood yet to put in there with them, do they need this or will they be ok on their own? Thanks for the help!
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2006, 09:57:17 PM »

Quote from: Valarie
I just caught a swarm from in the neighbors tree and I was wondering if I should add it to my existing colony ( a new 3# package installed 1 week ago) or if I can put them in a new hive.


Put them in a new hive

Quote from: Valarie

 The swarm seems to be about 5#'s, almost twice the size of the 3# pkg. If I add them to the existing colony, how do I do this and will they fight or what will happen to the queens?


They will fight and destroy each other until one queen remains. Which will devastate both hives so you end up with less than one hive.

Quote from: Valarie

Or, if I put them in their own hive body, I dont have any frames of brood yet to put in there with them, do they need this or will they be ok on their own? Thanks for the help!


If you have foundtation in the hive they will draw their own comb and make their own brood. It will take a little time but they will do it.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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C. Ilsley
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2006, 10:17:16 PM »

You need a box with foundation, at the minimum.  Box the swarm if you have not already done so.  It will do no harm to place a single feeder in the hive on one side of the box.  Use 50/50 mix of water and cane sugar and go ahead and feed them.  Bees will feed on the syrip as well as go out and look for pollen and other nurishment.  Place the hive into a Southern exposure and then let them work.  The swarm just happened to land near you.  They could just have easily found a transformer or a log.
The hive is either coming up or going down.
Good luck
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2006, 10:36:33 PM »

Funny how these bees could have found a home of their own and there would have been no foundation.
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2006, 10:40:28 PM »

Quote
if I put them in their own hive body, I dont have any frames of brood yet to put in there with them, do they need this or will they be ok on their own?


The bees are ready to make everything they need. All you need to do
is put them in a proper hive.

Some folks will put a queen excluder under the first hive body
to prevent the queen from leaving and the colony re-swarming with her.

If you chose to try this, have a small top entrance as well
(The small half moon cut out in the inner cover will work)
this will let the drones come and go normally.

Now you have two hives, it's twice the fun Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2006, 10:40:36 PM »

take a frame of brood out of your other hive and put in the new hive with foundation, the brood will help them get started and will keep them from leaving your hive
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Valarie
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2006, 11:03:03 PM »

Thanks for the replies! Glad I didn't just dump them into my other colony then... sounds like it could be disasterous. I had heard I could use swarms to bolster weak colonies, but I wasn't sure what to do about the queen.  I do have some deeps with foundation, none drawn, this is my first year! I can't get another bottom board or top until tomorrow, but I guess I don't want to leave them in the bucket with the screened top overnight. I squirted them down with sugar syrup and I think I'll find some plywood to make some kind of top and bottom to last until tomorrow. Can I block the entrance completely (since I'm just gonna use plywood), or should I leave it open a little (don't want to suffocate them)? I will also put a jar of sugar syrup upside down inside another empty super to feed them. Wow I'm probably in over my head but it sure is fun, thanks guys!
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2006, 11:24:21 PM »

Quote from: Valarie
Thanks for the replies! Glad I didn't just dump them into my other colony then... sounds like it could be disasterous. I had heard I could use swarms to bolster weak colonies, but I wasn't sure what to do about the queen.  I do have some deeps with foundation, none drawn, this is my first year! I can't get another bottom board or top until tomorrow, but I guess I don't want to leave them in the bucket with the screened top overnight. I squirted them down with sugar syrup and I think I'll find some plywood to make some kind of top and bottom to last until tomorrow. Can I block the entrance completely (since I'm just gonna use plywood), or should I leave it open a little (don't want to suffocate them)? I will also put a jar of sugar syrup upside down inside another empty super to feed them. Wow I'm probably in over my head but it sure is fun, thanks guys!


Okay let me clarify something here because I have actually done it. You can add a swarm to a hive that is weak and queenless.  <--- Very important there.

I caught a swarm and never found the queen after waiting to long I added for frames with bees and the queen drectly to the hive. Since the bees in the hive had no queen they wouldn't be fighting to protect their current queen. So adding the frames with the queen helped them.

You could keep the bees temporaily in the bucket provided they won't overheat during the day. They ship package bees in boxes that can be a couple of days n some cases. So I would guess no more than 72 hours.

Don't worry about a bottom board. Cut the plywood to make a bottom and  make the hive a top entance hive. When you get the bottom you want move the bees to it. Again make sure the bees won't get overheated. I would put popsickle sicks or pennies in the corner of the plywood to allow for air circulation.

They probably don't need the sugar syurp. Flowers are in bloom.

Welcome to the insanity, you are not in over your head. You just have to remember the doctors store your brain in the refrigerator in the mayo jar.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Valarie
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2006, 11:26:15 PM »

Quote
Some folks will put a queen excluder under the first hive body
to prevent the queen from leaving and the colony re-swarming with her.


Great idea! My other colony only has a few frames of eggs, should I take one even though they're so young and the colony is so small?
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2006, 11:28:19 PM »

Nah let them have their egss. Your swarm will create their own. And then you will be saying what am I going to do about all these darn bees.  wink


Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Valarie
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2006, 11:47:10 PM »

Thanks Brendhan! I got them in a hive body with foundation and I was able to space the bottom plywood to give them an entrance. I wasn't able to get an excluder in there though, oh well. I was thinking of swapping brood frames tomorrow, but I think I'll take your advice and just leave them. It is a lot of bees after all, almost double the other hive. I thought I needed to give them the syrup to help them build comb when given foundation, but I see that the other hive is just storing it anyway. Lots of stuff bloomin' already around here! Tomorrow I'll get a "real" top and bottom......
Now what do I do about the queen? Do I need to automatically replace her, or can I try her out for a while? I have not seen her and this is assuming she is ok after all this.  I'm not even sure I can find her cheesy  My other one has a big nice white dot on her, she's easy to find.
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2006, 12:15:37 AM »

Okay, simple fact about bees. No queen means the hive will go bye bye.

If you don't know where the queen is from the swarm. Watch the bees. If they start behaving in a wierd way it is likely the queen is gone. My bees literally crawled out of the hive and hung on the side for days.

After a week if you don't see comb with some eggs in it order a queen. After a weak the bees will have lost the scent of their old queen and want a new one. You could put her in the hive and set the candy opening on the queen cage and the bees will be very happy to have a new queen and about a week after that they should have released her and told her to lay eggs.

Now the problems. No queen equals weak hive.
Weak hive means robbing, pests and disease.
Two weeks without a queen will cause a huge population drop this will allow the nastiness to move in. Be prepared to inspect this hive regularly until you are certain you have a queen either by seeing the eggs laid or finding her or ordering one.


Now I am going to say something that the others may not agree with. I would order the queen now. If you find the swarm queen before the other queen arrives you, have enough bees that you could do a split.

Lets say this you order the queen and find the other feral queen. Take the feral queen and half the bees and place them in a nuc. Place the other half  in a different nuc. Give them the new queen in a queen cage. Remember they will still be use to other queen so I would not remove the cork right away. Once the bees calm down and realize this is the only queen in the hive. I would ready her for relaease.

If you don't have the feral queen. When the queen you ordered arrives you will have had enough time for them to realize they have no queen and this new queen will likely be accepted. You could keep the bees in the deep provided that their hasn't been a huge drop in bee population.


Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Valarie
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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2006, 12:37:59 AM »

I do believe we got the queen, the bees have been very calm the whole time. I plan to look for her, or eggs, as soon as possible. That brings me to another question Smiley  (you guys are great) Diseases. Should I expect varroa mites or other problems? I have SBB's and I can do mite counts.
 
Thanks,
Valarie
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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2006, 01:00:56 AM »

Feral bees can have issues just like farm raised ones. It is always important inspect bees for for nastiness. One hive can pass along their nastiness to another.

I am of a couple of mindsets on this. Feral bees are more likely to contract some form of nastiness than that farm raised bees, but they are also more likely to evolve a method to become immune or deal with it. Japanese bees deal with wasp issues, small natural cells deal with mites, and even AHBs attacking en mass are a method of protection for the bees.

The problem is bees can be devastated in the evolution matter. Darwinism in this case eliminates the weak hives.

Chemicals can and do help against nastiness but at what cost. Bees with no natual immunity and pests that can and will develop immunity to treatments over time. However for some beekeepers it can be the only way to protect their hives. They would be devestated and hiveless otherwise.

I would check you hive for nastiness and deal with it if you find some with the method you are most comfortable with.  


Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2006, 07:07:55 AM »

When I was really poor (as opposed to just doing ok) I have put them in a box with no frames until I could afford to buy another hive. Smiley  A swarm in a box is worth 100 in the woods.  Then when you get a real hive, do a cutout from the box.  If the top is one piece of plywood, you can often flip it upside down and remove the box and then cut each comb out and tie it.

I would prefer to keep the swarm than to lose the genetics.  But I'm looking for feral survivors.
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