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Author Topic: Urgent question: accidental swarm capture like Robo's  (Read 3015 times)
tillie
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« on: May 11, 2007, 05:02:54 PM »

After reading Robo's post, I thought I should take a deep that I had left facing my weak hive about two months ago and turn it right side up so that maybe a swarm would land there.  I keep my grandson on Fridays so I didn't have any oppty to suit up or really do anything so I left the baby playing where I could see him inside and walked onto the deck, grabbed the deep and carried it over to a different place on the deck.

It seemed heavy for an empty so I looked down and it is full of five frames of bees.  Meanwhile I've set it in a normal hive body position, uprooting their world.  When I realized this I looked where it had been and there are bees circling trying to find the hive that is no longer there, so I quickly picked the deep back up and moved it back where it had been.

When I got back inside I realized that I had turned it yet another way when I set it down....so I probably killed bees and maybe the queen.

Originally the frames were sitting vertically - the deep was on end.

Here's how it now looks:
One side:

The other:


Should I go out and move the frames one at a time into another box, looking for the queen? 

Should I leave them in this topsy turvy mess over night? 

Should I leave the frames in the box they are in but turn the box to the proper position for a deep and then look at the frames one at a time?

Also the location is terrible for working the hive - right in the flight path of another hive. 
Can I move it to a different place on my deck? Or should I just live with it and be grateful for another hive....

Help!!!!!  shocked shocked shocked shocked

Linda T in ATlanta
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2007, 05:41:56 PM »

I would put it in the correct upright position. If you can leave itwhere they took it and turn it faceing the way you want it they will find the entrance. You could turn the other one 1/8 turn every 2 or 3 days till you getit where you want it.
It doesn't take the bees long to pattern a location . The Easter week end swarm went into the hive about 3 pm.
I moved it that night and the next day there was about 100 bees back, spent 2 or 3 nights on the ground and dissapeared.
If it is a good size swarm go ahead and put another deep on it and when the second one has brood and eggs with the queen in it switch. put the top on bottem. then check the comb and see how they started it.
I found a box once where the wax moths had destroied the comb and the bees built their new comb catacorned.
Hope this helps.
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2007, 05:46:14 PM »

i second dorks idea with my own uninformed opinion.  thing is, the new hive does you no good if you can't put it where you want it.  i don't think i'd even bother looking for the queen until you have it in the position you like.  why cause them more trauma if you don't have to.  let them settle and then worry about other things.  my 1/2 cents worth  smiley
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2007, 05:59:33 PM »

Kathyp is correct on looking for the queen. after about 10 or 12 days take a looksee and see what the pattern looks like. If it is staggered then consider replacing the queen

I have had my Easter swarm open twice. The first time I found a solid capped brood frame, maybe half doz. empty cells. that told me the Queen was fine. I closed it up. Yesterday I had to add the 2nd super. It was 5 high when I housed them. Now it's 7 high. Had to stand on a cement block.
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2007, 06:08:21 PM »

I just went out and righted the box and there were bees on the ground in a ball about the size of a walnut on the ground.  I took the bee brush and pushed it apart and they had  a queen in the center of the ball, I think - she was longer and larger than the rest.  I hope there's a queen in this hive but I'm not going to look at it for a week or so.  I just uprighted it and set it on a stand.  I don't even have a top so I used the pull out plastic board from my SBB to put on top for now and I'm heading for Lowe's to get some wood the right size and some cinder blocks. 

Eventually I need to move it about 6 feet from where it is in order to work it, but I can wait a week or so.

Linda T, grateful but klutzy in Atlanta (bet I injured the queen with all my topsy turvy stuff today, thus they balled her)
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2007, 06:17:13 PM »

if she was ejected from the hive when you moved it, they are probably just protecting her.  can you collect the bunch and put it back in the hive?  i have a stiff piece of plastic that i have kept for the job, but anything sturdy enough would do...or just pick her up?  she might get back in herself, but it's getting late in the day where you are?
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2007, 07:11:59 PM »

I'll try again. My last reply didn't go through for some reason.
Don't try to requeen just yet. Set the hive upright and check to see if the queen had started laying. If so,
leave the hive alone for about a week and let the bees start queen cells. If they have already started feeding for a new queen, they consider their selves "queen right". After a week the cells will not be capped. if you want a queen from them leave at least 3 or 4 in,"if they start that many. If you want to re queen with a new queen, cut out ALL the queen cells they started. By this time there shouldn't bee any eggs for the bees to try to use for queen rearing. Now order your new queen.
We all get in a hurry or do things wrong sometime.
When a swarm is hived, it should be left alone for at least a week. Give them time to settle down and start keeping house. The later in the day a swarm can be hived or takes a box, the better. Close it up that night after sundown with screen wire and if possible move to its home site that night or early the next morning.
And always. When leaving a box sitting around, leave it in the upright pos.
Hope this helps.
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2007, 07:26:44 PM »

dork, if her queen is sitting out on the ground, would you not recommend that she try to get it back into the hive?
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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2007, 08:06:29 PM »

Balling the queen is a normal thing for bees to do when the queen is outside the hive.
Return the queen to the hive. After all the uprighting and stuff you may want to place an excluder on for a few days so they don't abscond. All that disruption may have the queen thinking I don't like it here.

Sincerely,
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2007, 08:17:45 PM »

You can try. Upright the box. put the queen back in. With a bottom board and a top cover on, if they are through with her they will  bring her back out. Then you will know.
Keep us posted on what happens with this swarm.
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2007, 08:33:39 PM »

The Heddon hive was deigned so that you could tighten thumb screws on the ends and flip the box over.  Heddon believed he got more brood and less swarming by doing this every so many weeks.  He also had reversing frames which had a frame inside a frame that would flip over so you could do it a frame at a time.  The bees won't care if it's upside down.  There's a man who has a hive with round combs that rotate all the time to control Varroa.
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2007, 08:58:05 PM »

At this point I don't know if the queen is in the hive or not.  when I found the ball, I brushed it onto a plastic board and then held that board over the hive and allowed the bees on it to go back into the hive.  I hope the queen was one of the three left and that she went back in. 

I guess if she didn't and they have brood/eggs in the box, they'll make their own queen and if I add brood frames from my other hives in 10 days or so, then they'll be OK.

I can't believe I let myself get so unnerved by all of this.  If I had just stayed calmer, it would have gone so much better.

I guess this is like getting a split without making it myself if the queen is MIA.

Linda T in Atlanta where it's raining
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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2007, 12:35:59 PM »

When I inspected my other hives today, I checked all around on the deck to see if I saw the bee that was being balled.  I felt sure I'd recognize her because she was all black, unlike my other bees who are striped.  Indeed I found her dead on the deck:



Does this look like a virgin queen?  I am so sad that all my moving of everything would result in the death of what may be the queen....I left that hive alone today - it's still in the spot where it originated.  I've ordered some more equipment and will move the hive when it gets here and then I'll check on the queen status of the hive.

Does that sound like the right plan?

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2007, 12:49:14 PM »

Tillie, its hard to make out what you have there, the picture is a little fuzzy. My first reaction is that it looks like a drone. More angles please?
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2007, 01:27:59 PM »

Here's another view - who knew it would be so hard to take a good picture of a dead bee....



Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2007, 01:48:06 PM »

The queens abdoman has the same shape when she is Virgin as she does after she has mated. Just larger.
If it tapers toward the rear it is a queen, the drawn is the same size all the way back all most to the end and is blunt shaped and shorter, fatter. That looks like a drone.
No hair on the queens throax.
Hope the helps.
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« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2007, 03:09:30 PM »

 Cry  Then I think it was the queen (although there is hair on the thorax of this bee??):



Linda T remorsefully hanging crepe in Atlanta
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« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2007, 03:52:59 PM »

Oh Linda... I sure hope it wasn't the queen...thinking about you from California Coast~*~
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« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2007, 05:40:34 PM »

still fuzzy, but still looks like a drone to me.
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« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2007, 06:00:20 PM »

Looks like a queen to me, I dont see how you thought the first picture was fuzzy. What do you want to see every single hair on the bee's body. It looks like a queen to me cause theirs no definable huge wrap around eyes.
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« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2007, 06:31:09 PM »

to me it looks like a worker, could you put a worker beside it, its hard to tell by a picture.. I still think its a worker
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« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2007, 07:08:39 PM »

She's larger than the workers in this hive by about 1/3.  That's why I noticed her in the ball and the fact that she is all black and my bees including these gift bees have stripes on them.  I'd be relieved if it were a worker, but mainly I'm anxious not to do any further damage to this gift from the skies.  I'm hoping that they will create a queen if they don't have one.

I'm planning not to do anything, open the box, or anything until after I get home from the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute next Sunday.  Hopefully by then all will be churning away, but if not, I'll add some brood from my great productive hive and see where that takes me. 

Beekeeping is an adventure in lack of control, I'm finding.  I never know what's going to happen and often I am taken by surprise.  Actually this "extra" hive is a good kind of surprise/problem to have.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2007, 09:30:49 PM »

Tillie, I know you dont want to but open the hive and inspect, see if there is any eggs or very young larva, if not put a frame of eggs from one of your other hives in it and if that was your dead queen they will start building cells, if not then your queen is still there and you should find brood. I wouldn't let them go a week with out knowing because then they are a week behind if you are going to let them raise a queen.
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« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2007, 09:51:33 PM »

Looks like a drone to me.  It's the huge eyes and the bluntness of the butt that give away a drone as not being a queen.
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« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2007, 11:00:18 PM »

Thank you, everybody - I think I'm going to do what TWT suggested and if it's an OK day tomorrow, go ahead and open up the hive and put in a frame of brood from my burgeoning hive.   I have seen many, many workers in my house - I trap them daily under a glass and free them through the dog door, so I know she looks different than they do and she has a pointed rear end (final picture as she lies in state on a handkerchief beside my glass of wine!)


Although in this picture (can't see it with my naked eye) it looks like she might have a stinger - that would mean she isn't a queen, right?

So just to give the hive the best chance possible to make it, I'm going to add brood tomorrow and THEN leave them alone for a while!

You all are the best - anybody from this group who comes to Atlanta, please call and let me meet you in person,

Linda T trying hard to bee a beekeeper in Atlanta
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« Reply #25 on: May 12, 2007, 11:51:12 PM »

queens have stingers, just they dont have barbs on there's stingers like the workers, that's how one queen will kill others with her stinger and can kill many queens
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« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2007, 12:38:46 AM »

That last picture was the best of the lot, I would say the queen is dead.  Now it's time to take action to make sure the hive becomes queen right by whatever method you prefer.
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« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2007, 08:24:04 AM »

OK, so I just reread Michael's writings on doing a split - which in essence is what I will be doing today. 

I'll open my biggest, best hive and take two frames of brood - the youngest brood I can find - eggs and larvae -

I'll add this to what is now the equivalent of a split without a queen - the four frames of bees in the current new hive.

And I'll make sure in taking the two frames from the existing hive that I am not taking their queen and will replace the frames I am taking with two starter strip SC frames put between two filled frames.

I'm not going to look much into the new hive because I've disturbed the H.... out of them already.

Then I'll "walk away" for a week or so and see how the new hive fares after that.

Hope that sounds like a plan and thanks for the help.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2007, 10:23:26 AM »

>Beekeeping is an adventure in lack of control, I'm finding.  I never know what's going to happen and often I am taken by surprise.

You have hit the nail right on the perverbial head for me...

Hope you split goes smooth as silk!

Sharon
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« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2007, 12:48:53 PM »

I just made the BIGGEST MESS.  I can't believe how badly it all went.  This swarm has hived itself in a deep which was available to it because I am moving to all medium hives.....I do have deeps on both of my nuc-started hives this year because they came that way, so my plan was to take two brood frames with eggs from the strongest of the two and add these frames to the small hive.  There were only three frames of bees and no evidence of a queen - no larvae of any kind although they were collecting nectar and making honey.  I probably should have (in hindsight) simply shaken this pitiful group into my weaker hive and let them add to the workforce there.

But I was determined to try this experiment of getting them to make a queen.

I opened up the largest hive (five boxes) and looked through the bottom deep....lots of capped brood, only a few larvae and no sign of eggs, but I've never been able to see eggs except with a computer picture after the inspection.  I look and look and the hive is mad at me and I can't find any newly laid eggs or any frame in that box with lots of new activity.  I conclude that the queen has moved up to the medium and is laying there.  I checked a few of those frames and still don't see eggs.  So the hive is not happy that I am so intrusive after inspecting them yesterday as well (only the honey supers) so I put it all back together.  When I put the last frame back in the lower brood box they get really furious.  I hope it's because I killed a bee and not the queen in that hive.

Then I went to my next strongest hive - with four boxes.  I get into the deep brood box and there are lots of frames with pollen, larvae, etc.  I'm trying to see eggs and as I hold the most promising frame up toward the sun, the comb breaks in half and falls to the ground. What a sticky mess!  I ran inside followed by furious bees and got my rubber bands and rubber-banded the comb back into the frame - took 6 rubber bands.  I couldn't do anything else to that hive (and I certainly hope I didn't kill the queen although I didn't see her in either hive).

Then I went to my building-up-from-last-winter hive which is now all medium boxes.  I opened the top brood box and there were clearly larvae in all stages and although I couldn't see the eggs, I assume that the cells near the very young larvae were eggs.  I put this and another frame with capped brood and some open brood in the small new hive.  They are medium frames in a deep box. 

At this point, I just hope I can still be counted a beekeeper and not a bee-haver.  I could not have handled this worse today....and all because I wanted the experience of seeing if I could get them to make a queen.
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« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2007, 01:15:46 PM »

Tillie in reading your post you sound like you are stressed out to the max! Easy does it! Just let your mistakes be little lessons that help you to understand bees a little better. Its amazing what the bees will put up with and they do have a way of fixing our mistakes. As far as the bees being upset, if you are really concerned add a little more smoke and they will calm down a lot. If you have a frame of honey in this hive and I believe you said you did in an earlier post, they will consume some of this honey when you smoke them, giving them something to do when you are in there. Go back in, in a couple of days and be calm, smoke the bees good, and carefully examine your frames. Look for that queen and eggs, really look, turn the frames that have brood at different angles, use the sun and try to look for eggs. Pay attention to how much capped brood you have and compare that to your next inspection. Good luck, and remember we all have mishaps!
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« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2007, 01:29:12 PM »

Tillie in reading your post you sound like you are stressed out to the max! Easy does it! Just let your mistakes be little lessons that help you to understand bees a little better. Its amazing what the bees will put up with and they do have a way of fixing our mistakes. As far as the bees being upset, if you are really concerned add a little more smoke and they will calm down a lot. If you have a frame of honey in this hive and I believe you said you did in an earlier post, they will consume some of this honey when you smoke them, giving them something to do when you are in there. Go back in, in a couple of days and be calm, smoke the bees good, and carefully examine your frames. Look for that queen and eggs, really look, turn the frames that have brood at different angles, use the sun and try to look for eggs. Pay attention to how much capped brood you have and compare that to your next inspection. Good luck, and remember we all have mishaps!

Oh, I am going to listen to those calming words of wisdom...and hopefully apply themusfully in my beek endeavors...
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« Reply #32 on: May 13, 2007, 01:35:08 PM »

JP, thanks for the support.  I was trying to use as little smoke as possible today so that I wouldn't end up with the queen on one of the frames I wanted to move.  I ended up smoking me as they all attacked - amazingly I didn't get stung (I was fully suited) but my gloves had 15 stingers in them when I washed the honey off from the comb mishap.

You're right - I learn something from every mishap - and this is no different.  I took a magnifying glass with me and still couldn't see eggs.  I think if I ever try to do this again, I'll take pictures of possible frames the day before and then move them the next day when I can see them on the computer!

I also learned how to rubber band in a huge piece of comb - I've done small pieces but not half a frame. 

And there are further lessons to be learned as I deal with this hive and see if it can make a queen.  I may call someone in Georgia and try to buy one instead.....and then have the adventure of introducing a queen which I haven't done before.

Linda T
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« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2007, 03:33:38 PM »

Dear Linda T in Hot - lanta -- My two cents.  You are doing fine!  Enjoy it. 

Wish I could offer more concrete support however I’m so new at this all I can to is watch.  Thank you for sharing your on-going experiences and adventures in this thread and others.  You are learning much and so am I and others through you.  All the best to you and your bees.

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