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Author Topic: One of my hives swarmed yesterday!  (Read 2613 times)
SherryL
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« on: June 21, 2004, 08:57:39 AM »

Hi everyone .... I'm back!  I feel like I've been gone for soooo long.

I've actually been back at the house here for over a week, but trying to catch up on everything has kept mo off-line for the most part.

Here's my latest adventure .... I had one of my two hives swarm yesterday.  I was quite amazing actually.  My 13yo son & I just happen to be standing outside and I looked over in the direction of the hives.  I see this HUGE cloud of bees swirling above the boxes.  We both ran over to watch - I couldn't tell which box they had come from, but I have my suspicions.  Anyway, they settled into the large pine tree just to the right of the hives.  At first I was shocked, then intrigued, then disappointed.  I certainly didn't want to lose all those bees, but I only have the two hives, not like I've got extra set-ups sitting around to start another colony.

Trying to think fast, I realized I had the nuc box from one of the hives (the one I suspect these came from) sitting in the house - I had just finally removed it last Wednesday.  I went back to the house, suited up, grabbed the nuc, a chair (to climb on to reach the branch) and my camera ( I'll load the pics later).  Long story short - the bees are back in the nuc - after a month of trying to wean them!

I'm going to get into both hives today, weather permitting - we're forecasted for thunderstorms.  What should I do?  If I can tell which hive they're from, do I make plans to reintroduce them, or do I just order equipment for a new colony (which would take min. a week to arrive), or do I try to sell the bees?

Help!!!

sherry
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asleitch
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2004, 12:28:32 PM »

Plenty of options, leave them in the Nuc for a week until some new stuff arrives, or if there isn't space, get a strong cardboard box, cut a couple of strips and hang a few frames through, this should keep them there. Find the queen and keep her in a cage for a week, make a hive (or something just to last if required) 4 pieces of wood nailed with the frames in and some heath-robinson style roof. Remember the bees aren't fussy, anything will do!

Adam
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2004, 01:29:52 PM »

If I were you, I'd try to keep it! If you can get the equiptment (money-wise and all), get it and start another hive. It may be tricky getting that hive and the one they left from both strong before winter. But with work you can do it. The tougher one to get strong will be the one that they left from. They probably don't have a queen now, but only queen cells. You might want to order a queen for them, and get rid of the queen cells they've made. Then they'll have a quicker start getting brood built back up.
But they'll be fine in the nuc till you get the new equiptment. And with the hive that didn't swarm, you could pull frames now and then to strengthen the swarm and other hive if they seem weak before winter sets in.

Beth
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SherryL
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2004, 01:51:12 PM »

Here are some pics

This was yesterday, I happen to see them swarming, this was about 10 mins. into it.  I ran back to the house & grabbed the nuc.


This is a pic taken about 6 hours later.  They really settled in pretty quickly, but I was gone for about 4 hours.  After taking this, I closed the drill holes just long enough to move the nuc back inside the electric fence so they'd be safe for the night.


I took this one about an hour ago.  The pine in the background is the "swarm tree".  You can see the sky is darkening, we're suppose to get rain.  I wouldn't normally open the hives with this weather coming, so I'm not going to right now either.  Hopefully the weather will pass and I can get in there later this afternoon.

As you can see, I still have the one nuc under the other hive, that was scheduled to come off this week.  I suspect the swarm came from the other hive - it's been a stronger hive right along.  Right now, all three colonies are very active - lots of bees coming and going.  The nuc had pollen and honey stores and lots of open brood space, so they should be happy, I just wasn't planning on 3 hives this summer!

sherry
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BigRog
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2004, 02:47:07 PM »

Nice
Is this your forst swarm capture?
Looks like it went well
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"Lurch my good man,…what did you mean when you said just now that 'You've got better things to do than run my petty little errands'…….?"
SherryL
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Location: Wis/IL


« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2004, 03:26:13 PM »

Yep Rog, my first  wink I'm no longer a swarm virgin!  

Like I said, after the intial shock wore off, it really was an awesome sight, not that I want to have to do it again real soon.

I'm going to get on the phone & try to reach the Eryes, see if they can get another DE set up to me asap.

sherry
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2004, 06:30:25 PM »

Good job Sherry!! Now you're really kickin' it for the year. This will make a fantasitic start going into winter.

Beth
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SherryL
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Location: Wis/IL


« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2004, 06:58:40 PM »

OK, here's how it all shakes out ...

I checked the hives, the far one in the picture with the red landing board is the one I perceived to be the stronger of the two hives (more "advanced" if you would), I believed that was the one that was potentially overcrowded and henced swarmed - I was WRONG !  (well, I guess I had a 50/50 chance!)...

The yellow hive (landing board) is the one sans queen.  The top brood box is still barely drawn out (may 3 full frames) - the majority of the frames less than 1/2 drawn out.  There are significantly fewer bees in there now and no queen. I have top feeders on both hives and the bee in both colonies are going through a quart every 2-3 days.

There are some queen cells in the lower box, one has an open bottom, but looks as though there is still a larva in there (there was a nurse bee feeding it)... I could tell she was a nurse by her hat. (OK, now I'm just being plain silly  cheesy ).  

That's the hive that still has that darned nuc box on the bottom.  I have a funny feeling that when I put the queen excluder on that one (last Thurs.) I may have set the swarm in action.  I don't know why though.  The other box did fine with the progression (they're thriving!).

Any thoughts on this?  I put the queen excluder on to keep her from continuing to lay in the nuc (so I could ween it off the hive).  I KNOW she was in first brood box so it's not like I trapped her in the nuc.  The queen cells are in the first brood box too so it's not like the bees in there didn't know the queen was with them.  There is alot of capped brood, alot of larva, no eggs that I could see.

Bottom line, I ordered another complete hive setup from the Eryes.  David was great, he spent about 1/2 hour on the phone with me (on their dime) discussing all the possibilities.  We talked about a variety of things, he was very helpful.  He doesn't see a problem getting another hive established before winter (definately no honey off that one though).

Anyway, boxes will ship tomorrow morning, hopefully I can have them set up and ready to go by this time next week.

sherry
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