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Thread: swarm

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    new south wales,australia
    Posts
    40

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    hi
    my first crack at a post anywhere,so here goes.
    on the 8th march we removed a queen and two frames of brood from a strong 3 box hive(8frame,single brood box),made a nuc up and took queen to our nuc yard,we also removed excluder from original hive.
    14 march sighted 7 queen cells in original hive
    24 march my mate is in stress mode,a big swarm is in flight in this yard,it balls on a close branch,he puts it in a cardboard box and takes it to our main yard.while he is transfering to a box with frames,it takes off and balls in a tree directly behid our hives ,he gives up.
    25 march checked 3 hives at small yard definately came frome the hive we removed queen from,only lifted top 2 boxes to look in brood,down on bees.
    25 march went to main yard swarm still balled in tree,my mate climbed tree cut braches away,first attempt swarm hit the ground and took to the air but re balled on same branch,we managed to cut it and lower it,i held it for about 10mins until most re balled then we put it in a box with entrence closed ,a queen excluder,a top box with the lid proped up for the rest of the swarm to go in,they did.
    any ideas why this hive swarmed,
    did a queen hatch mate and swarm?
    did it swarm without a queen?
    it behaved at the big yard like it had a queen i can check in a couple days.
    i dont want to pull the original apart in case thier might be a virgin.i have been told not to disturbe the hive around the time of hatching and mating.i can fix this hive up later if needed.
    im stumped as to what has gone on.
    thanks beebloke

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,441

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    First the schdule. March 8 was the split. I would not expect to see eggs until April 5.

    Second, most swarms I've caught had to be put in the box more than once before they stayed. Sometimes three or four times. Once in a while just once. I wouldn't give up until the swarm is gone.

    Third, you are in a complete different climate, a complete different hemisphere and a completely different season than we are here, so my frame of reference for things like climate and season are all off.

    How crowded was the hive that swarmed? How plugged up was the brood nest? Is it possible they were already set to swarm when you took the old queen and since they were still crowded they decided to swarm?

    Remember swarming is about a brood nest full of honey, not about not enough supers, although not enough supers can CONTRIBUTE to a brood nest full of honey, enough supers will not necessarily prevent it.

    My theory is any swarm I catch is a good thing. Any swarm that gets away is a waste.

    [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    new south wales,australia
    Posts
    40

    Post

    hi,
    micheal,thank you for the reply,
    i would call the hive a strong hive but not overcrowded,when we took the original queen and two frames of brood we checked for brood space,we dont run many eights so we are concious of this.the honey supers had space, the top box was drawn comb after extraction some weeks ago,they were working it ok.
    if they were in swarm mode when we split,would removing the queen with brood and bees negate this by creating an artificial swarm.i know not everything in bees is 100% certain but at this point i would not expect a swarm(expect the unexpected)
    what puzzles me is what happened next,can a hive swarm with a virgin queen or a queen that has only just mated but to early for egg laying.
    your swarm caught,swarm lost were true words,we covered that in one day and all from one hive.but i dont expect to see chasing and catching your own swarm(a couple of times)ever make it into a book under methods of increase,unless you want to put it in your book under aussie methods(include tree climbing)
    my mate is young,fit and about half my weight,left to me they would still be up the tree.
    another country,climate,hemisphere,no worries.
    just about everything i have learnt,confirmed or tried has come from this site,and a lot from you.
    i think beekeeping is basically the same the world over,we just need to tweek and tune to suit ourselves.

    thank you
    beebloke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,441

    Post

    >can a hive swarm with a virgin queen or a queen that has only just mated but to early for egg laying.

    Yes. Afterswarms are always a virgin queen. Swarms either have an old queen or a virgin queen. I have not seen a swarm with a young laying queen.

    >i think beekeeping is basically the same the world over,we just need to tweek and tune to suit ourselves.

    My problem is everything to do with bees has to do with the season, and I'm not clear what the season is right now down under. But I agree. Bees are still bees. [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    new south wales,australia
    Posts
    40

    Post

    hi
    An afterswarm sounds right,but i thought afterswarms were smaller,am i wrong?The original split was not that big,just what we needed,does this then affect the size of the afterswarm.
    Today makes this more confusing,the original hive swarmed again,straight up a tree above hives.Same procedure,mate up the extension ladder in back of ute,cut and lower then box{its good to be fat sometimes}At the time of the swarm i was up the road at our big yard fishing,i went up to open the hive with the first swarm,fat blokes do hard work too.
    Original hive inspection showed two queen cells open, not torn down,five still sealed.

    These cells look ok but in the time frame they are not going to hatch,does an emerging queen know this and not tear them down?

    Im now thinking their could have been two young queens in there,did they both swarm ,albiet a few days apart? we have better luck with swarms if we close them up for a few days then open them for a few then check them.time will tell if these two have a queen.

    What still puzzles me is why? It was a strong colony ,not overcrowded.We removed queen and two frames of brood.Plenty of space in supers ,now two swarms.The original hive has enough bees,i dont expect the remaining queen cells to hatch,we have enough hives to fix this.

    Season- early autumn,bees with pollen,some necter,frosts still 6-7 weeks away,could be longer.

    This will have no great impact on us,we now could have four hives when a couple of weeks ago this was one.

    Should i just put this down to a bee thing that happened no matter what we think or do?I dont think i will see this regularily.If it happens again i will say "I remember this,i was fishing ,make sure your mate is skinny,fit and can climb trees.

    thank you, beebloke.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,441

    Post

    >An afterswarm sounds right,but i thought afterswarms were smaller,am i wrong?

    Sometimes they are smaller. Sometimes they are not. Swarms are rather unpredictable. Watch on a "swarm day" and almost always several hives will swarm at once. The bees seem confused as to which cluster is theirs. I've often knocked one swarm down and had most of those bees fly off and join some other cluster. There's a bit of chaos and it's not exactly well organized. Conisering the bees do remarkably well using only pheromones to get organized and find their way, but with several swarms at once they don't seem to be able to distinguish the differences. The number of bees leaving the hive also seems a bit random.

    >The original split was not that big,just what we needed,does this then affect the size of the afterswarm.

    Probably in some way, but, from my observation, there still seems to be a lot of random chance involved with swarm size.

    >These cells look ok but in the time frame they are not going to hatch,does an emerging queen know this and not tear them down?

    Sometimes they look in tact but the "lid" has just closed back up. Sometimes the bees evern seal the lid back up a bit. Sometimes there are queens in them and the workers just keep the other queen from them. Thats how you end up with several afterswarms. The workers control whether or not the emerged queen can destroy the remaining cells or not.

    >Im now thinking their could have been two young queens in there,did they both swarm ,albiet a few days apart?

    That's normal.

    >What still puzzles me is why? It was a strong colony ,not overcrowded.We removed queen and two frames of brood.Plenty of space in supers ,now two swarms.

    In my observation, space in the supers is not directly relevant to swarming. Space in the brood nest is. I try to keep the brood nest opened up to prevent swarming.

    >The original hive has enough bees,i dont expect the remaining queen cells to hatch,we have enough hives to fix this.

    I wouldn't count on them not emerging.

    >Should i just put this down to a bee thing that happened no matter what we think or do?

    No I wouldn't assume that, I'd try to keep the brood nest opened up more. Open supers are HELPFUL at keeping the brood nest open but they do not insure that. If the bees start filling the brood nest with honey, supers will not stop them. You will have to create space by removing frames from the brood nest and putting in either empty frames or drawn comb.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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