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Thread: Swarm?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Oologah, OK
    Posts
    3

    Post

    I am new to beekeeping this year. I got my first hive in early April. I have been feeding the colony and have checked the hive about once a week for the past month. The hive I received was a nuc containing 5 frames of brood with 5 undrawn frames. When 8 of the 10 frames were drawn out I placed a super on the hive for additional brood space. This was about 2 weeks ago. On Saturday, I went out to where my hive is and I found a large clump of bees on a limb in a tree about 10 feet from the hive. My first thought was darn, my hive has swarmed, so I went to the house to get my gear and attempt to catch the swarm, never having done so before I wasn't quite sure how to go about it. About 15 minutes later I made my way back out to the hive, and the swarm on the limb was gone, but it appeared they were congregated back at the hive entrace. I gave them a little smoke and opened up the hive, and all appeared normal inside the hive. It was full of bees, I had some bees working in the new super that I had put on (it wasn't drawn comb). I inspected each frame, but wasn't able to locate the queen, but I haven't been able to locate her in any of my previous inspections. There was larvae and capped brood. The hive looked fine. My question is: What happened? Did they start to swarm and then change their mind? Any ideas?

    Thanks,

    Mitch

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Post

    Is your queen clipped? f so, she'd have landed on the ground and probably got lost as they swarmed. When a swarm discovers the queen isn't there, it returns to the hive. If I'm right, you may well have a temporily queenless hive which will probably swarm with the first virgin to emerge if you don't take drastic action.

    ------------------
    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Oologah, OK
    Posts
    3

    Post

    I don't know if the queen was clipped, I'll have to ask the person that I bought the nuc from. If that is in fact the scenario that you describe, what sort of drastic action do I need to take?

    Thanks,

    Mitch

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
    Posts
    751

    Post

    Depends whether you want increase or not. If you do, split the broodframes between two hives, leaving a single capped queen cell in each. If you don't, lift the existing broodbox(es) to one side, put a new box in their place, and put a single broodcomb in it, with attatched bees, and one queen cell. Shake or brush in bees off 2-3 other combs, which will give sufficient young nurse bees. Put the rest of the broodcombs back on top, above a super with excluders above and below, and with its own entrance (you can do this very simply by offsetting the top box far enough to let the bees get in and out). Again leave a cell, and queens will be raised top and bottom, giving you insurance if anything goes wrong. The two are recombined later. Alternatively, leave no cels above, and just a single excluder between the two boodnests. In this case, you don't need an upper entrance. This is a British method, and I've no idea how it works with multiple broodboxes; it may turn out to be quite awkward to arrange them. There are many other methods of swarm control available; the main thing is to find one that works. You could simply break down all the cells but one in your existing broodnest and leave it as it is, but if you don't reduce the number of bees there's a good chance they'll swarm again as soon as they have a laying queen.

    ------------------
    Regards,

    Robert Brenchley

    RSBrenchley@aol.com
    Birmingham UK

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