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Thread: Swarming

  1. #1
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    Aug 2005
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    Warwick, MA
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    I have two hives, they are package bees from this spring. They have done quite well this year, but one of the hives swarmed about a week ago, and last night the same hive swarmed again! I have heard of this happening, I believe the first swarm will take the old queen, and subsequent swarms will contain virgin queens. My question is whether I should be checking for more queen cells right away, or let the hive "chill out" for a few days first? Also, not having a lot of success hiving the swarms!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    It is very possible your new virgin queen is already in the hive. I have seen as many as 9 virgins in a swarm hive hatched at the same time. If you check for queen cells and for some reason you don't have a virgin (which you won't likely know as they run and are hard to find) opening the hive if you're inexperianced could damage a queen cell you need. I would advise to let the bees do what they do and check for a new queen in a week or so unless you are confident about manipulations. After 7 to 10 days you should see eggs, pollen coming in and may be able to find the new queen as the population will be down, not as many bees to look through. Check in the height of the day when fieldworkers are out so you are dealing with mainly nurse bees.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2005
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    Warwick, MA
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    That sounds like good advice, and I am still a novice, so I want to go slowly with this process. I think my immediate concern was that the same hive swarmed twice in just over a week, and I was afraid of it happening a third time! I have added additional supers for expansion, and also propped up the cover to increase ventilation, but it is still swarming. Is there any additional advice you might have to better my chances of capturing my next swarm? I do not seem to be having much success...

  4. #4
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    Apr 2005
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    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
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    (Not having a lot of success hiving the swarms) Do you have an extra super or deep for a swarm trap nearby, the swarm will catch itself if they have have a "swarm trap" that catches their attention.
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2005
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    I haven't resorted to the swarm trap, but I'm afraid I will have to do this. I have had some major bear issues, so I am leery about leaving too much out there, but I have room in my electric fence kingdom. Is there a difference between utilizing drawn comb or new foundation in the hive you are attempting to put the swarm into? I realize they will start drawing comb right away, but I have some drawn comb frames that I have used lately, and wasn't sure if they would prefer new foundation? Also, wondering if there are positive or negative ideas towards the use of spraying the swarm with sugar water before hiving, I've read this as a recommendation, but never have done it?

  6. #6
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    Jul 2005
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    Perkasie, PA
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    Bill,
    Just out of curiosity, are your bees russians?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Warwick, MA
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    No, they are italians. I purchased them from a local apiary in Deerfield, MA, and he buys from somewhere down south. They are gentle bees, good to work with, but my ineptitude in capturing swarms is frustrating me. I have a swarm I need to take another attempt at tonight, and I hope I have better success.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Logan Ut, USA
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    57

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    Bill,
    I am a second year beekeeper. I too have a hive of Italians (3 band). They swarmed twice last year and again twice this year. I am going to find the queen in the spring and replace her. I believe some bees have a propensity to swarm (at least this particular hive does). Both times I was out of town and received calls from my spouse that it had occurred. He or course, would not try to catch them for me.
    I have two other hives that are Caucasians that have not swarmed and are strong and doing extremely well.
    Good luck!
    Vickie I.
    A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water - Eleanor Roosevelt

  9. #9
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    Mar 2005
    Location
    Chittenango,Ny (upstate)
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    Bill, My sucess hiving swarms is limited but I do best with drawn comb. The scent helps hold the swarm until they settle down and start housekeeping. Spraying the swarm with sugar water won't hurt them but I have never done it. It might be helpful to set up a bait hive 200-300 yards from your hives. If bears are a concern, you could try suspending a 4-5 frame nuc box up 10-15 feet. Good luck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Rochester, Washington, USA
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    Hiving a swarm is one of the FEW times I'll use a 'excluder', put it between the bottom board and your hive body (making it a 'includer' leave it in place for just a couple of days then remove, screen the upper vent/entrance (if you use one) use drawn comb (if possible)or bare foundation, feed 1:1 just for the first few days or until the jar is empty (which ever comes first) I use entrance feeders (easier to check). That is the way I hive swarms and this year out of 10 only had 1 ascound cause of a gap between the top cover and hive body.
    Good luck.
    \"ONLY WHEN THE LAST RIVER HAS BEEN DRIED UP<br />THE LAST TREE BEEN CUT DOWN<br />THE LAST WILD FISH CAUGHT<br />WILL MAN REALIZE YOU CAN\'T EAT MONEY\"<br />GHANDI (?)

  11. #11
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    Aug 2005
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    Warwick, MA
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    I was finally successful in hiving the swarm last night, it was the second attempt for the same swarm, so they were not very happy. I cut the branch it was on, which unfortunately was pretty large, and was able to get the majority of it, including the queen I presume into the new hive. I did end up using drawn comb frames, and this morning they appeared to be adjusting to the new hive. After hiving them last night, I was surprised to see quite a few bees fanning on the front of the new hive? I did not expect to see this activity at first, it was humid out, but not overly hot? I am wondering if I should replace all the frames in this new hive? I only have five in now to allow for the mass of bees at first from the swarm introduction. I am going to be set up a bait hive this week as well.

  12. #12
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    Jun 2005
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    Greensboro, N.C.
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    Foundation or drawn comb, fill the box with frames. QUICKLY. They will hang wax from the lid.They are fanning to bring in the stragglers, not from the heat. It probably starteg within minutes of hiving the swarm. Congrats on your first.

  13. #13
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    Aug 2005
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    Warwick, MA
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    Should I be concerned about opening the hive when I put the additional frames in? I was hesitating to do it this morning before work, because I wasn't sure if it would disturb them too much? I am also thinking I should feed them some sugar water for a few days, as Silverfox recommended...

  14. #14

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    All things mentioned here are correct, but one must use caution when using drawn comb on a swarm because if one does not know the source of the swarm, if it contains foulbrood spores you will be bringing foulbrood to the apiary as they will deposit honey with the spores into the cells. My method for any swarm, whenever possible, is to have the box nearly full of frames with foundation, cut the branch they are on and place that in the gap left by the few missing frames and cover immediately. The bottom has already been attached to the hive body with duct tape so there is no light gap and can be moved easily. The fanning of the bees is a good sign, as that means you have the queen and the bees are fanning the scent so that all the bees of the swarm know this is the new hive. The pheremones sold for swarm catching are based upon causing this fanning to occur. When one places the top on the hive, do so gently, and if there is a large gap because of the branch, etc, merely cover the whole top and sides with a large towel, a dark brown one would be best. Once hived and moved to the desired location, you can begin feeding with sugar syrup and they will draw out that foundation pronto. I move mine the evening I catch it, waiting until dusk to do so. If a warm nite, one may use a smoker just to get a few hanging outside to move inside before moving. If one does not want the extra hive, or the follow up swarms are making the remaining hive too weak, then one can recombine the swarm hive with the parent hive a few days later with little trouble, though it may be prudent to use the newspaper method of combining. If you intend to do this, then you can go inside the current hive to look for extra queen cells and remove them, as the queen from the swarm will be your new queen and you can feel sure there will be no new swarms. If you plan on keeping the swarm as a new hive you should just leave the hive alone as mentioned so as not to destroy a needed queen cell. Best of luck.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Rochester, Washington, USA
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    I fully agree with Bee Man on using the drawn comb. I should have said use drawn comb that you know where it came from, all of mine is from my hives, I switch out drawn with bare fondation to aquire more.
    The feed, if there is a flow, is just till they get orginized and used to the new box and area. Once they start bringing in necture they'll ignore the feed.
    Adding frames can be done, IHMO, the next day, Mine i do after I get the swarm home.
    \"ONLY WHEN THE LAST RIVER HAS BEEN DRIED UP<br />THE LAST TREE BEEN CUT DOWN<br />THE LAST WILD FISH CAUGHT<br />WILL MAN REALIZE YOU CAN\'T EAT MONEY\"<br />GHANDI (?)

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