After a cold and rainy week of weather we are now into a cycle of warmer weather and a spell of swarm calls. I picked up two more swarms today. One was pretty simple, it was stuck on the outside of a new house under construction, between two and five foot level. Brushed the majority into the nuc until they were fanning and went back at dusk and picked them up.
The other one was a bit harder to get, it was inside of a thorny bush on the ground. The homeowners said it was on the eave of the house earlier and there were still quite a few bees going in and out of the hole in the facia. I thought that there was a colony in the overhang, but after prying a board back I could see that there was nothing inside except a few bees inspecting the cavity. I am of the opionion that there may be something wrong with that queen. She and the swarm was on the house but she did not move in, apparently falling to the ground and not getting back up.
My question, and thought. I may want to combine these two swarms into a nice sized colony, both are still in the cardboard nuc boxes tonight, should I;
A: Put all the bees and frames (PC) into a medium box and let the queens fight it out?
B: Install them into seperate hives and find the suspect queen and kill her, and then hive them together useing the newspaper method?
C: Any other ideas?
Either way I would use a queen includer for a few days, add a frame of brood and feed with syrup and Bee Pro.
Side note: There are quite a few studs in both swarms, more than I normally see. Would that be indicitive of a newly hatched queen?
The queen that was on the house, is not neccesarily lost. If the swarm moved, chances are they moved her too, or she moved and they followed.
As for letting them fight it out? I wouldn't. I would let them settle into a nuc, and see if you have two queens or not. If you do, then its up to you to figure which one to keep, or to keep both. If there is only one queen, use the newspaper method, with small slits, to combine the swarms. I would rather keep both queens, because one could definately be better than the other. If you have two queens, give it a month, and check to see which one is laying better, and you can also get the hive temperment gauge somewhat as well. It is very early in the season, and you can always combine them later. If the two queens are virgins, then you might have two good layers, and want both. They might grow quite rapidly depending on the queens genes ect. If they have carniolian in them, both will grow pretty quickly. One never knows! Anyway, that is what I would probably do.
[This message has been edited by Hook (edited April 28, 2004).]
Hook, thanks for the reply.
I found both queens. The one that I feared may have had something wrong with her, the one that was on the house but ended up on the ground was a very good looking light colored Italian, almost Cordovan.
The other was a nice dark queen. Both were good sized and healthy looking. Neither of the swarms were large they only covered about three and one half medium frames each. So far I have caught fifteen swarms and picked up two large birdhouses and I am getting low on equipment.
I should have done what you suggested, but I have more bees than I know what to do with. I think that if I start combining I will be able to insure a harvest from them this year, especially sinse I am using Permacomb.
I could not decide which queen to keep as they both looked to be in good condition so I combined the two swarms in the same box. I put each swarm on opposite sides with an empty frame inbetween. Queen includer under the box so neither could leave. So far so good, lots of traffic at the opening, I have the larger opening in use now but may have to remove it to reduce congestion.
I like the color of the lighter queen and her girls, but I am also partial to Carni's. As long as the survivor is a good layer I can't lose. In the long run I will replacer her this fall with NWC.
>In the long run I will replacer her this fall with NWC.
I have replaced all my queens with NWC, except the ferral removals that were known to be of old survivor stock. So far I have been impressed with aspects of this strain and I want to insure that I flood my apairy and surrounding area with these genes.
So far I have picked up fifteen swarms, averaging about two per day on nice days. Cold and rainy now so won't get any until next week. All the swarms I get are of unkown quality and stock. I don't know the ages of the queens, productivity and temperment won't be known for a couple of months, let alone overwintering and survivalibility that can't be evaluated until next year. In short, I don't want to waste time, effort, and expense on an unknown. I would rather spend the twelve bucks, KNOW that I have a young queen, and KNOW that she has the good genetic background that will survive and produce.
There is a lot left to do in this hobby/sideline that I do not have the time to get involved in yet. Perhaps when I retire and I live close to my apairy I can start queen breeding and other things I don't have the time for now. I have my hands full building equipment and worrying about how many hives and nucs are in my backyard and now it's almost May 1st, city ordnance , say no more, say no more...
I don't think that you can save money, (and definatly not time), by skimping on queens. Life is too short to waste on dissapointments.