So last week my original hive swarmed, and I caught the swarm and managed to get it going in a new hive.
So far so good.
I destroyed the swarm cells, realized I had probably destroyed the new queen for the original hive, and requeened that hive last Friday.
I was going to check it this morning, but it was raining.
Now the crazy part: they swarmed again with the new queen.
My neighbor came by and told me that I might want to check my hive because he thought it was swarming again.
I told him that in the late afternoon, there was usually big groups of bees flying around.
I went out, and it looked like more bees than usual, but less bees than the first swarm. And they were hanging out low to the ground in a yard across the alley from me.
Eventually they all came back, and I thought all was OK, but then I found the new queen on the ground with four or five attendants. (She's clipped).
I kept putting her near the entrance to the hive, but she kept climbing to the top of the hive.
Then I lost track of her. In spite of its being late afternoon, windy, and with a storm brewing, I opened the hive to see if I could find her.
In my haste, I started to break a comb, squashed a bee or two, and couldn't find the queen. AND, the bees started to swarm AGAIN with me in the middle of it.
So I hastily put it all back together.
Then I found the queen on the ground again in another small group of bees. I tilted up a top bar and popped her back in the hive. I didn't know if it was the right thing to do. If I had another hive on hand, I would have put her in there and watched what happened, but, alas, I don't have an extra hive.
The swarm settled on the front of the hive and slowly made their way back in.
I don't know what's going on with that hive.
I don't have enough wood to build another complete hive, or I would try to make a split in the morning. I'm kind of guessing they might try another swarm tomorrow. I would think there might be a virgin queen I didn't know about, but if that was the case, wouldn't my new queen have been killed?
When I built the hive for the first swarm, I moved some comb and brood over to it to make extra room in the original hive. I put empty bars on either side of the brood nest, so they should feel that they have plenty of room.
I did have just enough wood to make a two foot long super. It's ten inches high, with 17 top bars.
In the morning,early, before they can start thinking about swarming, I'm going to check the brood nest for more swarm cells, and add the super, moving a comb or two of honey up to it to give the bees the right idea.
I don't know if that will stop them from trying to swarm again or not, but it's the best I can do in a crisis.
If they do swarm, I can take the super off, staple some cardboard to the bottom, and use it as a nuc.
For supering, can I just remove a top bar to give them access? That will leave the gap at the bottom of the super where it would have been resting on the top bar. Then the bees would have three entrances instead of one. Is that OK, or should I take a top bar and drill it full of holes in the middle for them to use as an entrance?
I don't know why this first season of beekeeping has been one long crisis.
Thanks to everyone who has been answering my questions.
And here I thought the bees would be doing all the work!
The swarm settled on the face of the hive
If you have a queen excluder you could try putting it at the bottom of the hive and close all other entrances. Then, theoretically, she wouldn't be able to get out and the swarm wouldn't go far without her. I've never tried this but have heard others mention it.
Since you are in the top bar section, I am assuming that you have a top bar hive. Depending on the type of enterance you have (I have seven 3/8 holes drilled in the front of the hive,) you can use large paper clips as queen exluders in front of the holes. Hope this helps!