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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Bell twp, PA
    Posts
    33

    Default How to hive a fall swarm?

    Got a call today. 7 vertically hanging combs in an appletree with good numbers of bees on it. Guy estimates it the size of a basketball. IN SW PA, we will soon have frost. IT appears these bees have not found an indoor home. What will happen to them? He sent a camera phone pic and although I can't make it out, it looks like a good sized colony and ther is capped honey present.

    I have a few extra hive bodies, and supers, including a super off of one of my strong hives with about 5 frames filled and capped in it. My hives all have a deep full of honey, so they will winter ok here. I suppose i could cut out the natural comb in the tree and string it in a deep, and give them the super and a fill it with the drawn comb that I have extra.

    Is it worth a shot, or is it too late, or should I let ma nature take over? I have three new hives all ready for next spring as I am planning an increase. Would this be worth a shot?

    What would you all do???

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Fair Grove,MO,USA
    Posts
    1,658

    Default Fall swarm

    If you have the time go for it.Freezing temp.doesn!t kill bees,wet and damp freezing temp. will.With freezing rain and snow coming they don!t have much of a chance.Your plan,to cut the comb and wiring it in a deep super and adding a extra super of honey would have worked good a month ago but it!s getting late now.I don!t know anything about the weather in your area,but freezing rain will do them in without your help.If it!s as big as a basketball like you said, I think you have a good shot at it.If your like me and don!t, you will always wonder.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Smithsburg, Maryland
    Posts
    23

    Default

    If they are on comb it's not a swarm, it's a colony. Basketball size? I would cut the branch(es) out of the tree, prune it down to the wax, and stuff it in a box putting a box of stores on top. It's too late for cutting, don't do any rearranging of the combs if you can help it. Apple trees are tough and will recover from even severe cuts, most orchardists know this and know the value of honeybees so they won't mind, but clear it with them anyhow. Clean up the mess by getting them onto movable frames next spring when they stand a chance of recovering from it

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Buda, Texas
    Posts
    922

    Default

    BenC is exactly right. I did that a couple of years ago - cut the branch off and trimmed it to fit down into a stack of empty supers. I left the bottom open and covered the top with a burlap sack and wide board. We had a cold winter that year and the bees made it through fine. The next spring I cut the comb and put them into frames and they turned into a very nice colony.
    "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. " John 10:11

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Bell twp, PA
    Posts
    33

    Default

    I'm going for it sunday. weather is on the up, its supposed to be nice sunday. I'll let you all know how it goes.

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