Hello again everyone. I was lucky enough to capture my first swarm a couple of days ago. There is a wild hive living in the cinder blocks of a church and they swarmed last week and I couldn't get to them. This week they swarmed again and I tried a new approach. They were on the 2nd story brick of a church. I laid on the roof and used rope to lower drawn comb frames next to the cluster and they went to it like a magnet. I'd pull the rope up and put them in a box. I did this for a while till I got about 95% of the bees. I ran out of drawn comb and decided to put a drop of lemongrass oil on a frame and drop it down to see what happened. THE BEES FLEW OUT OF THE CLUSTER AND GOT AWAY FROM THE FRAME AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!!!! I thought lemongrass oil attracted swarms, but I'm new at this so I guess I don't know much. You live and you learn.
Well I took the bees home where have 1 very strong hive I took over and two smaller splits I had made a month ago. It's been raining non-stop in my region so there is no nectar flow going on right now and I fed the hived swarm and one of the splits some 1:1 with honeybee healthy in it. Learned a quick lesson, don't feed like that during a dearth next to a strong colony.
I quickly hit the garage and built robber screens (thank you Mr. Bush for the wonderful pics on your website) and installed them, as well as entrance reducers that were already on there. This slowed them down but I think bees might still be getting in. Even if they're not getting in they're not backing off. I'm really worried about it all. I've had one split robbed out and killed by this stronger hive already this year. They took all the nectar and honey from a nuc and then uncapped all the brood. I opened the hive to a pile of dead bees, chewed cappings and a bunch exposed dead brood.
I DON'T WANT THIS TO HAPPEN TO MY OTHER SPLITS! Any suggestions on how I can feed them and keep the robbing away? It's supposed to be constant thundershowers for at least the next week so nectar isn't going be available.
I'm not 100% sure I caught the queen with the swam, but I think I did. If so my guess is she's still a virgin queen or newly mated since this was the 2nd swarm and I'm assuming she's still a little smaller and really hard to spot. They are some industrious little bees though, they've drawn out 3 deep frames in a day and a half. I really hope there is a queen in there so I can keep this strain of bees that have survived on their own for the past 6 years.
But back to the point, any help on what to do about the robbing would be really helpful. I've been combing through archives here, that's how I got the robbing screen idea. I love all my bees but this strong hive is really getting me frustrated. Could I just close them off for a couple days? Would that really solve anything. They have plenty of honey to eat. I just don't know.
sorry for the long post!