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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Hacienda Heights, Ca, USA
    Posts
    143

    Default Big Swarm Hived, Will it Make It This Late?

    I picked up a large swarm in Whiter, California last Monday. It was ~30 feet up in a tree and about half again bigger than a basket ball; my guess is 6-8 pounds of bees. It had been in the tree at least 2 weeks, maybe longer. There were several large sections of honeycomb built out but no honey. We cut the branch and lowered the branch to the ground with a rope. I got most of the bees into a box and hived them on Tuesday. I put them into my top bar hive and they are now clustering around the top. I put a Boardman feeder in the back of the TBH, just set it on the bottom screen, and they seem to be drinking it up at a rate of a quart of 1:1 syrup a day. I am inclined to cut off the feeding but I want them to build up some comb, stores and brood for winter. I am not sure if there is enough food in the area for that. With the syrup in the hive, not many of the bees seem to be heading out looking for their own food. I have not seen the queen yet. I thought I would hold off looking for here until there is some comb built up. The bees are generally darker Italian but there is a mix of smaller black bees with gray strips (no brown at all) that I am not familiar with. There are a lot of drones in this swarm which are almost black and seem to be of various sizes from just big to huge.

    My question is about feeding the swarm (or not to feed the swarm). Are there enough flowers left in Hacienda Heights, California (~20 miles East of Los Angeles) area to build up a large swarm like this one for winter? And if not, should I start feeding patties and 2:1 syrup to balance out their diet?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,849

    Default Re: Big Swarm Hived, Will it Make It This Late?

    I can't advise on your area, but up here I would have to feed a late swarm for a long time

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Greensburg, Ky.
    Posts
    1,148

    Default Re: Big Swarm Hived, Will it Make It This Late?

    You will be feeding along time since the bees dont have anything!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Hacienda Heights, Ca, USA
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Big Swarm Hived, Will it Make It This Late?

    Well, they didn't stay. I fed them and gave them water and they only stayed for 2 days. They put down some very white comb, but packed up a left. I guess there is a chance that I didn’t get the queen, but they sure acted like it when I boxed the swarm and they all marched in. Oh well, maybe next time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    whatcom co, WA
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Big Swarm Hived, Will it Make It This Late?

    A lot of the time I have found that a swarm that starts building comb out in the open like this is queenless anyways

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Hacienda Heights, Ca, USA
    Posts
    143

    Default Re: Big Swarm Hived, Will it Make It This Late?

    Quote Originally Posted by bfriendly View Post
    A lot of the time I have found that a swarm that starts building comb out in the open like this is queenless anyways
    This could very well be true as I never did see her. I'll keep that in mind for the future captures and if they are building comb, I will verify the queen. If she is not there then I will merge the swarm with an existing hive or give them some eggs. The one thing I did notice was that the bees in the swarm sure were a mixed bag of bee types and shapes.

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