Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Maricopa, AZ
    Posts
    62

    Default Swarm life cycle questions?


    This last weekend I had a swarm land in my yard. I'll include a photo. They seemed healthy and what I thought was large group. I am a total novice and quickly made some phone calls and decided to attempt to keep these bees instead of exterminate them. With the help of a couple of beekeepers from Tucson who sold (and leant) me some gear I put together a hive and got the bees in it. Now that it's been a few days things seem to be changing and I hope it's ok.

    Question 1:
    What is the normal life cycle for a swarm? How many typically die as the swarm tries to establish itself? As I estimate that they have a very short time period to get some brood going before the workers start to die a typical death (~5-6 weeks). If they don't get brood going in time the entire swarm might perish.

    Question 2:
    The first day I fed them with a mix of sugar water (1:1) and some honey-b-healthy mix. They consumed about 2/3rds of a quart in a day. I made a fresh batch and the 2nd day they consumed less than 1/2 a quart. The 3rd day less than a 1/4th, and today less than 1/8th. It could be that they are no longer malnourished due to swarming and are finding food locally? Is this typical?

    Question 3:
    The first couple days I realized I hadn't atached the foundation properly since I didn't know what I was doing. I checked the hive and it had fallen to the bottom in the sunny day. I found a store and bought better stuff, and over 2 days replaced the sagging foundation with plastic foundation in the center but wax covered so it'll stand up to Phoenix heat. Thus I opened the box a couple times in the evening and saw many bees. Today I opened it during the day and there were probably only half as many bees. Is this typical? Are they gone or were they just off working?

    I was shocked to see so few and very saddened by the experience. Even though it's only been a week I really want these critters to flourish. After all I've already spent $400 or so to give them a good try.

    Thanks for your time and postings to the web site and sharing your experience.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,021

    Default Re: Swarm life cycle questions?

    It looks like a primary swarm & should contain a laying queen. The bees will live much longer than 6 weeks that's a common misconception.

    It is not good to feed a brand new swarm. They are trying to get established and feeding messes them up.

    Don't know why the bees have died / left, but the hive has been messed with quite a lot. Not your fault you are just starting out & have done the best you can.
    But a new swarm should be installed and then left completely alone for several weeks. That's assuming the hive is set up properly, I know you had to intervene over the sagging foundation.

    My guess, is that something has happened to the queen and the bees are drifting away. But leave it alone now. If there is no queen nothing you can do. If there is a queen it will pull through best if you leave it. You can have a quick peek in a week or so. In two weeks have another peek, if there are still bees but no brood, give it a comb of eggs & young larvae from your other hive.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Maricopa, AZ
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Swarm life cycle questions?

    I planned to leave them alone for a couple weeks now, so I won't worry about feeding them once the quart they have is gone. Hopefully I have a queen and all is well.

    I don't have another hive to put some comb and babies in from, this is my one and only experience. I don't know other bee keepers in the Phoenix area so unless I can buy a queen it'll be the end of a grand experiment ;-)

    Time will tell it seems.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Yukon, Oklahoma
    Posts
    150

    Default Re: Swarm life cycle questions?

    If the swarm doesn't make it...don't let it be the end of your grand experiment. You are "hooked" on beekeeping already...I see the signs..LOL. This is one of the most rewarding hobbies I have ever had. Not to mention I feel that I am helping out the bee population from demise. Get with your local bee club and see about replacements, should these not make it. Or set the hive up to catch another swarm. All is not lost. Good luck and good beekeeping. Keep us posted.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Oakland, CA, USA
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: Swarm life cycle questions?

    I think you gave them a more secure home than they might have made in the eaves of someone's house, or in a hollow tree.

    It's hard not to fret, when you're just starting out.

    Let the bees get settled, and while they're doing that, read everything you can. (And remember that if you ask ten beekepers a question, you'll get eleven totally different answers.)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,115

    Default Re: Swarm life cycle questions?

    Itís nice to hear people trying to help honeybees instead of getting out the raid. Sometimes the swarm donít like the accommodations or when you shook the bees into a box the queen flew away. They will soon drift away. Leave them alone for a week then take a quick peek if the queen is present she will have laid eggs. If it donít work out order a package of bees and join the club. The world can always use another beekeeper.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads