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.
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.
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?
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.