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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    dublin, CA USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Caught my first swarm!

    I captured my first swarm of bees last Wednesday. They had landed on a milk jug at a coworker’s property in Livermore, by the next morning had moved to the ground. I brought a hive box over and we placed it next to the bees and brushed the frames with sugar syrup I had boiled up on the stove.
    Used a dustpan & brush to scoop up and shake some off on the top of the frames and gently pushed some towards the entrance. They began to go in, tempted by the sugar syrup.

    The whole dang thing was so exciting. The people would like to keep them and learn about beekeeping, they need to get their own hive and supplies.

    Now a week later.. many bees are still on the grass outsidethe entrance. Can anyone tell me why this might be? Also, if they are queenless, they would have swarmed with a virgin queen, right?

    Is the right thing to do to put them on a hive stand? or leave them on the ground for now?

    Anne Anderson
    photo_1.jpg
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    photo_3.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Caught my first swarm!

    Depending on conditions where they are on the ground (are there fire ants nearby, are they in a low spot where water may pool during a storm) it might be very necessary to put the box up on a stand. When you move the box to put it on a stand, wait until after dark, when all of the bees have "gone home" for the day and are inside the hive; then move the hive to wherever you want it to stay & block up the entrance with some fresh grass, or put some branches right in front of the entrance so the bees will have to navigate around them, or both. This way, when the bees leave the hive the next morning they'll be in "reorientation mode" and will take new bearings so all your foragers don't end up massed on the ground in the old spot, hopelessly lost.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    734

    Default Re: Caught my first swarm!

    They might be on the grass because the queen might be on the grass.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: Caught my first swarm!

    Do you have some old comb in the hive? That helps draw them in. If bees are still clustering outside it makes me think the same as RAK...the queen's still outside. Sugar wasn't really required to get them to go in...this short video is with no syrup. The bees started going into the hive after a few bees had been shook into the box...the queen had not entered at this time (but did later)...she was actually in that dark "hole" in the pile of bees at the lower right hand side:



    It is odd that it's a week later and you still have bees on the ground and in the hive. I would try to physically move the bees on the ground into the hive...at least dig around and see if you can catch the queen and put her in the hive. The closer you can get the hive entrance to the bees on the ground the better chance of them going inside.

    All of this is said by someone (me!) with little experience. So the advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.

    Ed

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Caught my first swarm!

    Quote Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post
    If bees are still clustering outside it makes me think the same as RAK...the queen's still outside.
    ...OR they're just out there for the same reason they'd be "bearding" if the hive were on the stand....keeping the temp. inside the hive down. I SEVERELY doubt that the bees would still be in the area if the queen weren't "on comb" somewhere a week later; never heard of a swarm staying in "swarm mode" (instead of comb building/hive mode) for more than 3 days before. That's part of why I recommended moving them @ night...not only is it necessary for not leaving some foragers behind, it also show you where the queen is; at night bees all go wherever they consider "home" to be, so there'll only be bees in the grass at night if there is a severe problem; otherwise they'll all be inside the box where they belong.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: Caught my first swarm!

    Anne, are the bees on the ground at night also or do they go inside the hive in the evening/night? I was under the impression that part of the swarm has never gone inside the hive...?? They should definitely go inside the hive as night falls....unless the queen is still hunkered down in the grass for some reason. You need to check them at night to see if they're still in the grass. When you check them at night and if there are no bees in the grass then they're all in the hive, then you need to plug up the entrance and move them to where you want them and put them on a stand. I like to use #8 hardware cloth folded, pinched together and slipped into the entrance...the "spring" of the folded mesh holds it in place but you might one to staple or tack the mesh down to make sure it stays put. A piece of foam (like used in cushions) will do in a pinch, though I don't like it was well as it doesn't ventilate as well as the #8 mesh does.

    robherc's right about moving them at night...that's when all the bees *should* be in the hive. Just be sure to stop up *all* holes before the move...hole/entrance in inner cover, main entrance, any other(?) holes. I've only moved hives a few times so I like to use a small ratchet strap to hold everything together...just to "be sure".

    Ed

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