Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    46

    Default Captured my first swarm, they seem happy, a few questions

    Hello everyone,
    I am new to bee keeping, having caught a swarm near my house in Oakland CA and put it in a 10 frame langstroff super (7" not deep). It was not a particularly big swarm and a local bee keeper suggested that this is late in the swarm season in our area and that I might have a virgin queen. It rained and was cold for 4 days after I captured them and we have now had 3 warm days. He said that if the queen was virgin, she would mate after 2 or 3 sunny days and not to approach the hive too much for a for a few days after that as she could get lost leaving or returning to the hive due to my physical presence changing the local landmarks she would be using for direction. Currently the bees are quite active to the point where using the smallest entrance restricting hole caused a pile-up of bees on the outside of the hive waiting to get back in. There doesnt seem to be much crowding with the medium opening. The bees are clearly setting up flight paths and I would assume are gathering nectar and pollen. I did not feed the bees any sugar water. So far the bees are very docile, last night we moved the hive up onto a platform I built and are using cups of veg oil around the legs to prevent ant incursions. however, this morning I noticed around 10 bees in the cup closest to where they land prior to entering the hive so I made a sheet metal skirt to prevent bees from falling into the oil, installed it on over the problem spot and used aluminum foil over the other front leg. During this time I don't think I got much attention from any guard bees although I was fully suited and concentrating on getting my work done quickly with a minimum jaring or vibration to the hive, so there may have been some guard interest in me...

    My questions are:
    1. Is there any way to know if I have a virgin queen, and if or when she will have mated?
    2. Since I have started with a regular super, I was figuring on putting another 7" super for brood comb and then a final super with a queen restricter for the honey super. Should I be expecting to harvest honey this year?
    3. I am planning on inspecting the hive next weekend to look for brood and eggs, should I look sooner or wait a week, and does it matter?

    Thanks Mark

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default Re: Captured my first swarm, they seem happy, a few questions

    1. If you see eggs right away she is not a virgin, you will know when by the presence of eggs.
    2. I never expect honey the first year but that does not mean, if all the conditions are right, it can;t happen.
    3. Some folks will disagree but as far as I am concerned it doesn't really matter.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Captured my first swarm, they seem happy, a few questions

    Hmm.. Today I noticed that even with the entrance reducer set to a 3 inch entrance, the bees were congested at the entrance and exiting on the front side of the hive and walking up the hive before flying away. I am trying to determine if they are robber bees. or not. I observed from some time and although I didn't see any bees fighting, there were quite a few around the hive. Since the hive is only a week old and there have only been a few warm days would there be anything for other bees to rob? I closed things down to the one inch opening for now, just in case. I suppose that most of the bees on the outside of the hive could be robbers and that the fighting could be happening inside the hive?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: Captured my first swarm, they seem happy, a few questions

    Not robbing. With robbing you'll usually see a real brawl going on at the entrance and bees trying to get in every little crack in the hive. They don't have much to rob anyway at this point. It won't hurt anything to leave the small entrance opening. Quit worrying!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Captured my first swarm, they seem happy, a few questions

    Do virgin queens swarm? I was under the impression that a swarm by definition involves the old queen taking flight after a new one is raised. Am I wrong?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Captured my first swarm, they seem happy, a few questions

    Hives can throw off Secondary Swarms which have virgin queens. What you describe, Kevin, is a Primary Swarm.

    Ted

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Captured my first swarm, they seem happy, a few questions

    Cool, thanks I did not know that! Learn something every day here

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