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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Farmington, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default First swarm, making a mess of it and looking for advice!

    Rookie beekeeper dealing with first swarm looking for advice:

    Noticed the swarm at dusk last night, wrapped around a small birdhouse and several small branches in the crotch of a tree. Racing daylight, I managed to drop the entire bee-covered birdhouse into the open cavity of a hive body, next to five frames. Then I brushed as many bees as I could off the tree into a bucket and dumped them in the hive body. I figure I got 70-80 percent of them inside. The remainder were still clustered on the tree in several place this morning (45 degrees and raining), although it is supposed to stop raining and warm up near 60 this afternoon. So Iím hoping most of them will be inside when I get home from work.

    The hive body, however, is cockeyed on the solid bottom board, resting off to one side. (and it's backward!) Plus, the bottom board, hive body and cover donít fit together all that well. Transporting them in this container will be problematic, even with lots of duct tape. Additionally, Iím going to need to remove the bird house at some point.
    My inclination is to get a nuc box and, at dusk tonight, try and move frames and shake as many as I can into the more secure nuc box. Is there a better option? Any advice appreciated.

    This link shows what the situation looked like this morning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDr-T...1&feature=plcp

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

    Default Re: First swarm, making a mess of it and looking for advice!

    1st off, it doesn't look like anything "irrecoverable" from that video, so don't worry too much about having "made a mess of it."

    As soon as you can, if they don't do it on their own, I'd try to get those bees from the crotch & the base of the tree moved into the box; then I'd try to get the box set on the bottom board a little more "straight."

    After that, if they're not going to be a problem where they are, I'd be really tempted to just leave 'em where they are for 4-5days until some of the first eggs start hatching into fresh brood. Once you have open brood to "Anchor" them, you shouldn't have much trouble convincing them to move when it's time.

    As far as the birdhouse, I'd check on the hive after dark tonight & remove the birdhouse if it's NOT still at the center of a large ball of bees. If they're still clustering heavily around it, your queen may be inside, and they might be building a little comb in it already. If that's the case, I'd be tempted to just leave it in there until there's open brood on at least 2-3 of the 5 frames in the box, then worry with removing the birdhouse & the crazy comb that'll be surrounding it then; it might even be worthwhile to have a few foundationless frames ready to splice the feral comb into as you remove it from around the birdhouse. Of course, if you're able to remove the birdhouse & insert frames in its place tonight, then you'll have "lucked out" of that whole concern

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: First swarm, making a mess of it and looking for advice!

    The only thing I had to house my first swarm was a medium super. Scrap plywood made for top and bottom, I left a gap underneath for an entrance and ordered gear. Three or four days later I assembled a new hive, dumped them from the super without transferring a single frame and they went about their business.

    Lots of "mistakes" don't make any difference.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Farmington, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: First swarm, making a mess of it and looking for advice!

    Thanks for the help! I feel better about it. I'll straighten it up tonight...and one of my bee school instructors is going to come retrieve it Tues or Wednesday and he said he'll deal with the birdhouse
    .....now....if I only knew how they got INSIDE my suit last night!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,842

    Default Re: First swarm, making a mess of it and looking for advice!

    I agree with robherc. Get as many as possible in the hive, remaining will come to the hive.

    Not sure what you mean when you say backward. Do you mean upside down. If so you have no place to hang frames. End to end, boxes are the same. Fit doesn't really matter all that much for the time being.

    I would not try to put them in a nuc. I would not shake bees off the frames, and I would not disturbe them any more than necessary for a few days. If I were transferring,(and I wouldn't for a few days) I would use a 10 framer.

    If there are bees clustered on the birdhouse, (and I suspect there will be), I would leave the bird house in there. I have had this situation twice in the past few years. Bluebird houses, way too small for a hive of bees, but, the queen was already inside the small house. As the bees and queen move onto your frames, at that point, remove the birdhouse and let them rob out anything in the birdhouse.

    If you do open the hive, have frames ready. A couple of foundation frames will help to stop them from dropping comb. A drawn comb or two will give the queen a place to lay.

    As robherc said, they may very well build a maze of wax around the birdhouse, but you can work with that, and you will disturb them less if you leave it till later. I don't like to disturbe any more than I have to, until the queen has started laying.

    cchoganjr

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