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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Drain, OR
    Posts
    425

    Default Hived a swarm 4 days ago, questions

    Picked up a 3lb-ish swarm near my office last Friday. Scooped them into an imprompto cardboard box around 3pm. Sealed the box except for an entrance, and left them until 5pm. Sealed the entrance then, drove them home and hived them in a single medium of foundationless frames, and gave them a quart of 1:1. Today (Tuesday) it was pointed out to me that there was a dinner plate sized cluster, say 1/5th of the mass on Friday, still on the wall. I'm assuming these are scouts and foragers that I left behind? I had thought they would have left by now.. I inspected the medium today. They have drawn comb nicely on 3 frames, working on a 4th and fifth. A lot of the comb has open sugar water / nectar in it, but not all. I saw no eggs. As many bees are still fastooning as are wandering the comb. I haven't seen the queen, but they acted like she was in the box when I scooped them up (marched in, etc.). Will they draw if they don't have a queen? I'm guessing a swarm would since they kind of have to due to the honey in their system. So I'm pretty sure I just need to wait for her to start laying.. But what about that cluster back at the office? Should I bother trying to scoop them up?

    Thanks!
    A backyard hobbyist, keeping hives since '09. ~ http://www.sweetthangchocolates.com
    Zone 8a/8b

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Hodgenville, KY
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Hived a swarm 4 days ago, questions

    I would go back and get the cluster. You are right they are foragers and still smell the scent of the queen, but you could have accidently left the queen also.

    Either scenario, queen or not, you are going to gain additional foraging bees which will result in more comb being built.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Drain, OR
    Posts
    425

    Default Re: Hived a swarm 4 days ago, questions

    Yesterday when I got home from work, I pulled a few combs from the new colony. Found eggs So no worries. But I did take a nuc to work with me, and left it under the cluster that has remained. Hopefully tonight they all moved in. About half of them had by 5. I'll take it home tomorrow.
    A backyard hobbyist, keeping hives since '09. ~ http://www.sweetthangchocolates.com
    Zone 8a/8b

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,311

    Default Re: Hived a swarm 4 days ago, questions

    It's also slightly possible that the cluster was another swarm, likely an afterswarm from the same hive. Either way, free bees are......free bees
    Out of curiosity, is/was there any comb built where the dinner-plate sized cluster was hanging out?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Drain, OR
    Posts
    425

    Default Re: Hived a swarm 4 days ago, questions

    No comb was built. I wondered about the after swarm concept, but I'm not convinced that's what it was. I looked several times at the cluster, trying to find a queen, and one time I did move the bees around a bit to look under them. When I put the nuc down, I left the cover cracked open an inch or so, then went to a meeting. Later about half the bees seemed to have moved into the few old combs in the nuc, and the rest stayed. Since the rest weren't marching or migrating right in, I figured no queen in the nuc. With the population finally thinner, they were one layer deep, and I couldn't spot a queen there... So I don't think so, but I was surprised they stuck around that long (almost a week) after I took the bulk of the bees home. I guess it might indicate there isn't another colony within a certain radius?
    A backyard hobbyist, keeping hives since '09. ~ http://www.sweetthangchocolates.com
    Zone 8a/8b

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    603

    Default Re: Hived a swarm 4 days ago, questions

    I picked up a 4 pound swarm at a lady's house, waited until dark and took them home. The next day she called me because there were more bees in her tree, picked up that 2 pound swarm at dusk and took them home. Third day another swarm, same tree, higher up, took them home. The fourth swarm was about the size of a small apple, same tree, took them home at dusk. free bees

    I must say though that the fourth swarm was so weak I ended up shaking it out on the ground in front of the other hives in my apiary. The queens from the second and third swarm got open mated successfully and both of those hives are doing well.
    Zone 5a @ 4700 ft. High Desert
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,311

    Default Re: Hived a swarm 4 days ago, questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Capricorn View Post
    <snip> I was surprised they stuck around that long (almost a week) after I took the bulk of the bees home. I guess it might indicate there isn't another colony within a certain radius?
    That's actually why I asked about the comb. A "true" swarm (i.e. has a queen) will virtually never stay in 1 place for more than 3 days without starting to build comb; however, a queenless colony will virtually never move away from wherever they last had a queen. That said, I'm guessing that the dinner plate sized cluster was likely a large quantity of scouts that had been out when you took away the nuc with the rest of the swarm, including their queen.
    Either way, congrats on the free bees Always nice when the bees come to you WITHOUT having to place an order!

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