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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Lincoln County, MO
    Posts
    44

    Angry Strange year and now swarms

    Okay this is the situation. We had a swarm arrive late yesterday afternoon. We shook them into a hive body and found a nice large queen. We put in pulled comb frames and added a queen excluder on the bottom so they wouldn't leave. ( We've had 3 swarms just up and leave after a couple of days this year already). This morning we have a dead queen and no bees why would they leave her? Did they kill her? Help! We are having queen problems this year as well. They are laying and then they are just gone. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Lees Summit, MO
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Strange year and now swarms

    I try not to move swarm boxes until after dark - many that I move earlier in the day do leave. A frame of open brood will also usually keep them at home. Do not check on the bees for a week or so to give them time to start rearing brood. Be sure to give the swarm plenty of room.

    Swarm season seems to be slowing down locally. Many small swarms this year. Good luck!
    Ric

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,785

    Default Re: Strange year and now swarms

    I'm sure the dead queen has something to do with the excluder. Can't force them to stay if they don't want to.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Indiana, Clay County
    Posts
    565

    Default Re: Strange year and now swarms

    You call it strange I call it a drought . Nothing is normal in the midwest this year

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Freeport,Pa. USA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Strange year and now swarms

    I always stuff the opening with grass to keep the bees in the box initially...I also move the swarm box very late in the evening....I caught about 12 swarms over the last 3 years and I haven't had one fly off on me yet....Now there I've done it....

    Nanook

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,605

    Default Re: Strange year and now swarms

    I put a syrup feeder on all swarms caught, it helps to keep them in place also. Having a drawn out comb frame helps as well (intead of all foundation or foundationless frames). This in addition to adding frame of older open larva as was mentioned by RickDuck said above.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Strange year and now swarms

    Did you feed the swarm? According to data you are in a drought and your nectar and pollen sources are probably quite limited. Feed em to keep em.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Callaway, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Strange year and now swarms

    This has been a completely whacked swarming year. I had a very small ground swarm in April then a couple of normal swarms came out in early May then a few big ones I captured in Late May which I am sure were not from my hives. After it got hot and really dry the swarms seemed to stop but then the last two weeks I been finding little mini swarms all over the place and even a queen on the ground with about 10 attendants and no other bees two weeks ago. This weekend I went and collected up all my traps because I am out of boxes to hive or nuc these mini swarms and what do I see yet another small swarm has taken up housekeeping in a trap I had in my hayfield that never had a scout be look at before that I know of. Tonight I am making arrangements to go deal with this trap and not ten foot from my truck is another swarm about six foot off the ground, grapefruit sized in a tree.

    All I have left is five frame nuc boxes to put these swarms in until I make more bottom boards and honestly they are too small for full brood boxes anyway. The only feeders I have for the nuc boxes are boardman and if I put one of those on one of my strong hives attacks it mercilessly. The larger hives are really getting tired of me taking a frame of eggs every few days as well.

    I am just going to have to start letting these mini-swarms take care of themselves I guess. Not sure what else to do I am going broke feeding the larger hives from this drought and buying wood for nucs, boxes and bottom boards.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Lincoln County, MO
    Posts
    44

    Default Re: Strange year and now swarms

    Still finding queen cells and mini swarms as well. It's almost like they want to leave because they have no feed in our area. We have had almost 1/2 of our hives lose or leave with their queens. Not sure what is happening this year, but it's been awfully strange.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Callaway, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Strange year and now swarms

    YB - The swarm I caught last night appears to want to leave today they are heavily balled up outside the nuc box I put them in. I really don't have another frame of eggs to steal atm to keep them there either. The swarm trap I mentioned has about 100 bees in it with no queen that I could see so I didn't even bother with them. My guess is maybe you are right and the girls know they are in serious trouble so they are splitting up into small swarms for better survival.

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