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  1. #1
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    Default We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    My bud and I retrieved our first swarm from near his hives this evening.
    Its fairly small and was placed into a 10 frame deep with foundation for tonight and a screen over the opening for ventilation.

    We are thinking these bees won't survive the winter but are going to give them a chance by placing them into a Nuc.
    I brought them home, reversed the inner cover and placed some honey on it that came from his hives till I can start them on syrup.

    Am planning to put them into half of a divided 10 frame deep tomorrow morning that has a nuc already started in the other half. It consists of two boxes of 4 frames each on that side

    My friend has 6 medium and 4 shallow frames of capped honey that he kept in the freezer as a resource if needed.
    Even though it's a deep Nuc, I'm going to place some of the medium frames of capped honey into it and maybe some empty deep frames of drawn comb.

    Any suggestions?
    Last edited by Allen; 09-27-2012 at 09:47 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Big Stone Gap, VA
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    977

    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen View Post
    Any suggestions?
    Sounds like you have a good plan. The one thing I would add is some pollen patties. Since this is a small colony, they will need numbers. If you have it to spare, a frame of brood would be a huge boost.

    Shane

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    they won't get to draw much if any comb, so hopefully you have some. capped brood would be perfect, a frame a week for 2-3 weeks.

    edit: sorry read your post too fast. comb, i would say capped brood, and honey. probably a long shot but fun to try.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #4
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    I always read about how swarms seem to be focused on building up their new colony so thats why we are going to try.

    Oh yeah, forgot about brood. I can spare some from the other 5 hives.
    If I would have had my Nucs started last spring I could have used them as support.

    Since the swarm is going to be given so much capped honey, what syrup ratio should I feed them?
    If 1-1, wouldn't that stimulate drawing some comb?
    Those medium frames going in the deep boxes might get some comb drawn underneath it and hope they don't attach it to the bottom board.

    My friend has been getting ready for a wedding and hasn't had much time to take check his hives.
    I may go through them this weekend to try and figure out which one swarmed.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    i'm a good bit south of you, and my bees haven't drawn any new comb for weeks. i think it has to be warm, and they would need perceive the need for more comb ahead of or during a strong flow. the bees are gearing up for winter now, and are adjusting their population and stores in anticipation having to survive a long cold spell with no forage. feeding might confuse them on that. plus, syrup is not as nutritious as honey, and i would think it would be better to be on the best diet possible right now. these next rounds of brood have to be very long-lived bees. when do you get your first frost up there?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  6. #6
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    Not sure on first frost but I think it'll be November.
    I have a Nuc that started in early August and they are still drawing comb.
    We have lots of goldenrod still blooming so maybe they can bring some pollen in on their own.

    Here is a blurry photo of the tiny cluster. It was getting dark when it was taken.


  7. #7
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    yeah, it will be a fun challenge to build them up and get them through winter. if they make it, i would say they are some hearty bees. i caught a small one a month or so ago, and added resources from other hives, it's really strong now.

    i let one go last week, i just didn't want to rob any more from my other hives.

    i've gone through 8 out of 12 so far, and they all have lots of eggs and a very robust brood pattern, no evidence of swarming.

    i'm wondering if these small swarms are issued as part of a supercedure.

    any thoughts wcubed?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #8
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    Well, the deed is done and they are mad!
    Found the queen.
    Moved the swarm into the other half of the 10 frame split box.
    I stole a frame of brood and pollen from our strongest hive and had to go to the bottom super to get it.
    Hope I didn't weaken them too much. I put a frame of empty comb in its place.
    In the nuc I added an additional frame of drawn but empty comb and the rest of the frames are capped honey.

    I switched bottom boards so both nucs have a small entrance in the front outside corners.
    The bottom board that came with the split deep had entrances on either opposite sides and too much water gets in when it rains.
    With the new bottom board the double nuc can be tilted forward a bit.

    Not sure how I'm going to fix the water issue for next spring. Maybe put a small screened opening in the bottom near the front for water drainage
    Last edited by Allen; 09-28-2012 at 12:06 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    3,429

    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    Something to consider. Have your friend keep an eye on the colony that cast this swarm. If his new virgin queen does not get properly mated he may need that queen back at some point later this Fall. Of course, that depends upon how good of a friend he is....
    To everything there is a season....

  10. #10
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    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    That's a typical size for a superseded queen and her loyal supporters. Playing second fiddle, and relegated to her own small area of comb, she bails out.

    The above comments do not put enough emphasis on fall protein needs. This little group either needs foragers to collect pollen or have their protein provided. Fall foraging in all colonies concentrates on pollen for the fattening-up process, needed by the young bees for wintering.

    Walt

  11. #11
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    many thanks walt. i just finished fall inspections for all of the hives, and all of them looked like they have had a laying queen (or two) for weeks. nothing like with the reproduction swarms in the spring. i know that at least two of my strong hives kicked out a mini-swarm this fall, and there may have been others that i didn't see. looks like these bees think it's a good idea to requeen themselves in the fall.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  12. #12
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    Well now I know what a hive looks like that has been robbed out.
    While I was away yesterday all the honey given to this swarm was taken.
    Even with a reduced entrance it still happened.

    Not sure if I should feed syrup and a pollen patty at this point or just write them off.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    if it was so weak that it got robbed like that, my thought is that you would have to locate away from the stronger hives.

    if it has a superceded queen as walt suggests, she may be failing for some reason.

    walt's point about supplementing protein is part of what i was getting at about the nutritional aspects of feeding syrup. the other part is that some think the bees are more vunerable to disease with syrup feeding.

    since i have enough strong hives, i would not want to take any resources away to help this one.

    i might consider making it into an observation hive, or keeping it in a warm enough place so that i could feed it as needed.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  14. #14
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    How far away should I relocate it?
    I don't have any other Nuc boxes besides the double it is already in.
    Could try to make up a Nuc from the Coates plans and see what happens.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    i would try to get it at least a mile or two away from any strong hives, including feral, hard to know for sure. i was lucky in relocating a hive like that the one time i tried it.

    i keep five nucs last winter in 10 frame boxes, i used a dummy divider board to narrow the space down, and filled that space with crumpled newspaper for insulation and moisture absorbtion. all five made it really good.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  16. #16
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    Should I stay with deeps
    I have a couple of 10 frame mediums that could be used with a divider board?



    Just called another friend who has a panel saw and nail gun.
    We're going to make a Coates 2 story Nuc and I'm moving them to one of my new bee yards.
    We will see what happens.
    Last edited by Allen; 09-30-2012 at 08:49 AM. Reason: Update

  17. #17

    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    Whatever you choose to do, do not feed them honey! This time of year the smell of uncapped honey is an irresistible invitation to the neighborhood bees. Adding a frame of capped honey would be much preferable. If they need to be fed, sugar syrup, fed inside the hive/nuc offers the best chance to avoid a brawl.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  18. #18
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    A small amount of honey was given the first night and was gone by morning.
    Capped honey was given the next day.
    All sugar syrup feeding was done with mason jars on top inside a deep super.

    We have three 5 frame Nuc boxes made up with 1" boards and modified the Coates plans slightly to compensate.
    It's nice when you have all the right equipment.



    I set up cement blocks at the new location for the Nuc and what did I see in the fence row behind where they are going?
    Honeybees working the flowers...

    I closed off their bottom entrance with hardware cloth tonight and gave them 2 quarts of sugar syrup.

    Tomorrow in the morning, how cold can it be and still not hurt the brood frame?
    I'd like to move them as early as possible.

    After the move, should I keep them closed in for a day or so while giving them sugar syrup?
    Or should I just open them up with a branch across the entrance?

  19. #19
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    >After the move, should I keep them closed in for a day or so while giving them sugar syrup?
    Or should I just open them up with a branch across the entrance?

    i would want them to be able to take cleansing flights and bring in as much natural forage as possible while they still can.

    >Tomorrow in the morning, how cold can it be and still not hurt the brood frame?

    not sure what you are talking about.

    btw, it would be better to try and let them fill that comb with natural forage. don't let them fill all of the comb, they need some for clustering when it gets colder. i would not use anything scented in the syrup, and i would add 1000mg crushed vitamin c to the syrup.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  20. #20
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    Oct 2011
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    Robesonia, Pa., USofA
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    Default Re: We just got a swarm. Have some ?'s

    I had given them a frame of brood.
    How cold is too cold to go in and remove the brood from one box and place it in the new box?
    Last edited by Allen; 09-30-2012 at 07:33 PM.

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