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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,073

    Default Bee Swarm found on ground after cold night. Brought Back to Life!

    Last weekend I found a pile of dead bees on the ground and some were still on the branch after a 39 deg night. All were motionless. Relocated them to a 5 frame observation nuc I had made. Foundationless frames and one that was 1/2 comb already completed with a few dead brood and some pollen left in. Brought them inside and 90% plus the queen came back to life (I know they weren't really dead, but almost dead).

    Have not let them outside, I am worried they will be robbed and killed or abscond.

    Feeding 2:1 with a little pollen sub mixed in. Some are taking the feed and putting it in the comb. No new comb building. Most of the bees are clumped on the comb 2 or 3 bees thick like a swarm. Are they stuck in swarm mode?

    I think they should be doing more like making comb, brood, cleaning comb...

    How long can I keep them like this? Can I put them in a cool garage until spring?


    On the other side of this, that would mean one of my hives is queenless? or virgin or queen cell ready to hatch? I have not seen drones in a few months, will she stay a virgin until spring? Will the hive have enough bees to make it till spring?

    I though about putting the queen in a cage and taking her to each hive and see what their reaction is. Which hives want to kill her or tend to her. Any ideas?
    (I did this to a hive that was queenless (and failed to make a queen several times) put the queen at the front door and they started tending to her, opened the cage and let her walk in, the hive had brood a week later)

    My guess is most will say pinch the queen and combine, and I might end up doing that, just looking for other options.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Eldersburg, MD, USA
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: Bee Swarm found on ground after cold night. Brought Back to Life!

    Congratulations on saving the swarm. Are you sure it's a swarm and not an absconded hive? I just can't picture a swarm happening right now in those temps. Mind you, I am NOT an expert. Maybe rather than pinching the queen, you should go through the hives, identify each hive as queenright and then pinch her? If any hive is queenless, add her to it. Or keep the nuc as is; I've read about hives being overwintered in cellars/basements, especially in very cold areas. It's certainly possible if the set-up is correct.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,073

    Default Re: Bee Swarm found on ground after cold night. Brought Back to Life!

    Thanks for the reply, I am not sure if it's a swarm or an absconded hive? I am guessing a swarm because I found it in a tree in next to my hives.

    Right now all the bees are very robberish, if I even open a hive more the 20 seconds I get robber scouts that increase every second and start to make a cloud. Kind of hard to do an inspection. I will check the queen right status as I mention above, with the queen in cage and put her at entrances of my hives and see reaction. If I find a hive that tends her I will inspect it early in the morning.

    And if all act queen right I might try to winter inside with an observation hive, with a tube running outside.

    I now have two very small hives, one of my traps from 10 miles away had a very small group of bees and queen, even smaller maybe 1/4 of a deep frame.

    Timing is everything! It was just about 2 months ago I needed a few queens (for a queenless trap and the other for a split that failed severtimes to make a queen) (I ended up combing both plus a small cutout and queen and they are now almost 2 deep with laying queen.)

    It's like someone said about eqipment you either have too much and not enough bees or not enough and too many bees. Two months ago I did not have enough queens now I have too many.
    Last edited by FlowerPlanter; 10-15-2012 at 02:09 PM.

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