Hi, I'm new to the forum, so this may not be the right place to raise this, but I was looking for some advice.
I collected a swarm three days ago - the swarm started around 4.30 pm, settled in a shrub in a nearby park. This is the end of our flowering season (Australia, just going into Autumn, so its very odd. I thought that the small hive beetle might have got to them. It is, I expect, from a feral colony). Since I didn't have a box prepared, I collected the swarm in a large cardboard container, put two frames with foundation into it, and thought I'd box it up the following day. It was a large swarm. The next day (actually, Wednesday), I emptied it into an eight frame box. All seemed well, until today (Friday). I observed that flying bees were not bringing pollen back in. They hadn't previously either. Late this afternoon, I noticed bees wax powder at the entrance, about a cup full, I thought usually a sign of robbing, but there would be nothing to rob. I am reluctant to open for a couple of days more.
Any suggestions about what to do would be greatly appreciated
Did you see the queen inside the box? Sometimes the queen not there that you may of miss while catching
the bees. If there is no queen then they will not bring in pollen since they're not raising any new bees. Also, some queen bees will shut down brood rearing in the Fall. Mine shut down around mid October when it gets chilly at night time. A healthy new swarm should be building up even into the Fall when pollen and nectar is available. Is it early or late Fall in your area? And what is blooming right now for them? There should be some flowers left for them to raise some new bees. If not then they might not have enough bees to go until next Spring. This situation reminds me of last Fall. Are they the Carniolan type bees too?
What have the conditions been like this past summer and fall? Plentiful forage, dearth, or in between? Late swarms after/during a dearth can be desperate refugees - starving or diseased.
We've had lots of rain, and recent severe flooding (bridges and roads cut - the mid north coast of new south wales. Very high humidity). I fear the queen did not survive my capturing the swarm. And I also fear that the swarm itself camee from a feral colony beset with disiease or small hive beetle. It has been many years since I kept bees, but I retained several boxes, frames, and the necessary tools. They are italian bees, though with a number of black bodies examples. There is still some gardens flowering around, but not a lot. Its early fall with some deciduous leaves just starting to get the hint of colour.
Originally Posted by David LaFerney
I'll wait for several more days before openning the colony and having a look. Thanks very much for the advice and suggestions.
Hi, Arthur. It is a sad scene seeing nature at its destruction. You have to check for a queen bee tomorrow and not wait another day. If there is no queen you will see the edgy jumpy bees. A hive with a queen bee is much more calmer. At this late in the early Fall you will have 3 months before going into Winter. I am not sure but guess at your early Winter seasons. That is not enough time for your bees to build up now. If you rely on the old bees then they will die before the next Spring comes along. All my old bees are dead 2 months before the real Spring hits. You need to have at least 2 more young broods hatched before going into this Winter. If not then this hive may have little chance to survive into the early Spring.
I would find the queen bee if I have 20% chance to suspect that there is no queen inside. If there is no queen then you may have laying worker bees later on. The more you wait then the more chance you will have issues developing later on. Better take care of them now. This is part of hive management to either combine this hive or give them a new queen bee. Many people do not do Fall management that also involve looking for the queen bee. When Spring comes they wonder why so many bees are dead and did not make it thru the Winter. Do not wait any longer to do hive management. If you find the queen bee then FEED, FEED, and FEED some more. You want them to build up as much bees, stores as you can either pollen or honey reserves before going into Winter. Also to make sure everything is in order. Let's hope for the best.