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Thread: Old Swarm

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Old Swarm

    I picked up an old swarm yesterday, six months old. The lady of the house told me they were noticed last October! So, no telling how old the swarm really was. The swarm was 30 to 35 foot up in a huge Oak tree and had built 10 combs into a nest larger than a beach ball, about 18 inches or more in Diameter. Anyway, with a 14 foot step ladder on a 3 foot high trailer using a 14 foot pruning saw I cut it down and hived the bees. Don't know if I got the Queen but there were a LOT of bees, I filled 8 frames and discarded a bucket full of broken and empty comb. Captured enough bees to pretty well cover those frames lightly.
    There was one ripe Queen cell so maybe that will give a new Queen. Sure would like to keep the blood line because they are real survivors.
    There were a few, maybe half a dozen SHB there so that may be a problem. It is coming into spring and they shoulg grow into a strong hive able to kick out the beetles.
    Anyway, first swarm for me after 20 years of not keeping bees. I post here as I have only one time before seen bees build a large nest in the open. It has been a mild and somewhat dry winter so that helped them, but even at that, we have had some hard rains.
    Now I have to determine if they have a Queen.
    Anyway, that is my story...
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,489

    Default Re: Old Swarm

    Our local extension agent has the remains of an outdoor hive that a swarm built in a tree a couple years ago. Typically they don't winter here, too cold and wet, but I can see one in south texas doing fine outside.

    Only question I would have: Are they Africanized? Be prepared for very aggressive bees once they have some stores!

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Old Swarm

    Thanks Peter, I will watch for that! In fact they were very tame but they were also under a lot of stress.
    Here are some photos of the bees after they have been hived. Also, I checked on them this afternoon and gave them two small entry s. The chose the top one almost 100%.
    I think the windowed hive is OK since they have lived in the open for at least six months!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/77932428@N05/
    Last edited by julysun; 03-10-2013 at 05:32 PM.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Old Swarm

    I now have a Lang with large windows in each end (would have been better on all 4 sides). Three days ago I captured an old swarm from an Oak tree. They had built 10 one foot square combs and were successfully living in the open. So, I feel that the end windows won't bother them.
    Today they were excitedly doing orientation flights and the excitement was mirrored inside the hive, bees running around like mad. When the flights subsided the internal excitement fell off also. Neat what a window allows.
    A further note, one frame was out of square and was too close to the window. That trapped about six bees. I had to shift the frame away from that end. In my regular hives I wonder if. this is happening. Be square!
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

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