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Thread: 9 Pound Swarm

  1. #1
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    Default 9 Pound Swarm

    2013-03-20_17-07-30_357.jpgI got a call at work yesterday about 2 swarms in a local yard. I went over there after work, and found 1 swarm about 3 feet up in an azalea, it touched the ground and bearded out another foot or so. It was as big around as a large coffee can.
    The second swarm was the entry of the original hive 30 foot up in a huge oak, almost overhead. The homeowner said they have been there 3 years, but this is the first swarm he's seen. I shook most of the swarm in a cardboard box, sat it down, cracked the lid, and left it til after dark. It all went perfect except I had ridden to work with my wife, and didnt' have my veil with me. I took a couple to the eyebrow. Its swelled up pretty good, but nothings free, right? The box with swarm weighed 10 pounds full, the box weighed a pound empty. I hived them this morning, on 3 old drawn foundationless frames and 7 empty foundationless. They filled the bottom of a deep 10 frame about four inches up. I'm tempted to add a few more drawn frames, but havent' decided yet. With that many bees, they should fill those empties pretty fast. I feed mason jars through the migratory cover, so they got a quart of 1:1 and a pollen patty. I know the patty is overkill, we've got plenty of pollen right now, but it might help to anchor them til a little brood starts hatching. I'd hate to lose this one.
    My buddy caught one the day before, so I guess our swarm season is officially open.
    Last edited by Blackwater Bees; 03-21-2013 at 01:38 PM. Reason: Added photo

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    NICE!!!!!!
    I finished putting my third bait box out today. I'm guessing a month behind you swarm season wise?? Curious,,,,,leaves out yet there. Azaleas are evergreens. I got one one year that was in an azalea just off the ground. Only thing that had leaves. Swarms like shelter if they can get it.
    Thanks
    Rick

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    Nice indeed. I'm also a little jealous since this is what it is like out my window today.


    0321131633.jpg

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    You live at the beach?

    Ed

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    I've found that often the really large swarms are in fact two swarms that have combined, or multiple queen swarms.

    If you get home and half of them are not in the hive, split them into a seperate hive.

    If you try to put multiple swarms into the same hive they will all abscond.

    Sounds like you did well.

    Good luck. Don

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    Don, I had not thought about that but it makes sense. I wouldn't have thought about it if it had happened to me, now I know what to do if it does...thanks!

    Ed

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    LOL,,,,,I'm A LOT jealous,,,,,,cause of the weather and the swarm
    Rick

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    I caught a 9 pounder last summer and hives them in the last two medium boxes I had. After a week there seemed to be a lot less bees, I suspect multiple queens and part of them left due to being too crowded. I would put them in 2 deeps or 3 mediums. Let them draw comb on new foundation, why waste all that comb building potential?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    Just a curiosity,,,,,ref. HONEY STOMACH,,
    In honeybees, it may contain as much as 75 milligrams (0.003 ounce) of nectar, which can be about one-third the insect’s total weight. So, honey weighing more than nectar, is it reasonable to say, at least three lbs of the swarm was honey? Can they even fly with a full honey stomach. Probably been discussed but couldn't find it.
    Rick

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    Rick, Most of our trees/plants have been at bud break this past week. Lots of oak pollen, pine will be next in a week or so. It was 29 here last night, so they'll probably be stunted back another couple of weeks now. This is probably our normal last freeze we have right at Easter every year, so after next week its flip flops and shorts 'til after Halloween. I'll keep an eye out for a second queen and take precautions on reswarming. They sucked down a pint of syrup yesterday, so I hope they're putting it to use making comb. I want to peek in the hive, but don't want to disturb them til they've set up shop for good.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    Hard to believe that you are only 300 miles south of me. We started warming up, but it has been unseasonably cold most of the spring. Chance of snow Monday morning. It wont be in the 50's after today until next Friday. Maybe in a few weeks we will start having swarms around he. Just as well as I still have a bunch of traps to put up.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    Any idea where the swarm came from? "Wild" or possibly local beek? The parent hive most likely was a monster. (correct tense of the verb WAS ) I had some good advice given to me,,,,,wait till you see pollen coming in. Then I usually wait another week. Pretty good bet they will have brood and won't leave. Still cold here. Bees are active in low forties. Maple still out and the Pear tree flws are swelling. Couple more weeks,,,,maybe an early one. Probably wishful thinking on my part.
    Rick

  13. #13
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    Rick, sounds about the same here.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    I have the Chesapeake Bay West and Patauxent River to my West with the Potomac River West and South. We tend to have a few degrees average higher temps. Washington D.C. will get snow and freezing temps and I get rain and stay above freezing. Might give me a week head start LOL
    Just because I said that, things will be delayed two weeks
    Rick

  15. #15
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    @ Rick, The parent hive was almost directly above the swarm. It was/is in a huge oak limb with the opening facing downward. The homeowner said they had been there 2-3 years, and this was the first swarm he had seen. I asked him to keep an eye/ear out for additional swarms in the area, so I may end up with another from him or one of the local farms. I feel for y'all on the weather, we had a wet, windy weekend in the 40's; but after a couple of days in the 50's, I see some 60's, 70's, and 80's in the forecast. We're all still sunburnt from last weekend in the 80's, so our weather has been a roller coaster ride.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    Just my experience but mine were on average of a week apart from the same hive. Had one swarm three times before I got educated. Sometimes my learning curve jus ain't right LOL They likely will use the same branch to cluster on. The bee smells seem to linger. Yeah,,,,all my bait boxes are covered with snow as we speak. Pauxatany Phil messed this one up around here anyway. I'm not going to listen to rodents predicting weather any more.
    Thanks
    Rick

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    I thought I'd update this thread. On March 30th I checked for eggs/queen, none seen but comb building in full swing, pollen coming in, and sucking down a quart of 1:1 every 2 days. I was on the way to the beach for spring break with the kids, so I dropped in a frame of open brood and eggs for them to get started on a queen. I got back on the April 5th, and there was brood/eggs on every frame, good pattern too. I guess her majesty either wasn't mated yet or she was lazy and needed a little competition to get her started. I checked on them yesterday, and found every frame filled out, and covered in bees. I added a top box of foundationless and moved a couple of frames of brood up and replaced them with foundationless in the bottom brood nest. I know there will come a time when this comb building will slow down, so I can't decide if I want to split them once they fill the second box or if I'll let them build up 3 or four boxes and split next spring.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 9 Pound Swarm

    Sounds like a good candidate for a split.

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