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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Macon, GA
    Posts
    7

    Default Keeping a captured swarm happy

    I believe I have learned that you can't have just one hive. Suddenly my yard has tripled. I started with a nuke in the Fall 2 years ago. Fed them 2:1 over the winter and moved them to a deep in the early Spring and switched to 1:1. Had to add a second deep by June and a super in August. Left them with plenty of honey over this winter and fed 1:1 starting in February. Reversed the hive bodies, found and removed several queen cells and added a couple of supers in March. April 6 they swarmed. I captured the swarm and installed it in a new hive with a couple of frames of uncapped honey and pollen from the old hive, 1 drawn frame and the rest foundation. On the 9th the old hive swarmed again and I caught that swarm. Had to put them in a nuke as I was out of deeps and pulled two more frames out of the original hive. I am feeding both new hives 1:1 and they haven't shown signs of leaving yet.

    The old hive now has 4 frames of foundation, 4 frames of drawn comb 9 deep frames of pollen and uncapped honey, 1 super almost full of uncapped honey and 2 supers with foundation. Not a whole lot of brood however and in the rush to prepare the new hives I didn't have time to look for a queen so I left a couple of queen cells.

    Am I doing the right thing? OR put another way, how many mistakes have I made so far?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,216

    Default Re: Keeping a captured swarm happy

    You don’t want to remove queen cells, that won't stop them from swarming, but it could cause them to be queenless.

    A frame of open brood will ensure the swarm does not leave their new home. From my experience if they did not pick the location they will leave unless you lock them down with brood.

    Are your new hives bringing in pollen? If so you should be ok. If not open them up if they are in a big clump they are still swarming and could leave any time. Get a frame of brood on them and you will see them unclump and get to work. The swarm that has been in the new hive for 4 days might be good to go look for eggs then you know their good (if you see incoming pollen I would not inspect them for a week let them get settled).

    Old Hive - depending on when you remove the queen cells, I would keep an eye on this hive to see if it has capped queen cells and recheck it in 30 days for eggs.

    Search "swarm prevention" also spits can help with this.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Macon, GA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Keeping a captured swarm happy

    There are at least 3 good superseding queen cells in the old hive. Sunday's swarm looks to have settled in nicely and taking sugar. The one that swarmed yesterday is still clustering and not taking sugar. I don't think there was any brood in the frames I added but I am a little reluctant to open the old hive again so soon. I already have the old hive pretty shook up. I will keep an eye on them and pull a frame with brood tomorrow if they haven't settled down.

    BTW, I read that bees condition themselves to build comb before they swarm. Does that go for those that remain too? I have noticed that the bees left in the old hive are building out the new foundation a lot faster than normal.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
    Posts
    1,216

    Default Re: Keeping a captured swarm happy

    3 queen cells are good. Are they capped I would guess they are cause that's usually when the hive swarms. If you’re in the hive again I would remove one and just keep two of the best. (8 days q cell are capped 8 more days when they hatch) The more queen cells you have the better chance of after swarms. Once the queen cells hatch and the virgin is running around I would leave them alone for 3 week so she can mate and start laying. Then inspect the hive, (look for eggs/larva in polished cells the cells will look cleaner than the ones around them and small eggs in the bottom). If you don’t find any sign of a queen then you will need to add a frame of eggs from another hive. I guess that would be your first swarm hive.

    The swarm that is clustered is still a swarm, I would screen the front entrance until you can get some open brood in there (drone brood will work and even a piece of open drone bridge comb). Scouts are searching for a new home during the day, when they find it they are gone. Think of them as still in the tree you caught them out of, you only changed their location.

    You could try to combine them with the first swarm, remove the queen(s) and news paper combine the bees. There are all kind of different way to combine.

    The swarm is a magical comb building machine that will build comb faster that anything. The bees left behind will build at the normal speed if there is a nectar flow (when nectar slow they will too). If there is a good flow and allot of bees they can build fairly quick.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Macon, GA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Keeping a captured swarm happy

    Just checked swarm #2 this morning and it looks to have settled in. Took up about a pint of sugar over night and starting to act more normal. Looks like I will have to build some more deeps and supers soon.

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