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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    El Cerrito, California, USA
    Posts
    71

    Default Package Compared to a Swarm

    Hello Everyone,

    I found a swarm the day after I installed a package of bees. The swarm was about the same size as the package.
    At first the swarm was really active and started bring back pollen right away. I tried to feed them at first but they would not take it.

    Now, one month later the swarm has about 1/4 the activity as the package.
    Everything looks OK inside the hive, but they are building more slowly then the package.
    What can I do to help these bees?


    I checked the swarm for mites and found 10 Varroa mites on the board in a 24 hour period.
    Is this too many?

    Any comments are welcome.
    Many Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Package Compared to a Swarm

    If statistics are to be believed most swarms don't survive... not sure as to why. but thats whats reported.

    Have you checked the queen? I would bet she never took off and started laying, or they may have requeened themselves right away and caused a big lull.

    Look for capped brood, and a laying queen. if you need to you could steal some brood from you r package and add to the swarm hive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,987

    Default Re: Package Compared to a Swarm

    From what I have ssne, A swarm will have a few days it just goes gang busters. will draw comb like mad and fill much fo that comb with the nectar honey pollen or whatever. then they go into a lull. Often in order to supersede their queen. this results in about a 4 week nothing is going on period. then they start up again is they are any good. if not forget it. they can hang on forever as a fist size clump of bees if they want to.

    The only way I see around this is to capture a swarm wait one week. catch the queen and replace her with a mated queen. remove all queen cells if they have been started. wait another week and check for queen cells again. keep this up until the bees give up the idea of supersedure. A mated queen being able to lay for a month could and should have a 5 frame box expanded to 10 fraems minimum and more likely already working on a second box. I have a swarm in a 5 frame box that is a month old. it is still in 5 frames due to the bees superseding their queen right off the bat. brood is just now starting to appear in this hive.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    El Cerrito, California, USA
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Package Compared to a Swarm

    Thanks for the replies.
    I went back in today and found the whole bottom box full of brood, pollen and some capped honey.
    All the bees where packed really tight all over the brood. I think I saw some baby bees too.
    There seems to be more activity at the entrance now.

    I think this hive will be OK.
    Last edited by Bigfish; 05-24-2013 at 10:51 PM. Reason: spelling error

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,594

    Default Re: Package Compared to a Swarm

    I started all my hives last year from swarms. All did real well and built up nicely. I actually was able to collect some honey as well. One hive did go queenless this year... it was a package.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default Re: Package Compared to a Swarm

    I have pretty good luck with swarms although I often see the queen superseded quite quickly. That's assuming an early swarm. If they don't replace the queen and when I don't replace the queen, any colony started from a swarm that looks slow going into the winter gets combined with another colony. I always appreciate the comb that a swarm makes so they're useful overall no matter whether they add to a colony or stay independent on their own.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    DesAllemands, Lousiana
    Posts
    212

    Default Re: Package Compared to a Swarm

    Swarms usually go crazy at first, building up as fast as they can. Then when the queen starts laying in all the open comb the swarm loses some of their workforce to stay and care for the brood. Once the first round of brood hatches they should go back to heavy foraging.

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