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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana USA
    Posts
    128

    Default My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    I was making my weekly inspections yesterday and I was considering shaking the bees from a small swarm in to my other hives. Her is some background. A friend had this small swarm back in late may, only a frame and a half of bees. I put it in a 5 frame nuc with drawn comb, but could not find a queen. I added two frames of brood several weeks ago and moved all the frames to a 10 frame deep, so I could add a feeder. That did not work at all as my other hives wanted to rob the hive with a feeder on it. It was just like ringing the dinner bell. The brood hatched but it was still a small amount of bees. Last week I saw capped queen cells and yesterday I found a big fat queen. I did not see any eggs or brood yet, so she may not have mated at this point. Logic says these guys will never make it, but we have a flow going, weather is good.....I really want to try. SOOOOOO, I think I should add another frame or two of brood, as my other two hives are really booming. I am tempted to put these guys back in a 5 frame nuc, because I think I have given them too much space. I could rig up a jar feeder, but that may still promote robbing? My other question is about frames. This is a deep nuc and I took 2 deep brood frames from one hive. My other 10 frame hive is all mediums. As a temporary solution, could I stick medium frames with brood and stores in the nuc to bolster the population? I realize this may be a waste of time, but I would like to try. Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Oshkosh, Wisconsin
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    I had a small hive with a good queen earlier this year too. I did a newspaper combine and added a few shakes of bees from one of my larger hives. Now it has enough bees to make it and is growing fine. I'm just a 2nd year beek but so far this has worked for my ladies.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Jacksonville, NC
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hautions11 View Post
    Logic says these guys will never make it, but we have a flow going, weather is good.....I really want to try. SOOOOOO, I think I should add another frame or two of brood, as my other two hives are really booming. I am tempted to put these guys back in a 5 frame nuc, because I think I have given them too much space. I could rig up a jar feeder, but that may still promote robbing? My other question is about frames. This is a deep nuc and I took 2 deep brood frames from one hive. My other 10 frame hive is all mediums. As a temporary solution, could I stick medium frames with brood and stores in the nuc to bolster the population? I realize this may be a waste of time, but I would like to try.
    Yeah...I know that logic thing kicking in...But you know what? You are willing to go the distance...and they might just surprise you.
    I would move them, like you are thinking, in a 5 frame nuc. Less space to defend, easier to inspect and observe progress...and there is some "magic" about a nuc starting out.

    That magic, defies our logic sometimes...and boy does it feel good to see them pulling through, an getting stronger.

    Yes, you can sure give them medium frames with brood, even though your nuc is deep. I do it all the time. Just keep an eye on it, and if in time they get stronger, they will build comb downwards...making your medium frame into a deep one. You can always, take that frame and place above a QE in the same nuc, as soon as they cap the majority of the brood. Not a problem.
    As for feeding, if robing is an issue, just feed candy or fondant. It works great and no robbing. If SHB is not a big issue, you can also give them a bit of pollen patty...
    If you insist on sugar syrup, that's fine too but do it in small amounts, in a inverted jar, above the inner cover. Do it in the evening when all flight has stopped and monitor to see what they consume overnight.
    Also, placing a robber screen is helpful.

    Oh, and don't let anybody tell you it's a waste of time...it is not, especially when it comes to your own learning and experience.
    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,712

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    The things you can learn from babysitting a nuc is priceless.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,171

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    you have a good flow going in Terre Haute? ? We are hitting a dearth just across the border, saw bees sucking fruit in a trash can and I put out a 1 gal community feeder and it was gone in 15 min.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana USA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    Craig, it is still pretty good, but I think it is local to my area. Lots of clover, phlox, rose of sharon bushes and comb flowers. There is an odd tree that has a feathery flower that the bees are all over. Hosta are like weeds around here and they bloom for the next month. Bees flying like crazy yesterday.

    Rose of sharon 8-10 of these in yards around here about 20' high


    Feathery tree, who knows


    Hosta even grows wild in our woods
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Hautions11; 07-08-2013 at 03:23 PM. Reason: added captions

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana USA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    Hey Craig, I hear people mention a Fall flow. Since it is my first year, do we get one around here?

    No clover in Ill? I have 4-5 acres around me that is mowed but real long like 8-10", and it is full of clover. Cleveland told me the flow is over by the 4th of July. We are there. I am hoping to get 2-3 more weeks out of it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,171

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    My bees forage mostly ag area and wooded areas only clover is the little bit in yrds and roadsides, but the county and neighbors keeps them mowed well, my Rose of Sharron bushes are just now budding, another week or two and they should open...... weird how it's that much different just 30 min away.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lower Lake, California, USA
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    Feathery tree looks like a mimosa. My bees love it and the tree flowers all summer long.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hautions11 View Post
    Hey Craig, I hear people mention a Fall flow. Since it is my first year, do we get one around here?
    I think you guys have a pretty good goldenrod flow in the fall. Most people don't like Goldenrod honey so they give it all to the bees for winter food, but I think it's one of the best honeys out there.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana USA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    Yea Craig, ours opened Sat. Most of them are old so they are REALLY huge. This one has to be 25' tall and 30' diameter.






    Everybody in my neighborhood has 4-5 acres. Not too many real manicured, so the clover is big. Nobull, I have a flower picture, i'll post it later

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana USA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    mimiso tree.jpg


    Nobull, I just googled it. Good catch. It just opened here and will bloom another month+

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Lower Lake, California, USA
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    I thought it looked familiar! I think they came from Africa and are related to acacias. They don't have as much pollen but out here in California they flower for four or five months.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dallas, GA
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    Hautions11, I recovered a grapefruit sized swarm last year in September here in Georgia. It had been there for a few days and never left so I figured I'd see what would happen (was in my back yard). I threw them into a 10 frame medium not thinking they had a chance in H.E. double hockey sticks, but low and behold, not only did they make it through the winter, but they are the best hive I have this year as far as honey making goes. Pretty sure I added 2-3 medium frames of brood in the following few weeks, but that was all it took I guess. Just have fun with it, and worst case, you learned something about what not to do.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Palm Beach County, FL
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    Hey! I had a very similar situation to yours. I went out and retrieved a swarm that was about the size of a grapefruit. They had a queen when I caught them, but they must have disapproved of her (or I was a clutz and and injured her).

    I put them into a 5 frame Deep nuc. A week later and no sign of eggs, no sighting of the queen. I gave them a frame of brood for queen rearing since I noticed on the following week that they were trying to build queen cells on top of pollen cells. Right away they set up supercedure queen cells. However, the queens from the first round were no good and all died somehow. Two emerged, duked it out, and then chewed through the sides of the rest of the cells. The winner must have been injured or eaten by birds on her maiden flight.

    So round two I added more brood to them. Again, right away they made supercedure cells. I didn't inspect at all so that there was no chance of spooking the virgin queen or accidentally rolling her. Two weeks later I saw the workers drag out a rather large bee (I had the nuc on my patio, with a chair next to it to hang out in the mornings/afternoons with them). Upon inspection it was a virgin queen that was in the process of dying. She exhibited problems with motor control (fast twitching of the smallest bits of her legs), so I figured that there was a good chance she had been stung to death by another queen. I waited another week, and sure enough, there was a husky, mated queen scurrying around peering into cells

    For a swarm that small, I really don't recommend keeping them in a 10 frame. That's just asking for robbing, pest problems, and temperature/moisture issues. That's just way too much space for such a small number of bees to effectively control. You're better off downsizing them into a 5 frame nuc. That way there's less stress on them from hive A/C maintenance and pests. Don't give up on them! It took me a total of 6 weeks to help them get queenright. Now? They're INCREDIBLY beefy in only a short amount of time. I think they're going to be a match for my strongest hive in not too long. Good luck!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana USA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    Thanks for all the encouragement! I know this group had a queen when I caught them, as I shook them in the box and the balance of the bees came out of the tree in to the box. After a week I could never find the queen. Since it was a small swarm, it might have had a virgin queen up front. I am going to try to save them, but my winters are definately tough on bees.I will give them two medium frames of brood to get their #'s up right away. Wish me luck and thanks again for the info.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana USA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    I have one more thought. I read that un mated queens need to be left alone. I am 8-10 days from the queen emerging. Should I wait to add some frames with brood? Give me some thoughts.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,171

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hautions11 View Post
    Thanks for all the encouragement! I know this group had a queen when I caught them, as I shook them in the box and the balance of the bees came out of the tree in to the box. After a week I could never find the queen. Since it was a small swarm, it might have had a virgin queen up front. I am going to try to save them, but my winters are definately tough on bees.I will give them two medium frames of brood to get their #'s up right away. Wish me luck and thanks again for the info.

    You saw Cleveland's bees, that is who I got my 8 frame med overwintered nuc from and it exploded Untill I accidently rolled the queen and then the replacement got lost on her maiden flight. They are up to 4 boxes now and doing quite well. You should have no problem overwintering a nuc, just check them late winter/early spring and feed sugar/pollen if you need to, Cleveland would be able to answer the timing better on it, He said he plans to overwinter ALOT more this yr.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana USA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    I added two frames of honey, pollen and brood. I left the bees on the frames. I saw the queen again. I also went back to a 5 frame Nuc. The box is pretty full and I will wait 2 weeks to inspect? I can't stand it. More later. It was late by the way and bees were REAL mad. 2 stings on my neck, front zipper not all the way up. Ugh.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Terre Haute, Indiana USA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: My Small Swarm Has a Queen!

    Hey my Nuc is showing some real signs of life. A few bees are flying today, and they are all bringing back pollen. I am really going to try to stay out of the hive for a week or so, in case the queen is not mated yet. I have been nursing this swarm for two months, but this is the most optimistic I have been so far. Making a queen from scratch etc is pretty cool!

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