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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Verhalen, Texas
    Posts
    5

    Default Desert West Texas....captured a swarm....hived them....now what?

    Hello. I live in west Texas south of Pecos, Texas on a small farm. Retired, old,and worthless....have SS Disability and saltwater disposal well income.....about $7,000/month. Own my 20 acre farm.

    I had a wild swarm of honey bees take up residence in a big careless weed next to my Emu's water trough. They appeared to be starving and
    out of energy, so I bought them a deep nuc 5 frame hive to be delivered by FedEx....but before it arrived I found an old man who had kept bees
    and still had bee boxes (8 frame mediums). He sold me a box with frames and foundations which I cleaned with a wire brush and my pocket knife.

    Then I painted the outside of the box white and after dark I put a pint of store bought honey in the foundations, then cut the stem of the
    careless weed and after taking out two frames, shook the bees off into the box, then replaced the frames and put the top on.

    The next morning I put a chicken waterer with sugar water on top of the box with those flat glass marbles in the watering trough so the bees could stand and drink without drowning. Then I put more honey out on plastic lids for them to feed on. They went through a half gallon of sugar water
    and about two pints of store bought honey. They are very active now and seem to be settling into the box I prepared for them.

    Did I do right to rescue them? I worked them without a smoker, a suit, or gloves....and got zero stings.

    WestTexasLawrence


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Bells, Texas
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Desert West Texas....captured a swarm....hived them....now what?

    Wow, sounds like you are pretty well informed or have had some experience. You probably didn't get stings because there was no reason for them to sting you. They really weren't protecting anything. Congratulations on giving them a chance!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Verhalen, Texas
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Desert West Texas....captured a swarm....hived them....now what?

    No, no previous experience. I just read fast and learn fast. I looked at a short video of a guy moving his bees and just did what he
    did in the video....the used bee box helped immensely because it already had the foundations in the frames.....and cleaning it up didn't take long. I think the fact it had had bees in it before added to this swarm's settling down so quickly.

    But I'm just winging it...with no prior experience....just doing what I can for them so they won't die. They act like they appreciate it and seem to recognize me when I go check on them. Is it possible they recognize me by sight and smell?

    WestTexasLawrence

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,996

    Default Re: Desert West Texas....captured a swarm....hived them....now what?

    Welcome Lawrence and congratulations!
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Verhalen, Texas
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Desert West Texas....captured a swarm....hived them....now what?

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericasBeekeeper View Post
    Welcome Lawrence and congratulations!
    Thank you. Since I am very new at this, would someone tell me if my reasoning was sound when I started feeding this starving swarm when
    I hived them store bought honey? My thinking was that since the store bought honey was already digested by bees, it might contain
    helpful enzymes and antibodies besides the digested nutrients they need to recover their health. Was that right?

    I've been feeding them 2 days and I just checked them. Their thoraxes are no longer shrunken...they are tight and shiney...they SEEM to be doing
    a lot better. Very much more active than they were before I hived them.

    So, I'm here to pick your brains and get advice on how to proceed from those who have been there, done that.

    WestTexasLawrence


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Verhalen, Texas
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Desert West Texas....captured a swarm....hived them....now what?

    It has now been 5 weeks since I captured and hived that starving swarm. I've been feeding them sugar water and store bought honey
    every day since and was worried I didn't see any obvious evidence they were raising brood in the two story brood box I provided them.....but recently I noticed many bees entering the brood box with yellow saddlebags of pollen on their legs....so that tells me
    they are feeding the queen and she is laying eggs in the brooder....which means little honey bees are being produced and they are storing honey in the brood box for the coming winter.

    I will continue feeding them right through the winter. I plan to move the hive into a three sided carport with the south end open to
    block the cold winter winds off them and hopefully require less of their stored honey to maintain the internal temperature of the hive
    this winter.

    So, this is to update everyone on the status of the starving swarm I hived.....they are thriving. They still have not head butted me
    or stung me....I still handle them without a bee suit or smoker.

    WestTexasLawrence

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Desert West Texas....captured a swarm....hived them....now what?

    That is great Lawrence. Might want to get protection and a smoker if you plan on opening up the hive... which I suggest you do. You would want to know if they really do have a queen and she is laying solid brood. Also to see how full the combs are with stores so you can determine if another super is in order. If they have enough stores to live on through the winter I would start tapering off the feeding. They will need about 60-100 pounds of stores and I would recheck in early Jan to see how their coming along.

    Great job!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Desert West Texas....captured a swarm....hived them....now what?

    I was thinking that unless you're feeding the honey inside the hive, it might attract other bees from other hives.

    They had to draw a lot of comb if all you had was frames and foundation. That takes a lot of 1:1 syrup (sugar water). I don't know that the honey helps them much when it comes to building comb. Anyone know?
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: Desert West Texas....captured a swarm....hived them....now what?

    Be sure that your feeders are not attracting many bees from other hives. I believe it is not necessary to feed bees especially in the summer when there are plenty of nectar producing plants around. I like the old books ABC and XYX of Beekeeping or The Hive and the Honey Bee. Bees take in pollen even if they have no queen. Just Google bees etc and you will get almost any question answered in these modern days. Get another hive going just in case you do loose a queen. I suppose that if you are near irrigation or places where neighbors have a lot of flowers it would help greatly. Especially an Alfalfa field. The bees that came there must have been living on something. Good Luck with your new bees aand just don't try your stunt with Killer Bees.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: Desert West Texas....captured a swarm....hived them....now what?

    I strongly believe that the bees do recognize you and do remember somehow you have treated them. Unfortunately I also think some are justified in being pissed off at me like when I tried to find eggs for a queenless hive and inweather around 103 degrees lifted the top bar up and had half of the comb fall on the bottom of the hive. After doing that about five times I just gave up thinking I would just not do it until winter. I also thought of just using regular frames with all four sides and making a horizontal hive box about six foot long rather than stacking boxes vertically.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    St. Petersburg, fl, USA
    Posts
    186

    Default Re: Desert West Texas....captured a swarm....hived them....now what?

    Congratulations and welcome. You should definitely have a veil. Stings aren't bad anywhere except your face. One or two on an eyelid or worse yet in the eye really sucks.
    Using store bought honey has a few risks. You can bring in disease feeding honey from unknown sources plus sugar is cheaper. You definitely need to check your hive. You need to make sure that you have brood (eggs, pupae and larvae) so that you know you have a queen. Feeding in the open can promote robbing by other bees. either put the food some distance from the hive or use some sort of protected feeder. (we use mason jars with a few small holes punched in the lid then turned upside down over a hole in the cover. The bees in the hive can feed and they can guard their hive from robbers. (reduce the size of your entrance to an inch or so that they don't have to guard the whole landing platform. Here in Florida we don't have much winter and our queens pretty much lay all year long except for maybe a couple of weeks in January. If you have any sort of real winter you need to get your hive built up and have plenty of stores in the hiveso that the bees can feed with out leaving the hive and stay in their cluster.
    Talk to your friend that kept bees and let him tell you more. Good luck!

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