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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Posts
    7

    Question Sept. Hive Swarm, Caught It: Now What? from a Newbie!

    New beekeeper here. Installed two nucs on May 26. Everything has gone well throughout the summer. I was assured not to worry about swarming this year. Obviously, that was the wrong advice.

    Yesterday, one of my two hives swarmed. I saw it, swarm landed on cypress tree about 10 feet away. I grabbed 5-frame medium nuc, shook swarm into nuc.

    An hour later, I added the rest of a Brushy Mtn. 2-story medium nuc (had to assemble it) so that I now have the swarm hived in a 3-story medium nuc. The bees have already started to occupy the second 5-frame box. I have a combination of Rite-Cell foundation frames and a couple of foundationless frames in the boxes. No drawn comb on the frames. I added a container of sugar-water in the third medium box, sitting on top of the inner cover. With the outer cover on top of the feeder box. I've ordered a new hive from Legacy Apiaries, where I bought my original two hives. That should be here by Friday or next Monday at the latest.

    24 hours later, the swarm hive seems happy. The original hive is as busy as ever.

    The original hive that swarmed consists of 3 medium boxes and a feeder box on top of that. Based on a quick-peak inside the third box, it's still full of bees, so presumably the original brood box and the second box are also still fully-occupied. Presumably, there are also queen cells ready to emerge there. I'm concerned about a second swarm from this hive, because it must be REALLY strong. Haven't had time to open the original swarm hive, since all this happened yesterday and I had to return to work today (2 hours away from my beeyard at my family's farm).

    I'm concerned about what to do about this original hive. I know the hive is making a queen. But I don't want to have it swarm again. What do I do when I inspect this weekend? Do I remove all queen cells except one? Move queen cells to a new nuc and try to create a split myself?

    FWIW, it's possible my other hive swarmed in late July. Numbers dropped significantly for a while and it's now started to build back up. But that one is still just occupying 2 medium boxes, in contrast to the hive that swarmed yesterday.

    I'm in northwest Alabama where we still have 2 months of decently warm weather and potentially even more, depending on the unpredictable weather. It's not uncommon to have 70s on a regular basis in November and December, but it can also drop to 40s daytime unexpectedly, by late November.

    My bees are on my family farm and we have lots of food sources, including a new planting of buckwheat that's going to flower in late September.

    Any advice and guidance is welcomed.

    Sheree

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    838

    Default Re: Sept. Hive Swarm, Caught It: Now What? from a Newbie!

    If your only opportunity to get into that hive is this weekend I wouldn't do anything!!! I wouldn't open them up, or add anything. I'd leave them alone. If you could have gotten into them the same day they swarmed then you could have split them up at least to have an opportunity to get a good queen mated and all, but it's too late for that. Once a queen cell is capped it's very fragile. If you even bump the frame you run a risk of killing her. I'd let them go and put up a swarm box if you're concerned about an after swarm. My guess is you probably won't have them. I would inspect that hive in one month to see if you have a laying queen. If you'd like you can add a box to them if you have foundation or whatever to give them the feel of being lower on the qty. of bees, but that's all I'd do. If you want to try to very carefully add a box this weekend you can try, but I'd stress VERY CAREFULLY. Again if you bump the hive, or if a box sticks and bumps down you run a great risk.

    Reference this calendar. . . http://www.thebeeyard.org/queen-rearing-calendar/ and put in a date of about a week ago as a "graft date". You want to have a date that has the q-cells either capped the day of the swarm or in my experience the day after the swarm. Then I'd let them go until I'd be checking for capped brood. You may have a laying queen before that, but it doesn't do any good for the young queen's development for you to "check on her". You checking may very well set her back and to a degree that she may not turn out even though she may be mated etc. If you leave the hive alone until you can see capped brood then she'll be running.

    Regarding your swarm. . . I'd get a frame from your other hive (minus bees) of eggs and brood of all stages and put that right in the middle. A swarm will often replace a perfectly good queen because of the lack of a certain age of bees and presumably they blame it on the queen. By giving them this frame you'll fill that gap and then they'll only replace the queen if they need to.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    838

    Default Re: Sept. Hive Swarm, Caught It: Now What? from a Newbie!

    Hopefully this will work. . . http://www.thebeeyard.org/cgi-bin/qu...y=28&year=2013

    I'd personally wait to inspect the original hive until the first week of October. (depending upon weather etc) you can tell a lot from the entrance. If things seem like "another day" then things most likely are fine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Sept. Hive Swarm, Caught It: Now What? from a Newbie!

    Thanks so much, Delbar. It's helpful to know that doing nothing at this point is safer than trying to meddle. One of my goals as a beekeeper is to stay out of the way as much as possible, so that I don't disrupt the hive any more than absolutely necessary.

    Edited: Looks like you set up the calendar for me. Thanks so much. Makes sense.

    Sheree

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Sept. Hive Swarm, Caught It: Now What? from a Newbie!

    what state are you in... can make all the difference in the advice you receive...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Sept. Hive Swarm, Caught It: Now What? from a Newbie!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheree View Post

    I'm in northwest Alabama where we still have 2 months of decently warm weather and potentially even more, depending on the unpredictable weather. It's not uncommon to have 70s on a regular basis in November and December, but it can also drop to 40s daytime unexpectedly, by late November.

    My bees are on my family farm and we have lots of food sources, including a new planting of buckwheat that's going to flower in late September.

    Any advice and guidance is welcomed.

    Sheree

    CaBees: I'm in northwest Alabama.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Sept. Hive Swarm, Caught It: Now What? from a Newbie!

    Northwest Alabama.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Sept. Hive Swarm, Caught It: Now What? from a Newbie!

    thanks Sheree... I missed that scanning thru too fast and I think you have good advice. Finger's crossed any new queens have time to mate!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Sept. Hive Swarm, Caught It: Now What? from a Newbie!

    Thanks, CaBees. I'm hoping for the best.

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