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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Williamsburg, va
    Posts
    56

    Default Late Swarm - need advice

    I'm a first year beekeeper, with two hives. One was doing well, but I didn't realize how well. The one hive swarmed today. I captured the swarm and put them in a new hive I quickly put together. My question is - now what? At this date is it OK for me (in Williamsburg, VA) to go ahead with both hives? Is it "too late"? Should I feed sugar to both hives (swarm and source hive)? Also, I only had two extra frames, which I put in the hive. I'll be trying to get more this weekend. I'm using all medium, eight frame hives. Any other general advice.

    I didn't notice queen cells on the hive, but had not checked the bottom box in a few weeks. My fault, but I really didn't expect it starting from package bees put in place on June 1st...

    Thanks all. Don

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    870

    Default Re: Late Swarm - need advice

    I would feed the swarm like crazy. I am not too far south from you and I had a swarm last year a little later than this. They are the strongest hive that I have this year!

    I would not feed the parent hive, and if it were earlier I would take all of the "extra" queen cells except for two and make splits....but I think it is too late for that now....so I would let the parent hive re-queen itself and watch it closely and if the new queen does not get going good right on time (around 3 weeks after swarm) I would then combine the swarm back with the parent hive with newspaper.

    Might not be a popular plan, but that is exactly what I would do if I were in your shoes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Williamsburg, va
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Late Swarm - need advice

    Why not feed the parent hive?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    870

    Default Re: Late Swarm - need advice

    The reason I would not feed the parent hive is they likely were cramped which drove them to a late swarm.

    Also if they do not have a queen...then no young brood to feed...means they will pack the stores that are available away for the next three weeks. It has been said that if they have a good flow, a strong hive could produce "up" to 100 lbs of honey while re-queening...not sure I buy it but I have heard it said!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    1,247

    Default Re: Late Swarm - need advice

    By all means feed the swarm. The thing to remember is this. Providing you were not feeding the parent hive before the swarm, Bees will as a general rule not swarm if there is not a flow in progress regardless how crowded they get. Kind of mother natures way of ensuring a viable chance for survival. So the swarming in and of it's self would indicate a flow is in progress in your area. With that in mind, the original hive should be able to supply stores even with their diminished work force. However, keep a close eye on them. Because if the stores which have been pilfered by the swarming bees diminish too greatly before the queen kicks in then they could be in trouble come cold weather with no stores to rise brood. Due to the fact that the swarm took a great deal of the work force to gather supplies, they may not have ample forager to do much backfilling.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Late Swarm - need advice

    From what I've seen with swarms, I'd feed both. I had several get away from me this spring (DOH!) and the little boogers nearly drained the reserves of the parent hive on the way out the door. I even had one swarm (not mine) that I went and caught. I brought them home and put on a feeder. They drained it and absconded. Seems to me, in preparations for swarming, the swarming bees will take as much as they can with them. And t makes sense.

    Upon arriving at a new location, they need to set up show FAST! So they need a lot of resources to do that. You'll notice that in the first week or so your swarm will build a lot of comb, as much as they can based on resources, so the queen can start laying. Better get some more frames in there too, or they'll pull natural combs from the inner cover than you think possible.

    The best answer (IMHO) as to whether or not to feed the parent hive is to do an inspection. If you find a bunch of cleaned out honey stores (courtesy of the swarm) then yes, FEED! However, if you find their stores pretty full, possibly dangerously full bordering on honey bound, then don't feed. As long as you don't get them honeybound, I don't really see too much harm in feeding both. Best of luck!
    After 20 months I'm over a 20 hives and growing. See my videos! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8fVrmUsyYlRuASdX6UQk1g

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