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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    56

    Default Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    Hello all.

    A couple weeks ago I came home to a nice football size swarm ball of wild bees in my back yard just camped in my Rose of Sharon trees. I actually built two hive bodies and was going to take some beekeeping classes back in January of this year but luck had it, life happened and I did not go through with it. So I did not start a hive in the beginning if the season when I should have. But now it seems nature might have wanted me to have a second chance. I took my 10 frame Langstroth hive and loaded it with 9 of my foundation less frames. I just have a spline on the top inner portion of the frame that I coated with some bees wax. I cut the branch the ball of bees were on and shook them into the hive. After about 3 days there were no swarm balls outside and these bees were still in my hive. So I put out a couple Bowles of sugar water with wooded floats for an island. (1 part sugar 2 part water by weight) also my entrance reducer is on the smallest setting. I checked on them today and there are two combs started on the back two frames. So I know it is late in the season. I want to know if anyone can estimate on if they think these bees can survive the winter? Oklahoma has had some mild winters recently. Heck last winter my grass in the yard never really turned brown but stayed green most the year. Do you think these bees can fill up two hive bodies? If they do should I add honey supers? If they do not build enough comb and store honey then what is the best way to feed the bees in the winter? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,437

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    I'm not so sure they will make it to be honest. If they were hived with drawn frames they would have a better chance. Feed the bejeezus out of them. They weren't going to make it for sure without your intervention, at least they may have a shot now.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cumberland Va.
    Posts
    670

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    I think you might want to flip the recipe for your sugar water, at least 1-1 if not 2-1 sugar syrup they tell me. Good Luck. G

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,340

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    I would try wintering them in a 5 frame nuc.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    "I think you might want to flip the recipe for your sugar water, at least 1-1 if not 2-1 sugar syrup they tell me. Good Luck. G"


    The reason I did a one to two (sugar to water) ratio because many references point to a thinner syrup will propagate brood rearing. I thought I remembered a couple online sources giving that ratio. I just checked one if my books "Bee keeping 101 by Nick Winters" and he describes the brood rearing thin nectar supplement as 1 part sugar and 1 part water. So you are most likely correct good sir. I will change out the syrup tomorrow. I think I will see how they do. If they only draw 5 frames or so before it gets too cold then I will switch to a 5 frame nuke but I am going to power feed them for now and see what they can do. Any other suggestions?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Midland, MI
    Posts
    568

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    swarms draw out wax at a seemingly impossible rate. Keep feeding them! they need it to draw the wax this late in the year. if it were me, I'd feed 1:1 until they had 5+ frames fdrawn. Then I'd start feeding them 2:1. if tehy keep drawing out, great, but you need them to pack away "honey" for the winter. you may want to start researching winter feeding as well. One of my hives is a late split and I'm not too far ahead of you with it. I'll be pumping a lot of sugar into that hive.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Rupert, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    As has been suggested, feed as much as they will use. Also probably wouldn't hurt to get a few pollen substitute patties. Just lay one on top of the frames, and replace when it's gone. While you're waiting to see how they do, build a sugar board and put it on once it turns cold. 10 pounds of sugar doesn't cost much, and will often save a weak or marginal hive.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaston, SC
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    feed, Feed, FEED,, and then FEED some more.. I would definitely consider using a frame feeder or other type of inside the hive feeder (not a boardman)

    good luck,,/ I had a sofball size swarm last Sept,, that wintered over,, by constant feeding.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    Thank you all for the suggestions. I will keep at it and will probably add another feeder in conjunction with what I have to maximize the feeding. I now feel better about this endeavor.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    Quote Originally Posted by dirt road View Post
    As has been suggested, feed as much as they will use. Also probably wouldn't hurt to get a few pollen substitute patties. Just lay one on top of the frames, and replace when it's gone. While you're waiting to see how they do, build a sugar board and put it on once it turns cold. 10 pounds of sugar doesn't cost much, and will often save a weak or marginal hive.
    I googled beehive candy board and came across this:

    http://www.tillysnest.com/2012/12/a-...board.html?m=1

    It looks really cool! If time comes and it looks like there is not enough honey I will definably try this. Does anyone think I should put one of these in now? Would that help or should I stick to the syrup?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    See if you can beg/buy a couple frames of drawn comb from somebody,the more brood you got going into this time of year the better.You don't have to put sugar on em till it's to cold to feed and it'll just get moldy. Keep feeding, the worst case is they don't make it and you'll have some drawn comb for next year.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,732

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    I respectifull disagree with much of what has been said above.

    I do agree to get them in a five frame nuc. and if, you can get some drawn comb, by all means, use it.

    Best course of action is, if you have access to any bee club members, see if you can purchase two deep frames of capped honey. That will get them through. If not.....

    Only feed them until they start drawing out your combs. Then STOP FEEDING. If you continually, heavily, feed them, they will become Welfare Bees, make no attempt at foraging, no attempt at gathering pollen and nectar, and assume that a major honey flow is in progress. The queen will gear up for massive egg laying at a time when she should be cutting back for Winter. Small late swarms are amazing, at how often they survive, even very late swarms, if you can get them a couple of frames of capped honey. Heavy feeding of sugar syrup will have them storing sugar syrup and neglecting to store pollen which is also necessary for overwintering.

    Late swarms are able to make it when you think there is no way. Swarms are uniquely configured with the right mix of bees, to forage and store honey and pollen for Winter. Six weeks from now, if they do not have adequate stores, then you can feed on warm days, use the candy board method, perhaps sugar on the inner cover. Right now, make them work, and let them prepare for Winter, not make them think that a Spring honey flow is just around the corner.

    If they don't make it, you will have drawn combs for your next swarm, and chances are, they would not have made it any way.

    cchoganjr

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    After reading here and also reading other places/talking to the more experienced I think I agree that I need to power feed thin syrup to try and get brood production up and then stop feeding in 6-8 weeks. If they can get some caped honey in the next two months then great but if not then sugar board or if I am lucky can get someone to loan a frame or two of capped honey. Here in another week or two I will check their progress and post the results back here. I did not really check well the other day but just cracked the top lid and looked in and there were two frames about 1/4 frame each full of drawn comb each. That is a bit of an estimate but at my little peek that is what I saw.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    >I took my 10 frame Langstroth hive and loaded it with 9 of my foundation less frames.<

    I would put the 10th frame in there or you'll get some really strange and hard-to-work-with comb.

    And I'd be feeding 1:1 and maybe get a top feeder that will hold a gallon or more.
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Modem View Post
    I would put the 10th frame in there or you'll get some really strange and hard-to-work-with comb.

    And I'd be feeding 1:1 and maybe get a top feeder that will hold a gallon or more.
    Well I could not help myself and I looked at the comb again today. And it looks fine so far to my untrained eye. Each comb is the width of the top bar and the bees are totally cover each comb completely. I have a smoker on order and will get that Friday. I figured I would not do a real inspection and closely inspect the comb until I get that at least. And probably need to wait another week or two I would assume. I think when I get the smoker ill add the other frame and move things around in there.

    I do not have a top feeder or anything else special right now but I have these really colorful plastic bowels I had when I spoon feed my little girls. I am not using them now so I hope the wife does not mind me putting a few of them out there. It seems the bees are prone to specific colors. They like the orange over the blue/green bowel. I am adding two yellow ones out there today. I am also switching to 1:1 syrup. Thanks for the input and any criticism. Keep it coming.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,340

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    Its hard not to take a sneak peak!

    I would pull a few frames and put the feeder inside the hive. Or add any empty box and put the feeder ontop of the frames. Open feeders attract wasps, ants, hornets and other feral bees. A mason jar with holes in the lid will work well and won't piss off the mrs.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    Ok cool. When do you all think I should open up the entrance reducer. I made one with a small medium and then can be removed for full access.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    bowls
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    LOL darn my auto correcting text. I did say bowels not bowls. Placing bowels all around my hive is probably not what I want to do lol.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Tulsa Oklahoma
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Captured a swarm! Will it survive?

    Haha! I received my smoker today so I gave it a shot and did some nice inspecting along with taking pics. Here is the progress on one of the frames. There is one more almost just like this but the comb is half as thick.

    image.jpg

    Here is the whole comb:

    image.jpg

    I think this is pollen?

    image.jpg

    Look honey!!!

    image.jpg

    Here is some brood. Pics not that great but they are there.

    image.jpg

    image.jpg

    And I believe I found the queen!!!! She should be the center darker one if I identified correctly. Now just for them to complete these frames and 2 or 3 more at least and I think I will feel safe.

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