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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    99

    Default Treating small swarms

    I'm a first year beekeeper. I have been taking classes and reading since October and have two NUCs arriving next Tuesday. Well, I got very lucky and was able to collect three swarms over the past month. I am and will be using all 8-frame mediums in my apiary. Two of the swarms had filled out about 6 1/2 frames each by last weekend so I added a second brood box. The third was just collected yesterday and is a medium NUC box (what I retrieved them in - slightly deeper than a medium, but only 5 frames wide). I'll likely move them to an 8 frame medium this weekend.

    I'll start by saying, I have asked some locals, and a mentor, but I like to get as many suggestions as I can. I wanted to see how soon I could treat these hives with MAQS? Since I'm using mediums, and while there is a good bit of brood (that should be starting to hatch any day now) each of the two bigger hives have about 4-5 frames of bees. I'm a little afraid that a full dose (2 strips) of the MAQS may be too hard on them. Would I be okay to just apply one strip to each box at this time, should I wait, or should I apply a full dose?

    I know the two nucs I'll be receiving are coming from a well established seller and he treats his bees with an oxalic acid vaporizer regularly. I don't have one of these yet, and folks in my area seem to have really good results with the MAQS, so I will likely do both, depending on time of the year. We're having some warm weather finally, so if I keep an eye on temps, would now be okay to treat? I just don't want to get behind on the treatments and the mites. They're my biggest worry...


    I'll toss this out there, as somebody might be thinking it... a newbie with 5 hives... that's too much. I do have some mentors and a few other keeper friends so I feel that I can handle 5 for now. If they all take off and grow, fantastic. If not, I'll get to try a combine or two. Maybe I'll be able to raise a queen and help a friend out. Maybe they'll all be gone tomorrow... I'm happy with 5, and I think I can handle it. I've learned so much already, and truly love and enjoy this hobby. thank you all for all the knowledge I've already learned from you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Sussex County, New Jersey
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Treating small swarms

    Since they're swarms there was a pretty good break in the brood cycle. I'd imagine the mite load won't be so high that you have to treat right now but you can do a alcohol wash to confirm. We're sort of in the same area and I try to treat in a cooler week in August and that usually holds them over until their next treatment in the spring.
    Owner of Honey Hound Farm. www.honeyhoundfarm.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Champaign, Illinois
    Posts
    2,189

    Default Re: Treating small swarms

    Five hives. Awesome.
    You'll learn five times faster but will have five times as much fun too.
    When you hit a potential problem it's usually a solution to another problem in another hive in the yard so don't make any hasty decisions until you have gone thru every colony for the day then go back. I mean the first time you see an active queen cell.
    You might just find a need for it right after you cut it out. Been there done that.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Treating small swarms

    Thanks Bane, I hadn't thought about the break in the brood cycle, but that does make sense. I guess my main thought was that I didn't want these bees to introduce a whole bunch of mites to the nucs that I'll be getting, which I know have been treated. I don't plan on combining them, but they'll be in the same location, so the more I can do to keep the mites at bay, the better, or at least so I think.

    Aunt Betty, thank you, and I'm hoping you are correct. My plan last fall was to just start with two nucs this spring. Word spread through my family and friends and all of a sudden I was getting calls to come and get swarms off houses and properties. Initially, I thought, I don't want to get in over my head.... but then I though, those are free bees without a home. That could save me $125 or more per swarm. Plus, I figured worst case scenario, they swarm again and leave my apiary or they die. Either way, I'm not really out anything (unless they all died then I may be out some equipment that could be contaminated...) I knew I wasn't going to do anything to them other than feed them for a few weeks, so I took the chance. So far, I'm glad I did. I feel like I learn a little something each time I check on them, and I know I still have a lot to learn. So my first thought of "strictly only having two nucs" has now evolved into 2 nucs, 3 swarms, and I'm building a few more Nuc boxes just to have on hand to maybe experiment with. I'd like to get to a point where maybe I have a nuc with a queen, but small colony so I can have a spare queen or two if I ever need one. That's of course in the future... so we'll see. One thing is certain, the more I'm around the bees, the more they fascinate me.

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