new swarm in wood barrel
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Seneca County, Ohio
    Posts
    2

    Default new swarm in wood barrel

    We had some friends move some old wooden vinegar barrels outside and within a couple of weeks, a swarm of bees moved in so 1st half of July. They wanted them gone, so I said we'd take them (even though we have not ever had bees yet) as our neighbor is a experienced beekeeper and knew he'd help if we needed it and we are generally apt to most things. We had a barrel that we swapped out, so we are not obligated to keep the barrel in tact. We covered the hole with screen well after dark to make sure all the bees were in and transported the whole barrel home. We've had it for 3-4 days now with good activity during the day (15 acres of alfalfa in full bloom super close). My original thought was to move them to a conventional hive box relatively soon to minimize the amount of brood comb and honey comb that needed moved and better winter preparation (NW Ohio). However my husband and experienced beekeeper neighbor (although not sure thought to leave them alone until next spring to minimize hassle and expense (although we always planned to get bees in another year or 2) in case they don't survive the winter. I, one the other hand, am not afraid of one more stick in the fire (we farm with chickens, cattle, maple syrup, hay, grain, I have a soap business plus work 30 hrs, 2 young kids, etc) lol so if its in the bees best interest to be in a conventional box then I'll move them. Opinions on leaving them in the barrel and / or preparations for best chance on NW Ohio winter survival for this July swarm

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Seneca County, Ohio
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: new swarm in wood barrel

    beehive.jpg

    This is about 10am so it gets in shade about 12pm. Yellow (mineral tub) hat to keep rain off so it doesn't sit on top and soak through. We were able to peer in the hole at night with a flashlight and see new comb on the top (very white)

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Shelby, Missouri USA
    Posts
    526

    Default Re: new swarm in wood barrel

    I would leave them alone until next spring. You will have more comb to deal with at that point but the comb will be easier to work with. New drawn comb is very soft and if it is warm out it will be difficult at best to get into frames. The added time also gives you the chance to become more educated on keeping bees and doing a cut out.

    The benefit of cutting them out now would be that they would be easier to feed sugar and you could monitor their winter preparation better. It will be hard to tell if they have enough stores for winter so I would feed them prior to fall. A hole could be drilled in the top and an inverted bucket or quart jar used to feed.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    arnold, missouri
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: new swarm in wood barrel

    I got a call last September to get a swarm that had moved into an 8 gallon wooden barrel & they wanted to save the barrel. they were close to my house so I took the barrel home after dark. the next morning I marked all the wooden staves so I could reassemble the barrel. I then knocked off the metal bands, removed the bees & put them in a five frame nuc with 4 frames & a division board feeder & fed them heavy on 2-1 syrup. after they filled out the frames I added a 2nd 5 frame box & continued feeding them. they made it thru the winter & ended up being one of my strongest hives.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Winona MN USA
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: new swarm in wood barrel

    Either way each situation has it's own set of challenges for you. If it was me I would deal with it now. There will be a higher degree of difficulty removing a full hive next year. I would however at the very least cut down the barrel to at least half if not more.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Fremont, California
    Posts
    131

    Default Re: new swarm in wood barrel

    If you live in a rural setting, I would just let them ride in the barrel. In the spring, set out a few swarm traps in case they swarm. If you just want pollinators, they will do the job just fine. If you want honey, well then, you got to move them out of that barrel.
    I like the yellow fez of a hat you put on them. A piece or plywood would also work as a roof.

    If you leave them in the barrel, make sure you put some drain holes near the bottom. Otherwise the barrel may fill with water, and a bunch of dead stinky bees.

    Cheers, Phil

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    7,861

    Default Re: new swarm in wood barrel

    Why not just ask your experienced beekeeper neighbor on what course of action to take for
    these bees? An old barrel with leaking roof needs a new home for them. Winter rains will be a big issue otherwise.
    I would give them a new home if these were my bees. Easier to inspect and make splits for swarm control in case you want to keep these bees. I'm sure your neighbor will be happy to help you along attaching these comb on the frames. One thing about watching your bees at night with a
    flashlight. They are attracted to the light source so make sure you or whoever is suited up properly. Don't want them to
    nail anyone in the eye ball. Reminded me of an eye pic here some years ago. I'm a night time beekeeper for a few seasons so very familiar with how the bees behaved at night time. Get them settle down preparing for this winter as we still have some time.
    Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?

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