Colony movement advice needed for newly caught swarm
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Orem, Utah USA
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    9

    Default Colony movement advice needed for newly caught swarm

    So, I accidentally caught a swarm of bees in a swarm box in my carport last Thursday that I had just stored there temporarily. So my (good) problem is that I need to transfer this colony to its permanent home which is an empty top bar hive in the backyard which is about 15 yards away.

    Does anybody have any good advice for how to best accomplish this or had a similar situation?

    Does the 3 foot / 3 mile rule still apply for a newly capture swarm? Would the best solution be to move the swarm box 3 feet per day towards the top bar hive and then transfer the top bars from the swarm box to the permanent hive once the two entrances are right next to each other? Or is there an easier / less time consuming way to accomplish this in a reasonably safe and successful fashion? Will the brand new home cause the bees to reorient right away, perhaps, and I can do this move more quickly? Don't hive splits encounter the same problem?

    Should I wait one full week or more before I start any movement? Is there danger of having the new comb in the swarm box break off during the move?

    Thanks.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Yakima Co, WA, USA
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    Default Re: Colony movement advice needed for newly caught swarm

    Honestly, I'd just go put them in the TBH asap. Do you have any old comb to keep them around?
    Meghan

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Orem, Utah USA
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    Default Re: Colony movement advice needed for newly caught swarm

    No, I am a brand new keeper and and do not have any comb. I did take a peek into the box yesterday and they are building new comb on several bars in good order.

    So you think I can simply make the transfer without issue?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    West Jordan, UT, USA
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    1,118

    Default Re: Colony movement advice needed for newly caught swarm

    Install the swarm into the TBH at its permanent location before sunrise or just after sunset. Place a branch or a board in front of the entrance to force the bees to reorient. You will still get some drifting back to the swarm location, but many will eventually find their way to the TBH if it's not too far.

    Alternatively, move the TBH over to the swarm location and install the swarm Move the TBH a few feet per day to the permanent location.
    Never ask a barber it he thinks you need a haircut.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Yakima Co, WA, USA
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    Default Re: Colony movement advice needed for newly caught swarm

    Quote Originally Posted by limbo696 View Post
    So you think I can simply make the transfer without issue?
    Yep. If they've got comb in there you can cut it off and use a masking tape sling to put it on one of your top bars. Good luck!
    Meghan

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Orem, Utah USA
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    Default Re: Colony movement advice needed for newly caught swarm

    I designed my capture box so that it has the same top bars as my permanent TBH. I'm tempted to go ahead and transfer today or tomorrow and just keep my TBH in the carport and maybe move it slowly over time...I don't want to risk losing my first colony.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Yakima Co, WA, USA
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    Default Re: Colony movement advice needed for newly caught swarm

    Smart re: bars!
    Meghan

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    3,290

    Default

    If they're building good combs on frames or top bars it wouldn't hurt to let them stay a bit longer, until the queen has started laying. She may be a virgin and will need to mate.

    The main reason to move them right away is because they're building wonky comb that won't be usable after transferred.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Orem, Utah USA
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    Default Re: Colony movement advice needed for newly caught swarm

    So I decided to play the safe route in my mind and simply moved the top bar hive into the carport and made the transfer three days ago. I maybe wish I should have done the transfer sooner because they had already drawn out several bars of large comb that did not fit well into my Kenyan shaped top bar hive--I had to slide it in sideways which bent over the comb on the ends of several bars. However, I was easily able to remedy the situation today when I went in and cleaned up the extra comb which had stuck to the side. I also inspected the hive closely for the very first time.

    Unfortunately, I did not see any brood comb. I saw only pollen and honey and lots of that with about 4 or 5 full bars of it and the bees starting to work out several more bars. I talked to the state club beekeeping president assuming that I have a queenless hive and need to acquire a new queen, but he said that it is possible that the queen is simply delaying laying and to wait one more week. Does this sound like a reasonable strategy or should I attempt to get a queen right away? It has been 13 days since I caught this colony and they have building new comb for this period.

    Also, my son, who was helping me said he spotted a very big bee briefly..twice the size of the others...that may have been the queen but I did not see and we could not find it again. Is it possible the queen is a virgin and cannot find a way to get mated? I did not see any drone.

    20180530_181119.jpg

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Yuba County, California, USA
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    6,546

    Default Re: Colony movement advice needed for newly caught swarm

    Some swarms do have virgins in them. I've had virgin queen swarms take 2+ weeks to get the virgin mated and laying. If your's had a virgin, I'd expect you should see eggs any time now. The advice you got from your state beeclub president is sound. The problem here is, does the swarm have a virgin or was it queenless? I've had queenless swarms, but very few in comparison to swarms that had a virgin or mated queen.

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