Potential Swarm? First timer/Only hive!
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Southeastern US
    Posts
    3

    Exclamation Potential Swarm? First timer/Only hive!

    I bought a package of bees, got them in the hive on May 12th of this year and I've been feeding a quart of 1:1 sugar water every 2 to 3 weeks. I haven't been a stickler on when I feed them and I'm not sure if they've gone too long without a nectar flow or sugar water but I have found a queen cell. I have been taking pictures of the underside of the boxes once a month just for the heck of it because I was excited to document the growth.. now, looking back at some pictures I took, I noticed a queen cell that I didn't see when I was changing out the sugar water last week. What are my options here? I'm kind of worried that this is happening at the 3 month mark..?

    I've got a warre hive with 3 boxes (1 surrounding the sugar water jar, 1 that the bees are in, and 1 bottom box for them to expand into). I've noticed it looks like the bees are starting to draw comb in the bottom box but the queen cell is in the middle box with all of the bees and the full frames. I'm going to look tomorrow to find the queen and to see if there is any other queen cells. I'm not sure if they just took off really well and are just getting too crowded or if the sugar water feeding has thrown something? Should I look for anything in particular tomorrow?

    Thanks!

    (Queen cell is visible at the top of the very last picture)


    Bees installed May 12th

    June 23rd:
    hive1.jpg

    July 22nd:
    hive2.jpg

    August 12th:
    hive3.jpg
    hive4.jpg
    hive5.jpg

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    West Bath, Maine, United States
    Posts
    2,389

    Default Re: Potential Swarm? First timer/Only hive!

    Welcome,

    I'll start the conversation. Photo is hard to see, which is not surprising. I see a capped cell on the top side of center frame and what looks to be uncapped cells on the far right. If true, then swarm is underway. When was the last photo taken?
    Not a Warre person so somebody take it from here.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Southeastern US
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Potential Swarm? First timer/Only hive!

    Last 3 photos were taken 7 days ago, I'm not sure how long the queen cell has been there so I'm sure I'm too late, but I saw some swarm traps from thewarrestore.com and was thinking about trying to catch my own swarm. Does this have high chances or is it a long shot?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,127

    Default Re: Potential Swarm? First timer/Only hive!

    If that picture was taken 7 days ago then that queen has emerged. If they swarmed they are long gone. Sometimes packages supersede. Either way, there really isn't much you can do at this point except wait and watch.

    If you are planning on keeping bees then getting a swarm trap is a good idea. But you can build a swarm trap out of plywood for next to nothing. The home center will make the cuts for you if you don't have the tools, then just glue and nail or screw together. Since a swarm trap isn't out over winter it doesn't need to be made of expensive cedar.
    Last edited by JConnolly; 08-19-2018 at 04:58 PM.
    Zone 6B

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Southeastern US
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Potential Swarm? First timer/Only hive!

    I actually just went and bought a 12" diameter quickcrete form and some 5-gallon bucket lids that fit perfectly on the sides and I'm going to make 2 traps out of 1 tube tonight. I'll sit them out tomorrow with some lemongrass oil and one or two top bars with old comb (if I can get some from the hive). I went out to check on the bees an hour ago and they were going crazy, there were a TON of bees on both sides of the hive when they usually just use one main entrance. I've never witnessed them so active since I've gotten them in the hive.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,127

    Default Re: Potential Swarm? First timer/Only hive!

    Sounds like robbers. A hive is weak right after swarming. The way to tell the difference is robbers will be trying to get in the hive around the lid and at the joints between the boxes. If they are flying all over the outside looking for entrances then that is robbing. There will be a lot of bees wrestling on the front porch. Either get a screen on the entrance or stuff it loosely with grass and leaves.

    If they are flying around in the air and lots of bees are gathered on the hive but not looking for entrance to the hive then they may be swarming. If it swarmed it most likely did several days ago, but sometimes hives cast secondary swarms with a virgin queen. Keep an eye out, a swarm take to a tree somewhere within a couple of hundred feet very soon. You may be able to catch it. Grab your swarm trap stuff and go sit in the yard and watch while you cobble it together and put it out now just in case.
    Zone 6B

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