New beek here with no bees except a new October swarm. I live in San Antonio, Texas. I've been researching and lurking lots of sources for about a year. I make all my equipment and all of it is medium foundationless frames in medium 8-frame boxes. I was about to take down my traps when a swarm moved into a bait hive in San Antonio on Oct 12.
The bait hive had one medium frame of drawn comb tied in the frame in the center and 4 medium empties. They densely covered the drawn comb and drew new comb over 1/3 to 1/2 of the other 4 frames, also densely covered in bees, so pretty small swarm - I'm guessing 1 1/2 maybe 2 lbs???
Day 7 I put them in a 8 frame medium and added 2 frames with tied in drawn comb on the outsides and one empty frame, put a top feeder on them and a queen excluder over the entrance. Truthfully I was so anxious I didn't find the queen or any eggs.
Day 11 I looked at them much closer (there were still 10 things I didn't think to look for) , didn't find the queen but one of the frames that is 1/2 full of new wax is capped brood and larva. All the other frames are being worked except the new empty. They are filling the new drawn comb I gave them with clear liquid, honey? Some pollen. I took the excluder off the entrance and closed it to the smallest opening.
They have been bringing in a lot of pollen all along and in the 5 days with the feeder took about 1/3 quart of 1:1 syrup. They drew out a little more comb.
The only resources I have is a bunch of decent looking drawn comb I can tie into frames.
Should I make them a 5-frame medium or two to give them better density, or wait and see if they fill out the 8-frame box?
The 8 frame med they are in is the same size as a 5 frame deep. They should have some new hatched bees around the first of November. We often have pretty nice weather through November with some chilly spells. Some years I have gone swimming Christmas. Still 85° now but 70s & 60s around the corner.
I'm most confused about testing for mites & treating them. I think I'm going to make an oxalic acid vaporizer that looks like a smoking pipe made of copper and you heat the bowl with a torch and the stem fits in a small hole in the box.
I am ultimately going to move them from my small lot in San Antonio to my farmhouse in Ottine, Texas where I have a yard waiting for bees. I'm retired and spend alternate 3-4 days in a row back and fourth between the 2 places. Its about 60 miles away so easy trip anyway. So both places get about the same attention.
For now it seems like since they are bringing in a lot of pollen I ought not to make them find new sources. Or will it matter? There are bees on my place, but I never caught a swarm out there.
Thanks for any input